2021 COURSES: RESILIENT AND READY

Updated January 2020 - Additional updates to come as the CDC, national, state and county guidelines evolve. 

Welcome to a Year Like No Other. We are so excited to welcome students on our 2021 expeditions. Our courses may look slightly different this year, as we follow our enhanced health and safety standards. Please keep reading to see what these standards look like on course and what you can expect as you embark on your journey with Outward Bound. 

CBOBS is following all applicable federal and state law and CDC guidance regarding COVID-19. Due to the changing nature of the pandemic, information on this page is subject to change and will be updated, as necessary.

Let's Get Started. The moment you decide to go Outward Bound you’re tasked with responsibilities that impact not only yourself, but also your crew. This includes taking the necessary precautions to mitigate risks, including those associated with COVID-19. Below are enhanced health and safety practices we ask of every student prior to arrival and while on course. 

Reach out to your Course Advisor if you have additional questions. 

COURSE PROTOCOLS SUMMARY [DETAILED FAQ BELOW]

All students are required to have a negative COVID-19 test prior to course start*.

For the 14-days prior to your course start date, please do the following:

  • Practice proper social distancing – maintain 6ft of space between yourself and others
  • Wash and sanitize your hands frequently
  • Avoid crowded places and contact with people who are sick
  • Wear a mask in public spaces
  • Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms

*COVID-19 Testing Requirements

Testing is one layer of the safety system which ensures that students arrive at their course healthy. All unvaccinated students must both obtain a FDA-authorized COVID-19 viral test and submit their negative test result no earlier than 72 hours prior to the first day of course.  While we strongly encourage the PCR test because of its greater accuracy, a student may obtain what is called an “anti-gen test” or “rapid test.” If a student elects to obtain a rapid test, they must also both obtain the rapid test and submit their negative test result no earlier than 24 hours prior to the first day of course. 

Fully vaccinated students must submit proof of vaccination prior to beginning an expedition. People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their final dose of a vaccine. 

For 5-day peer leadership expeditions will school partners, CBOBS will maintain this policy or default to the school’s request if the school policy is more stringent. 

  • Test results must be submitted to Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School (CBOBS) prior to course start. 
  • To find testing resources in your area, please visit your state Health Department website or use this COVID-19 Testing Sites Locator. 
  • If you test positive, we cannot accept you onto course.

Vaccinated Students

Fully vaccinated students may forgo pre-course testing but must submit proof of vaccination prior to beginning an expedition. People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their final dose of a vaccine. 

Statement of Understanding  

Participants (and parents of minor students) will sign a COVID-19 Statement of Understanding. Your Admissions Contact will reach out to you with that form prior to course. 

Participants on Open Enrollment courses may use all travel options to course start and return travel.  If Outward Bound changes the transportation policy for the course that you are enrolled on, and you are unable to attend course as a result, you are eligible for a full tuition refund minus the $150 non-refundable application fee. 

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

Our team is committed to safety on each and every crew that goes into the field. In order to maintain our high standard of COVID-19 compliance we will be doing the following, while also ensuring that our students have the Outward Bound experience they deserve.

  • Participants will wear approved personal protective equipment when requested to do so.
  • Enhanced personal hygiene will be practiced on every course.
  • Increased cleaning and sanitization.
  • Crew sizes have been reduced to support social distancing.
  • Students will sleep under tarps or in tents. In either case, students will be appropriately distanced when sleeping to prevent the possible spread of illness.

See additional details in the FAQ below.

Our staff has worked rigorously to develop field safety practices that keep everyone (including themselves safe while on course). Any CBOBS Staff member who works with students will need to be tested for COVID-19 at least once every 14 days. Additionally, instructors, prior to beginning an expedition, are tested within 72 hours prior to course start. 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

