As we all return to campus for an historically important 2021-22 school year, we at ECOS Institute are excited to once again provide students with the truly remarkable experience of residential outdoor science school!
We are in close communication with school and district personnel regarding appropriate health and safety protocols regarding Covid, and eagerly await the chance to implement the recommendations, established by the CDC and American Camping Association, for a successful return to our own beautiful mountain campus.
The key to this strategy is the careful adherence to what are referred to as Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, or NPI’s. These are the NPIs we are committed to this year:
Schools will ensure that all teachers and students allowed to participate are, and have been, illness-free for 2 weeks prior to attendance. This includes a negative PCR Covid-19 test, conducted within 72 hours of arrival at ECOS.
Documentation of the negative test, along with a completed Pre-Trip Health Screening form, must be received by the school’s Trip Coordinator before departure to ECOS.
Schools will expect students/families to choose low-risk activities over this period, mask in indoor public spaces, frequently wash hands, etc.
ECOS Staff will be fully vaccinated, and screened by ECOS Health Care staff every week.
All students will be screened by the ECOS staff upon arrival to our campus, and at regular intervals during the trip.
On the morning of departure from the school, students will be immediately organized by teachers into exclusive cohorts. During the journey to ECOS, students will remain in these cohorts.
Upon arrival at ECOS, students will meet their assigned ECOS staff. Cohorts (students and adults in a designated cohort) remain exclusive for the duration of science camp. This includes all activities, meals, cabins, and multi-purpose rooms.
Meals will be enjoyed in separate rooms of the Dining Hall.
At night, smaller “cabin groups” will sleep in divided, well-ventilated rooms.
In well-ventilated cabins at night, distance between sleeping students is maximized, with spacing between bunks and head-to-toe arrangement.
We will continue to emphasize and expand healthy outdoor opportunities, with plenty of distancing and fresh air!
Masking policy mirrors that at schools (masks indoors, no masks while distanced outside)
There are appropriate adjustments for a field trip to a residential outdoor science school:
No masks while sleeping, or while eating meals, within their cohort
As has always been the case at ECOS, students and staff are taught and reminded to wash hands frequently with soap and water, cough/sneeze into their elbow, and to not share towels, pillows, or water bottles.
Site maintenance staff conducts routine disinfection of all camp facilities. This involves bleaching all door handles, sink and toilet handles, and other frequently used surfaces around camp.
Kitchen surfaces and dining room tables are sanitized after each meal.
Additionally, all ECOS staff members are trained in Covid related cleaning, use of PPE, NPI’s, symptoms and infection response.
Of course, our Emergency Action Plan for contagion, will always be in effect:
Every ECOS staff member is trained to identify potential signs of illness, and to direct students to the health center.
Health care staff will track students and staff who exhibit potential illness, and isolate them if they exhibit significant symptoms.
Parents may be requested to pick up their ill students to avoid further spread of any illness.
In addition to our own strategies, parents will support our efforts to keep students healthy by:
Ensuring students arrive at school in good health, are well rested, nourished and hydrated.
Advising us if their student has recently traveled overseas or been around others who are sick.
Keeping students who are exhibiting fever, flu-like symptoms, coughing, shortness of breath or other respiratory symptoms at home until they are better. We will make every effort to assimilate late arriving students into the camp community with great care and enthusiasm.