Covid-19 Protocol

May 27, 2020

Vermont has given the go-ahead to day camps. VWS programs are able to meet, and in many cases exceed, the state and federal guidelines designed to prevent transmission of Covid-19 at camps.

What follows is an overview of Vermont Wilderness School’s COVID-19 protocol, designed to ensure the health and safety of everyone at our programs. Increasingly detailed descriptions of the protocol are in development and are available on request.

This protocol is subject to change as further guidance is provided by state & local authorities. We welcome your questions, comments, and feedback!

Maximum Group Size

  • State Guidelines: maximum of 25 (children & adults combined)
  • VWS: maximum of 8

We are starting with a very conservative group size of 7. This includes 5 children, 1 experienced staff member, and 1 teen CIT. If appropriate, we may add a 6th  child later in the summer.

There will be no more than 3 of these groups at any camp week, and groups will stay separate from each other.

Physical Distancing

  • State Guidelines: Encouraged, “although it is recognized that this is frequently not possible in settings with young children.” 
  • VWS: Encouraged. Children will be instructed to maintain physical distancing at all times. If a child is repeatedly not able to maintain this distance, they will not be allowed to continue at camp.  Staff will provide guidance to the children, and all activities will be designed to promote their success with maintaining distance.

Facial Coverings

  • State Guidelines: Recommended for staff, children, and adults dropping off children
  • VWS
    1. Highly recommended for staff (with certain exceptions such as eating and when at a safe distance from others). 
    2. Required for staff under certain conditions (such as administering first aid, and when they must enter someone else’s physical distance.)
    3. Recommended for children. Wearing a face covering for long periods of time is not comfortable, but it is an important practice that all of us need to keep learning. 
    4. Highly Recommended for adults dropping off children. 

Each child is required to bring a facial covering (a cloth mask or medical mask— a bandana will also suffice) to camp each day.

Hand Hygiene

  • State Guidelines: Hand washing or hand sanitizing is recommended for children and staff multiple times per day.
  • VWS: Hand sanitizing will be required multiple times per day, especially before and after using the bathroom or eating. For most camp weeks there will not be hot running water on site, so we will rely heavily on sanitizing.

Each child is required to bring a small (ideally pocket-size) bottle of hand sanitizer to camp each day. VWS will have a limited number of hand sanitizers that we can sell (at cost) to you if you are not able to get it or your child forgets it.

Bathrooms

  • State Guidelines: Recommend that bathroom surfaces be cleaned and disinfected at the beginning, middle, and end of each day. 
  • VWS: Our camps use outhouses, port-a-potties, or the outdoors (and we teach proper ways to go to the bathroom outdoors). We will require that these facilities be cleaned and disinfected at least at the beginning, middle, and end of each day. 

Health Screening

  • State Guidelines: Staff are required to conduct a Daily Health Check for each child and staff members upon arrival each day. 
  • VWS: We will use the Daily Health Check protocol described in the state regulations. VWS’s designated health officer will:
    1. Ask you: 
      • Has your child been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19?
      • Does your child feel unwell, with any symptoms consistent with COVID-19? For example, have they had a cough, high temperature, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell? 
    2. Conduct a forehead temperature screening of your child, using a non-contact thermometer. Anyone with a temperature greater than 100.4 F must be sent home.
    3. Make a visual inspection of your child for signs of infection. This could include flushed cheeks, fatigue, extreme fussiness, etc.

If You Live in Outside of Vermont

  • State Guidelines: Children who live outside VT and within commuting distance of Brattleboro CAN attend camp. Children who live outside VT but NOT within commuting distance of Brattleboro CANNOT attend camp unless they quarantine for 14 days before entering camp. (One alternative to the 14 day quarantine is a 7 day quarantine plus a negative Covid-19 test.  You can get tested on day 7 of quarantine, receive your test result in 24-48 hrs, reducing your quarantine length to 8 or 9 days.)
  • VWS: We are awaiting guidance from the state on whether VWS will play any role in certifying that children meet the above guidelines.