Program Practices


The Northwest Outward Bound School is looking forward to responsibly resuming programming in the age of COVID-19, and we are asking all students and families to help us make this possible by following the requirements listed below. These requirements are designed with several goals in mind: To keep students and staff healthy, to prevent unintentional spread of communicable disease, to keep our local community healthy, and to allow students to experience an Outward Bound course with the same outcomes as they would have had before the pandemic. It is imperative that you follow these requirements and agree to do your part to help every student and family have a safe and positive experience. 



This is an evolving situation and our practices may change as we gain new information or as recommendations change. NWOBS will decide when and under what conditions any courses will operate using our safety protocols and best judgement. Please know that while NWOBS is making every effort to implement protocols that minimize the risk of transmission, we cannot guarantee that COVID-19 will not be present on course.  For exact information on your course, please be in touch with your Course Advisor, or email [email protected] and we'll be in touch!

In order for you or your child to participate in this Outward Bound course we are requiring the following:



  • Participants must notify their course advisor of any underlying health conditions that could put them at increased risk from contracting a communicable disease, and check in with their physician about any additional risks.
  • Participants (and parents of minor students) will sign a COVID-19 Statement Release Form. This document clearly outlines the mitigation steps Outward Bound is taking, expectations of students, and the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • A COVID-19 test is required prior to course arrival (more details on this will be provided directly to enrolled students).
  • From 72 hours prior to course until course start, participants are to be COVID-19 symptom-free.
  • Participants must arrive and depart via personal vehicle. No commercial transportation such as airlines, trains, or buses is allowed at this time
  • Participants will observe strict physical distancing practices during the 14-days prior to course start. This includes:
    • Staying home as much as possible
    • When out of the home, keeping six feet of distance from other people as much as possible
    • Washing or sanitizing hands frequently, and always after touching surfaces that other people touch (such as elevator buttons, handrails, door pulls and fuel pump handles)
    • Avoiding crowded spaces, including public transportation
    • Wearing a mask when close proximity to people in public spaces is unavoidable
    • Avoiding contact with people who are sick



  • Participants must arrive at the course start neither experiencing nor presenting any signs or symptoms of COVID-19Participants will be screened upon arrival, including taking temperature. If any signs or symptoms of illness exist, participants will be isolated and not be allowed to start the course.



  • If a student exhibits COVID-19 symptoms during a course, they will be evacuated for testing. Upon receiving a negative test, and with the advice of a healthcare professional, the student may be able to return to the group.
  • If a student has a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, Outward Bound will consult local public health authorities to determine whether to have other students in the same group evacuated and/or tested.
  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they will leave the course. A parent (or family appointed guardian) of minor students is required to take over their care, preferably within 24-hours, but no later than 48 hours). 
  • Participants must agree to wear a cloth face cover (such as a mask) when instructed to do so. Masks must cover both the nose and mouth and fasten either at the back of the head or behind the ears. 
  • Groups will utilize some physical distancing practices when practicable and will be kept physically distanced from one another and the public.
  • Sleeping arrangements will be configured to allow for social distancing.
  • Reduced dependency on external vendors such as charter buses, resupplies, service project facilitators, use of public campgrounds, etc.
  • Staff will conduct daily temperature and symptom checks.
  • Staff will thoroughly teach and supervise hygiene practices. If participants are unwilling to use these practices, they will be sent home.  These will include:
    • Handwashing and equipment cleaning routines
    • Respiratory etiquette including stepping away from others and coughing and sneezing into one’s crooked arm or shoulder
    • Not touching one’s face with unwashed hands
    • Not sharing personal items like water bottles, towels or face coverings, for example
    • Hygienic food preparation and serving


  • Staff will have followed strict physical distancing from everyone not in their household for 14 days prior to the course start.
  • All NWOBS employees will be tested for COVID-19 and cleared to work.
  • Staff will regularly check themselves for COVID-19 symptoms, including taking their temperature. 
  • Outward Bound Instructors have received enhanced safety and health training related to COVID-19. This includes managing mitigation efforts, symptom monitoring and responding to signs and symptoms of respiratory illness.
  • Outward Bound support staff have developed enhanced cleaning, sanitation, and transportation procedures.



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