Appalachian Expeditions COVID-19 Update

June 19 Update:

At Appalachian Expeditions we strive  to acknowledge and minimize our risks so that we can create experiences that are fun and transformative. We use risk to push our limits and grow from these experiences. Thus, we cannot guarantee a “safe” program because “safety” means that we are eliminating risk altogether. When we eliminate all risk, we also eliminate the power of transformative experiences. 

Coronavirus is a new and unfamiliar hazard. While we are navigating this new challenge we are using our resources and listening to experts in the Government (CDC, WV-DHHR) and across the industry (American Camp Association-ACA and National Outdoor Leadership School-NOLS). Our policies and protocols are continually evolving as the virus and guidelines change, so stay tuned for future updates.  

As we begin operating programs we understand that participants and families of participants want to understand what steps we are taking to mitigate the risk of illness. 

Our practices can be quickly summarized into 3 areas: 

Pre-Program Practices: help us screen participants and staff before the trip to prevent someone from bringing it to the rest of the group.

  • Temperature checks upon arrival
  • COVID-19 Questionnaire
  • Educate Staff and Participants on best practices with COVID
    • Hand washing
    • No touching faces
    • Vulnerable populations must seek advice from physician advisor. Vulnerable populations at home in event of exposure
  • 14 day self-quarantine prior to the trip (when applicable)
  • If and when COVID testing becomes widely available, we may request that participants get tested in advance (when applicable)

Field Practices: help us keep participants safe and hygienic while on the trip

  • Stagger drop off/ pick up
  • Increased hygiene awareness: 20 seconds of hand washing (start of day, after bathroom, arrival to camp, before eating, end of day)
  • Participants must bring their own masks and wear them when appropriate
    • Masks in enclosed areas (like the Van)
    • Masks when physical distancing is not appropriate (i.e. looking at maps)
  • Sleeping under tarps instead of tents, for increased air flow.
  • Instructors cook and serve, while wearing a mask, hand washing is a must. No sharing food. Lunches packed with masks. 
  • Rental gear will be washed before and after use.
  • Van will be thoroughly disinfected per CDC guidelines.

Exposure event practices: provide protocols for how we will handle the situation if someone does begin to display symptoms 

    • Participant exhibiting symptoms will be physically distanced until we can evacuate them
    • Their cook and tarp groups will also be physically distanced and monitored for symptoms
    • Parents and others will be notified ASAP so that participants can get a COVID test
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