Bold Earth’s Approach to Coronavirus
Updated February 25, 2021: We know how badly teens need a break from quarantine and technology this summer. While hoping for the best, we are planning for the worst, so we have been carefully adjusting our programs to adapt to the new challenges that COVID presents.
We know that things will look different this summer. Because Bold Earth is well-suited to operate successfully with our small group sizes and outdoor-based programs, we feel prepared for those challenges. Our goal is to build small groups of carefully screened and tested students who will be able to enjoy outdoor fun and a close community in an (almost) normal environment. To ensure the necessary attention to safety and quality, we have significantly reduced our program capacity to only 200 students for summer 2021 and will be initially operating only within the United States. (We are taking students to waitlist applications for a few select international destinations should we be able to operate outside the United States.)
Below, you will find answers to commonly asked questions regarding our approach to COVID-19. While we are happy to share information regarding our plans as we see them now, please know that we will continue to adjust them in light of changing information and conditions. We will continue to consult with experts including the ACA, CDC, and other medical experts.
We understand and appreciate the trust you have put in us, and there is no greater priority than the health and safety of our students. We promise to continue to operate with the integrity, transparency, and kindness that our families have come to expect from us. If you have questions regarding our approach to COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Yes. We are currently planning to require proof of a negative COVID PCR (molecular) test prior to the start of the trip for all participants (even if they’ve been vaccinated). This test will likely need to take place 48–72 hours prior to departure. Depending on the availability of testing and medical guidance at the time, we will administer tests to students within five days of the start of the trip to test for exposure during travel. We will also provide enrolled families with guidelines for student behavior prior to the start of the trip to help minimize possible exposures.
All Bold Earth leaders will be tested prior to the start of the trip. While the availability of the vaccine for our leaders is still unclear (and will vary state by state), we are optimistic. The CDC has recently expanded “phase 1b” for vaccine recommendations; now, people who work in youth-serving summer programs will be included in this phase. This gives us hope that many of our leaders could be vaccinated before summer.
In short, no. Bold Earth groups are small, and students will be tested prior to arrival. Our trips will operate as a “bubble” and will spend most of their time outdoors and away from the general public. Masks will need to be worn when indoors and in contact with others who are outside of the group’s bubble. Additionally, masks may be required during certain activities, like traveling in vans.
We will be employing numerous non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) as part of our protocols this summer. These will include, but are not limited to, decreased occupancy in tents, daily health and temperature screenings, and enhanced hygiene and cleaning measures.
While we will take all reasonable precautions, there is risk in everything we do. With our protocols and the cooperation of our students and families, we believe the risk to be low. If a student tests positive, we will immediately seek medical guidance and quarantine the affected student (and/or staff member). Bold Earth will assist in the quarantine process and monitor and support that student until they can be picked up by their parents, if that is deemed necessary by a medical professional.
While we make every effort to safely continue the trip, there are circumstances that would force us to cancel a trip. In that case, we will pro-rate any refunds associated with cancellation due to COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure. Families are responsible for additional transportation, supervision, or medical expenses associated with a cancellation due to COVID-19. We strongly encourage all families to purchase a travel insurance policy that provides coverage of these expenses.
While we are confident in our ability to run our domestic adventure programs, we will always act in the best interests of our students and leaders. In the event Bold Earth cancels a program prior to the start date, we will offer families the choice of moving their payment forward to a future summer or a full refund. If a program is cancelled after the start of a trip, we will offer pro-rated refunds.
Thank you for your trust and confidence in Bold Earth.