WILL CBOBS STAFF BE TESTED FOR COVID-19?
Any unvaccinated CBOBS Staff member who works with students will be tested for COVID-19 at least once every 14 days. Additionally, for expeditions, unvaccinated instructorsare tested within 72 hours prior to course start.  
WHAT WILL YOU DO IF A STUDENT EXHIBITS SIGNS OF COVID-19?
Parents/guardians will be contacted in the event their child develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Symptomatic individuals will be isolated from the group, equipped with PPE, and will be evacuated for testing. Students will be cared for, and CBOBS will seek medical care based on the student’s signs and symptoms and local medical advice, involving parents in the conversation as practical. Parents will be asked to pick up their child from the field as soon as possible (within 48 hours maximum, and 24 hours if possible), ideally from the field, and to get them tested and share the results with CBOBS as soon as possible. CBOBS’ emergency on-call team will manage this process and the admissions team will support all pre- and post-course communication.  
WHAT IS YOUR QUARANTINE PLAN?
If the symptoms are consistent with COVID-19, Outward Bound will isolate the student from the group, equip them with PPE, and care for the student until they are put in the care of a parent or guardian. If necessary, Outward Bound will seek medical care based on the student’s signs and symptoms and local medical advice, involving parents in the conversation as practical.  
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE IN THE GROUP TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19?
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the student will need to leave the course permanently.   Parents/guardians are required to pick up the student within 48 hours maximum, and within 24 hours if possible. Parents will be asked to arrange to pick their child up, ideally from the field, and isolate them at home.  CBOBS will isolate and care for the student until a parent can travel to the field or, under extenuating circumstances, the basecamp and assume care of the student off-site. CBOBS will seek medical care based on the student’s signs and symptoms and local medical advice, involving parents in the conversation as practical.  CBOBS will notify the parents/guardians of the remaining students of the potential exposure, and parents/guardians will have the opportunity to decide whether or not to remove their child from the course. CBOBS, in consultation with its advising physician as well as the parents/guardians of the remaining students, will then determine whether or not it is possible and advisable to continue with the remainder of the course or to cancel the course entirely.  If a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they would leave the course permanently and be replaced by a staff member who has been supporting the group. 
WHAT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY AS A PARENT / GUARDIAN IF MY CHILD IS EVACUATED FROM COURSE?
Prior to expedition, you and your family must have a plan in place to pick up your child within 48 hours maximum, and 24 hours if possible, in the event your child develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19. We will be in consistent communication with you if this situation should arise. If your child is evacuated from course for a non-COVID-19 reason, you will still be responsible for picking them up as soon as possible. 
WHAT WILL THE SLEEPING SITUATION LOOK LIKE?
Students will sleep under tarps or in tents. In either case, students will be appropriately distanced when sleeping to prevent the possible spread of illness.   
WILL STUDENTS AND STAFF BE REQUIRED TO WEAR MASKS?
Yes. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated student and staff will be required to wear mask at certain points through the course. Be sure to pack at least 2 masks in your gear.  For courses 6 days or longer, with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated staff or students, everyone is required to wear facemasks until achieving family/household unit status, following a 2-test regimen.  
  • Test 1 – On the first day, after arriving to base or the airport, all student and staff will complete a BinaxNow (OTC Antigen Rapid Test) which has results in 15 min. 
  • Test 2 – the second BinaxNow test is performed in the field on day 5, allowing crew members to discontinue masks/social distancing after everyone is confirmed as covid negative. 
  • For shorter courses, all student and staff are required to wear masks for the duration of the course.  
This may sound like a lot of wearing masks, but in the great outdoors with plenty of space, there will be ample opportunity to maintain appropriate social distance that allows us to remove our masks. Students and Staff will also remove masks when eating, drinking, sleeping, or when participating vigorous outdoor activity or activities that could get masks wet, like canoeing, sea kayaking, or hiking in the rain.    If all members of a crew (students and staff) are fully vaccinated, the group can automatically operate as a family unit. Masks will be optional while together, be required if the crew interacts with any unvaccinated individuals outside of their group. 
WHAT PREVENTATIVE MEASURES WILL BE TAKEN DURING THE COURSE TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COMMUNICABLE DISEASE?
When students arrive at CBOBS base, they will have all been previously tested for COVID-19 and screened by our staff, reducing the probability of a student being COVID-19 positive.   Students will be met by their instructors who will also have undergone the same testing & screening process. If your child is on a multi-element course, there may be some interaction with outside staff (Course Directors and Support Instructors) for rock climbing days, resupply days, and end of course activities. These interactions; however, will follow social distancing protocols. We are following industry standards in practicing good hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and social distancing to the greatest extent possible in a wilderness setting. Staff also teach and supervise hygiene behaviors on course, including: 
  • Hand washing and hand sanitizing 
  • Sanitizing gear 
  • Sanitary food preparation and dish sanitizing 
  • Not touching one’s face with unwashed hands 
  • Covering sneezes and coughs in the crook of an arm or, if available, a disposable tissue 
  • Not sharing personal utensils or personal care products 
WILL MY CHILD BE DENIED ACCEPTANCE TO OUTWARD BOUND IF THEY HAVE UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS?
Having an underlying health condition would not automatically exclude anyone from participating in Outward Bound. All students undergo a medical screening process to make sure that they are safe and fit candidates for their specific course. Students with underlying conditions are advised to check with their physicians about any additional risks of contracting a communicable disease. 
