VWS programs are able to meet, and in many cases exceed, the VT Health Dept. and state guidelines designed to prevent transmission of Covid-19.
What follows is an overview of Vermont Wilderness School’s COVID-19 protocols, designed to ensure the health and safety of everyone at our programs. More detailed descriptions of the protocol are available on request.
We are all in this together, and we must look out for each other. When making your plans for the time before, during, and after a VWS program we ask that you hold an awareness of what is needed to help protect our community from COVID-19. For example: consider adding a few days between returning to VT from travel outside New England and attending a VWS program, carefully monitoring your own body for signs of illness, or being aware of your attendance at extended/large gatherings with unmasked/un-distanced/unvaccinated individuals.
For the 2021-22 School Year (Sep – May) we are using a 4-color system.
Each color corresponds to a different level of protocols as you’ll see below. If pandemic conditions worsen, we’ll alert you that we are shifting to a higher level, and if they improve, we’ll alert you that we’re shifting to a lower level.
Level 1 – GREEN – Lowest level of awareness. VWS was operating at the GREEN level pre-pandemic.
Level 2 – YELLOW – VWS operated at the YELLOW level throughout the 2021 summer camp season.
Level 3 – ORANGE – VWS will begin the 2021-22 school year at this level.
Level 4 – RED – Highest level of awareness. VWS operated at the RED level throughout the 2020 summer camp season and the entire 2020-21 school year.
Note: These protocols represent the “baseline.” We recognize that different households have different vulnerabilities to COVID. If different students and staff are needing more precautions, we can generally support that. Please contact us if you or your child have questions or concerns..
THE CURRENT LEVEL (as of September 1) is: ORANGE
Additionally, the following protocols remain in effect at ALL 4 levels (Green, Orange, Yellow, Red)
- State Guidelines: regular hand washing is recommended to prevent many infectious diseases, including COVID. However, there are no COVID-related additional handwashing requirements.
- VWS: Most programs do not have hot running water on site but hand sanitizing will be encouraged before & after activities like: going to the bathroom, eating your own lunch, when sharing community / common items like a tool, or before activities involving light touch such as tag.
Each participant is required to bring a small (ideally pocket-size) bottle of hand sanitizer to the program.
- State Guidelines: Encouraged. Prevent sick individuals from attending.
- VWS: Required.
We ask that anyone registered for a VWS program stay home if they have a close recent COVID contact OR experience COVID-like symptoms including any of the following:
- a fever, especially if over 100.4
- new & persistent dry cough
- new loss of taste or smell
- new & severe sore throat
- State Guidelines: health screening encouraged, but not required.
- VWS: staff & participants must conduct a health screening at home before arrival at programs. Before the 1st day of your program, VWS will provide a 1-page health screening checklist to be conducted before arrival & drop-off.
- Any participants or staff who cannot pass the screening must remain at home and contact their program director to let them know they will not be attending.
- Upon arrival at the program location, a VWS staff member will ask you to confirm that everyone you’re transporting has passed the at-home health screening.
- The at-home health screening will include these three questions:
- In the past 10 days, has this participant been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19?
- Does this participant feel unwell with any symptoms consistent with COVID-19? For example, 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?
- Is this participant running a fever over 100.4?
When can we return to VWS programs if the participant has close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID? Or has had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 but suspect a different diagnosis? Or has COVID?
- State guidance: if you have consulted your health provider and they do not suspect COVID-19, then the participant may rejoin in-person activities when they have no COVID symptoms.
- VWS: In general we ask that participants err on the side of staying home and keeping us in the loop.
- Additionally, parents with youth program participants are encouraged to review this chart created by the VT Health Department and the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital to help them consider this decision.
- Parents & participants are encouraged to reach out to us as they consider whether to stay home, or if they have questions.