Bold Earth’s Approach to Coronavirus
Because Bold Earth is well-suited to operate successfully with our small group sizes and outdoor-based programs, we feel prepared for any challenges we may face due to COVID in 2021. Our top priority is the safety and health of our students and staff; therefore, we are taking all reasonable measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 this year.
Below, you will find our 2021 COVID protocols and requirements for our students this summer, created in conjunction with Dr. Andrew Morris of Hendersonville, NC. There, he serves as the assistant program director of the MAHEC Hendersonville Family Medicine Residency Program; assistant clinical instructor of Family Medicine at UNC School of Medicine; medical director of Blue Ridge Community Health Services; and medical director for four regional summer camps. (Read Dr. Morris’ full bio here.) Dr. Morris will serve as our medical advisor and consultant on COVID protocols and policies for summer 2021.
Please know that we will continue to adjust our plans 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 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 at 303-526-0806.
Pre-trip policies and procedures
Bold Earth will ask all families to engage in a risk mitigation period prior to their trip. In the 10 days leading to the start of their trip, students will monitor their temperatures and check for possible COVID symptoms daily. Students must also adhere to CDC guidelines and practice “common sense behaviors” regarding social distancing, mask-wearing, and personal hygiene to reduce the risk of exposure.
Non-vaccinated students with a primary exposure* to a COVID-positive person within 10 days of the trip should not travel to the trip site. Vaccinated students with a primary exposure may still attend with proof of vaccination AND a negative COVID PCR/molecular test taken within four days of the start of the trip (and at least five days after the known exposure.)
*Primary exposure means spending more than 15 minutes within six feet of a COVID-positive person, sharing living quarters (home, dorm room, etc.), or spending less than 15 minutes if the exposure is high-risk (hugging, touching, kissing, riding in the same vehicle, etc.).
Student and trip leader vaccines and pre-trip COVID tests
Bold Earth cannot mandate our trip leaders to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to federal law prohibiting requiring a vaccine under the emergency use authorization. However, all of our staff have either been vaccinated, are partially vaccinated, or are eagerly awaiting their first vaccine appointment. Our director team is also fully vaccinated.
Any trip leaders who have not been able to secure a vaccine before summer will arrive to staff training with a negative COVID PCR/molecular test. During orientation, we will include additional training on COVID protocols and recognizing symptoms of COVID-19 and actions to take if recognized.
All students will be required to provide proof of EITHER:
- Vaccination* OR
- A negative PCR/molecular test (i.e., not an antigen test) taken within four days of the start of the trip.
*Students must be fully vaccinated prior to the start of their trip in order to forgo the negative PCR/molecular test. According to the CDC, “people are considered fully vaccinated: 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.”
Parents will upload either their child’s official vaccination card (or other official document from a healthcare provider with a vaccine record) or negative PCR/molecular test into CampInTouch. We know many younger students were in vaccine trials this year and may not have an official vaccination card yet; if that is the case, your child will be required to bring a negative PCR/molecular test.
If a student has tested positive for COVID within 90 days of the trip start date, they will not be required to provide proof of a negative PCR test. Instead, they’ll be required to submit official documentation from a health care provider confirming the date of positive diagnosis and that they’re cleared to attend Bold Earth.
Students with asthma and environmental allergies
Students with allergies, asthma, or post-nasal drip should be optimally controlled on preventative medication prior to arriving to Bold Earth, as the presence of these symptoms may prompt quarantine and testing. Since students will be living in new locations and environments on their trips, they should bring as-needed medications for any allergy symptoms (this includes over-the-counter allergy medications like Zyrtec or Claritin).
During Bold Earth trips (mask policy)
Upon arriving to each trip’s meeting location, trip leaders will conduct a health screening check for each student. Once an entire trip group is screened on arrival day, they will not need to physically distance within their group or wear a face covering*.
*Students will wear masks when in vans and when interacting with members outside their Bold Earth group (i.e., outfitters and guides and members of the general public. These interactions will be limited).
Between days five and seven on most trips*, all non-vaccinated students will be tested for COVID to rule out possible exposure while traveling to Bold Earth.
*Students on trips shorter than 13 days will not be tested at Bold Earth.
Everyone at Bold Earth will continue practicing rigorous personal and group hygiene.
What happens if someone shows symptoms?
If someone starts exhibiting symptoms, they will be isolated and tested*. If the student tests positive, they will go home**. If the student tests negative, they will remain in isolation until symptoms improve and they have been symptom – or fever-free for 24 hours. Families will be notified as soon as possible, and if applicable, healthcare providers will be consulted.
*Costs associated with quarantine and additional testing (in addition to the test Bold Earth will administer in the first week) will be the responsibility of the family. Bold Earth will pass on the direct costs incurred to families.
**If a student tests positive, families will be notified as soon as possible, and Bold Earth will coordinate with the family to take custody of their child as soon as possible. All other students will be re-tested, and healthcare providers will be consulted to determine if the trip can continue.
As always, thank you for your trust and confidence in Bold Earth.