WHY DO I NEED TO GET TESTED AND WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS?
Testing is one layer of the safety system which ensures that students arrive at their course healthy. All unvaccinated students must both obtain a FDA-authorized COVID-19 viral test and submit their negative test result no earlier than 72 hours prior to the first day of course.  While we strongly encourage the PCR test because of its greater accuracy, a student may obtain what is called an “anti-gen test” or “rapid test.” If a student elects to obtain a rapid test, they must also both obtain the rapid test and submit their negative test result no earlier than 24 hours prior to the first day of course.  Fully vaccinated students must submit proof of vaccination prior to beginning an expedition. People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their final dose of a vaccine.  For 5-day peer leadership expeditions will school partners, CBOBS will maintain this policy or default to the school’s request if the school policy is more stringent. 
WHAT IF I AM VACCINATED?
Fully vaccinated students may forgo pre-course testing but must submit proof of vaccination prior to beginning an expedition. People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their final dose of a vaccine. 
WHAT DOES STRICT SOCIAL DISTANCING MEAN PRIOR TO THE COURSE?
Strict social distancing means limiting exposure to non-family members, wearing a face mask around non-family members, avoiding large crowds/gatherings, and limiting non-essential travel for 14 days prior to the start of your course. This is required in order to minimize your exposure to communicable disease. 
WILL THERE BE NEW PAPERWORK TO FILL OUT?
All students and parents will need to sign an additional COVID-19 Statement of Understanding that outlines your responsibilities and commitment to making sure that you are able to arrive at Outward Bound healthy. 
WHAT IS OUTWARD BOUND DOING TO REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF SOMEONE BRINGING COVID-19 TO COURSE?
During the screening process from Admissions leading up to the course, applicants are asked to disclose any contact history that would put them in a higher risk category for contracting or transmitting COVID-19. Contact history includes close contact with anyone with a confirmed or presumed case of COVID-19 or anyone with an acute respiratory disease AND a relevant travel history.  All students are required to adhere to our pre-course policies: 
  • 14 days of strict social distancing guidelines, as described by the CDC, prior to the course 
  • Get a COVID-19 test and submitting a negative result within 3 days prior to the first day of course 
  • Follow travel exposure precautions as described by the CDC 
 Students will also be screened in a pre-course interview for symptoms upon arrival at CBOBS base. If students have any symptoms or fail to submit a negative COVID-19 test, they will not be allowed to participate.  
WHAT IF OUTWARD BOUND HAS TO CANCEL A COURSE MY CHILD IS ENROLLED ON? WILL WE GET A REFUND?
If Outward Bound needs to cancel a course due to COVID-19 your Course Advisor will assist you in transferring to a future Outward Bound course OR issue a course credit for a future Outward Bound course OR issue a refund in full. 
WHEN WOULD YOU CANCEL A COURSE AS IT RELATES TO COVID-19?
If travel or other challenges result in enrollment dropping so low that the group size is below what we believe is necessary for the valuable interpersonal dynamics of an Outward Bound course, we will seek to transfer students and combine groups. If this is not possible, we may be forced to cancel a course.  If the states in which we operate (MD, PA, WV) impose travel restrictions or other restrictions that limit our ability to operate we may be forced to cancel a course as well.  
SHOULD I STILL SIGN MYSELF OR MY CHILD UP NOW OR WAIT AND SEE HOW THINGS PROGRESS?
At this time the Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School is committed to running scheduled programming through Spring 2021 and beyond. CBOBS will decide when and under what conditions any courses will operate using medical advice and our best judgment. If course dates need to change, or CBOBS decides to cancel a course, your Course Advisor will reach out to you with more information. Courses are enrolling fast for 2021, so enrolling early will give you the best chance to get a spot on the course of your choice.  
IF OUTWARD BOUND DECIDES AFTER I ENROLL THAT I MUST TRAVEL TO COURSE START BY PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION, WILL I BE ABLE TO CANCEL AND RECEIVE A REFUND?
Yes. If Outward Bound changes the transportation policy for the course that you are enrolled on, and you are unable to attend course as a result, you are eligible for a full tuition refund minus the $150 non-refundable application fee.  Currently, CBOBS is allowing students to use all travel options to course start and return travel.   
WILL CBOBS BE PROVIDING SHUTTLE AND UNACCOMPANIED MINOR PICK UP/DROP OFF AT YOUR LOCAL AIRPORT?
CBOBS will provide a shuttle from BWI Airport to base for students only. The shuttle to base from Baltimore-Washington Marshall International Airport (BWI) leaves promptly at 10:30 AM.   Directions to the Outward-Bound Shuttle:  
  • From baggage claim, proceed upstairs to the departures level.  
  • Leave the terminal through Door #1 (labeled) across from the Southwest Airlines Ticket Counter  
  • Cross the crosswalk and turn left towards the Southwest Drop-of area. (This is the first drop-of area that incoming vehicles encounter.) Outward Bound staff will meet you here at 10:30 AM.  
Parents or guardians wishing to travel to base from the airport must arrange their own transportation. BWI Airport is a 20 min drive from our base in Baltimore.  See google map directions here.    CBOBS staff will not meet unaccompanied minors at their arrival gate/departure gate for air travel.  Please note that this a change from our normal practice in past years and our welcome packets do not reflect this change.  If an airline requires that a minor be accompanied by an adult, the parent or guardian will be responsible.  Airlines vary according to their policies so please contact your airline for their specific policy.    Here are some of our more commonly used airlines policies on Unaccompanied Minor travel: https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/family/unaccompanied-minors-pol.html https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/special-assistance/unaccompanied-minors.jsp https://www.delta.com/us/en/children-infant-travel/unaccompanied-minor-program 

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. 

Our instructors have tested all of our safety measures in the field on themselves in real-world scenarios in the very course areas your program will take place. We've made sure that all of our student expectations are functional, manageable and do not detract from the quality of your Outward Bound course. Here is what it looks like to take a course with our crew during COVID-19.