Our priority continues to be the health and well-being of our students and staff. We are basing programmatic decisions and protocols on CDC guidance along with the specifics of operating outdoor activities in wilderness and urban environments. These Program Protocols and course activities are subject to change. Please check this page for updates. Updated 5/24/2023


Calling Course a "GO"  

We will make every effort to confirm the course at 30-days before course start. Participant status and/or course status may change at any time due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 - Antigen Test 24-Hours Prior to Course Start  

You MUST take a COVID-19 Antigen Test 24-Hours Prior to Course Start  

  • Why? To reduce the likelihood of testing positive upon arrival to Outward Bound (refer to the "Course Start" section below).  
  • If you test positive, call us immediately and do not travel.  
  • Participants who test positive will not be accepted onto course. 

COVID-19 and Other Illness Symptoms 

Participants must be symptom-free of COVID-19 and other significant illness such as the flu 72-hours prior to course start. 

Recent COVID-19 Diagnoses

 Participants who have tested positive for COVID-19:

  • 90 days - 11 days prior to course start:
    • Must be fully recovered (symptoms resolved) and test negative on an at-home rapid antigen test (confirming you are no longer infectious) to attend course.
    • Please notify us of the date of the positive test – having diagnosis dates on record is vital to any on-course PCR testing we may conduct.
      • If you continue to test positive on antigen tests, we are unable to accept you onto course.
  • 10 days or less prior to course start: we are unable to accept you onto course.  

COVID-19 Statement of Understanding 

Participants (and parents of minor students) will review our COVID-19 Statement of Understanding. 

Be Prepared - Determine a Backup Travel Plan 

Should you need to depart Outward Bound due to a positive COVID-19 test result or other illness symptoms:

  • on course start day - you must adjust your travel plans that day
  • during course - you must depart within 48 hours

YOUTH (Course Age Ranges 14-18): coordinate travel with a parent, family member or other trusted adult.

ADULT (Course age ranges 18+, 18-25, 30+): coordinate travel with a parent, family member or other trusted adult OR coordinate a hotel room and shuttle to the hotel, provided the participant meets the hotel’s age requirement for check-in. 

Please reference the CDC recommendations for Protecting Yourself When Using Transportation and Considerations for Travelers.



 COVID-19 and Other Illness Symptoms  
Participants will be screened upon arrival for COVID-19 and other illness symptoms. If any signs or symptoms of illness exist, participants will not be allowed to start the course. 
COVID-19 Antigen Test   
  • Participants will take an antigen COVID-19 test on course start day.  
  • North Carolina Outward Bound School Staff will administer this test.
  • Participants who test positive will not be accepted onto course.




COVID-19 Antigen Test
  • North Carolina Outward Bound School Staff may administer additional COVID-19 testing during course when symptoms of communicable disease are present, or when exiting close contact or isolation protocol.  
Mask Wearing Protocol 

The North Carolina Outward Bound School remains vigilant regarding the emergence of future COVID-19 variants and may adjust masking protocol if conditions warrant. 

Masks will only be required when:

  • In Outward Bound vehicles prior to the course start day COVID-19 test 
  • A person has been determined to be a close contact to a COVID-19 positive case 
  • A person has symptoms of a communicable disease
Mask Wearing Protocol For Close Contacts

Close contacts to COVID-19 positive cases at course start and/or during course:

  • may remain on course provided they are symptom free.
  • will mask anytime indoors regardless of distancing, and mask outdoors when six feet distance cannot be maintained.  
  • will sleep in an individual shelter until 10 days have passed. 
  • should self-monitor for COVID symptoms and take a COVID test immediately if any develop.

Masks must be a medical mask (surgical style, KN95, or N95). Close contact protocol may be lifted after 10 days have passed and the close contact tests COVID negative. 

Additional Measures
  • Enhanced personal hygiene will be practiced on every course.
  • Participants will learn and practice increased cleaning and sanitization protocols.



  • All staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 
  • All NCOBS employees will be tested for COVID-19 and cleared to work. 


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