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Wilderness Awareness School and COVID-19


Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Wilderness Awareness School has suspended all in-person programs, gatherings, and events for the safety of our students and staff through the month of May. We are monitoring the situation closely and following national and local agency guidelines. Our number one priority is the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. We will update this announcement as we have further information.

 

The Summer Guarantee (Summer Camps)

This summer, nature connection at our summer camps will be more important than ever, and at this time we’re still looking forward to connecting with you and your families in the brighter months ahead. Our low student-to-staff ratios and small camp sizes will strike a perfect balance between reconnecting with peers after months of isolation, while still limiting exposure to large groups. Our Summer Guarantee states that students and/or families are eligible for a full refund of all summer programs if Wilderness Awareness School cancels summer programs due to COVID-19, or if COVID-19 adversely impacts a student and/or family (i.e. job loss, illness, or caring for a sick family member).

For more information about our Summer Guarantee, click here to view it in our Registration Policy.

 

The Fall Guarantee

Our Youth School Year programs and Adult Weekend and Intensive programs are scheduled to start in September 2020. However, with ever-changing circumstances, we've rolled out a Fall Guarantee. 

This states that if a program is canceled by WAS before the start date, or if a student has been adversely impacted by COVID-19, full refunds will be offered and deposits refunded. After the program start date, if we cancel any in-person classes due to COVID-19, we will offer a 50% prorated refund per day missed. For Youth School Year programs, will offer online learning opportunities during any cancelation period. Additionally, we're rolling out a $15,000 Relief Fund to assist families who experience hardship during the year due to COVID-19. 

For more information about our Fall Guarantee, click here to view it in our Registration Policy. 

 

Anake 2020/2021

We very much look forward to Anake Outdoor School beginning on schedule in September 2020. At this time, we do not anticipate that any closures would inhibit this program from starting on time.

 

Summer Camp Frequently Asked Questions

Are your Summer Day Camps running this year?
Yes, all summer day camps are set to run as scheduled. 

What precautions are you taking this year to mitigate the risks of COVID-19?
This summer is going to look different than in previous years. We are closely following federal, state, and local guidelines. With guidelines being updated regularly, we are doing our best to implement changes in real-time. Please reference the following document for more details: WA DOH Child Care and Summer Camp Guidelines.  

Will staff be required to wear face masks?
In following the WA DOH Child Care and Summer Camp Guidelines, staff and volunteers ARE required to wear face coverings.  

Will my child need to wear a mask?
Campers are encouraged to wear a mask. However, the current WA State Summer Camp Regulations do NOT require children to wear a mask when outdoors.

Are parents required to wear a mask?
We are requiring all parents to wear a mask for pick-up and drop-off

Will we have hand washing stations available?
Hand washing stations will be available at all of our camp locations, and staff, volunteers, and campers must wash their hands at given points throughout the day.

Are your group sizes smaller this year?
Yes. Our camp groups this year, including staff and volunteers, will not exceed 12 people. A typical group size for our Nature Adventure and Nature Skills camps is 1 instructor, 1 volunteer, and 8 students. A typical group size for our Nature Explorer camps is 1 instructor, 1 volunteer, and 6 students.

How does social distancing work at summer camp?
We have done a lot of work to tailor our activities and games to allow for physical distancing, while still delivering maximum fun and learning and are taking every reasonable precaution possible, and following DOH guidelines diligently.

Can my child request to be grouped with his/her/their friends?    
Yes. At the time of registration, you can request your child be grouped with a friend, provided they are enrolling in the same camp session. However, while we will do our best to accommodate these requests, we can not guarantee that this will occur. This year, campers will be in distinct groups of no more than 12 people (including staff, students, and volunteers) and will be in these groups for the entirety of camp. Note: campers are divided into age groups, so only friends of very similar ages are likely to be grouped together.

 

Fall Programs Frequently Asked Questions

We continue to be grateful that our programs are run almost exclusively outdoors. While being outside reduces transmission, we continue to follow national, state, and local guidelines to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The main guidance we are following is the Washington Department of Health Childcare Guidelines. These guidelines are updated and we will implement any required changes as needed.

What added safety protocols will you have in place?
Each day, students will be required to take their temperature (either at home or at class). If it’s above 100.4 degrees F, students will not be allowed to come to class. There are also a series of questions you will need to answer no to be able to attend class. We will have an updated check in process to minimize risks as well. Parents ARE required to wear face coverings at drop off and pick up.

Are students required to wear a mask?
Students are encouraged to wear a mask but are not required to wear one unless they are entering an enclosed space (such as a building, indoor bathroom, etc) OR if they need to be within 6’ of another student or staff member. Students are required to bring a face-covering to class.

Are students required to stay 6’ apart?
We are encouraging students to stay socially distanced at least 6’ apart, but not fully requiring it. There will be times when students and/or staff will likely need to be closer than that - helping students with gear, medical treatment, etc. In those times, we will ask students to wear a mask if they are not doing so already.

Are staff and volunteers required to wear a mask?
Yes. We are requiring our staff and volunteers to wear masks. This is to minimize risk for staff and students.

Will the school still be providing transportation?
At this time, we will not be providing any transportation. This includes driving from Duvall to our 40-acre campus as well as field trips and overnights. Even with masks and distancing, being enclosed in spaces does not feel like the best option for our staff and students. To minimize risk, we are planning to keep students in sub-groups as much as possible, and having students from multiple groups and/or programs intermixing in the same vehicle would negate that. 

What happens if the program needs to shut down? Will you be providing online learning?
We are not tied to what public schools are doing. As referenced, we have our own guidance that we are following. This guidance is not currently tied to phases, which means that even if we go back to Phase 1, unless this guidance is changed, we will not be forced to shut down. There is the possibility that we may need to implement online learning (Ex: if an instructor got sick and we were not able to find a backup in time), but this feels like a much smaller chance of happening than it was in the spring. We will have more backup instructors than in a typical year as well. We are planning to run in-person programs for the year and feel hopeful that we will be allowed to do so.

What other precautions are you taking?
We will be keeping sub-groups as distinct as possible. For the time being, we will not be altogether in a large group. That likely looks like 1 instructor, 1 volunteer, and 6-8 students (depending on the program). We will minimize the need for instructors or students to mix with other groups. We will continue to follow guidance around this and adjust accordingly. One big advantage to this is that we will have smaller student-to-instructor ratios. During breaks/mealtimes, students will spread out to maintain social distancing of at least 6’.

What is your refund policy?
Before the start date, if a program is canceled by WAS or if a student has been adversely impacted by COVID-19, full refunds will be offered and deposits refunded. After the program start date, if we cancel any in-person classes due to COVID-19, we will offer a 50% prorated refund per day missed - to be assessed twice during the year: Jan 11 and June 5th. For Youth School Year programs, will offer online learning opportunities during any cancelation period. 


Additionally, we have a $15,000 Relief Fund to assist families who experience hardship during the year due to COVID-19. See our full Registration Policy.