What are your recommended protocols for sick participants?
Almost every public and private school requires that sick students are isolated and sent home. With the incredibly high transmissibility of the Omicron variant for the unvaccinated and vaccinated alike, this is the best course of action to take at school, as well as for field trips.
We understand that the remoteness of some of our facilities makes this challenging, but there are few important things to keep in mind:
- We do not have a nurse on duty and care of any sick student or adult is the sole responsibility of the group leader/school.
- Students and most adults will be sharing rooms (as well as transportation and meals) with at least one other individual, setting the stage for additional close contacts, increasing the chance of a Covid outbreak (3 or more individuals).
- Even if a person tests negative for Covid, which does not rule out the possibility of a Covid infection, our facilities are not the best place for students or adults to be when ill.
The best course of action to take is:
- Encourage everyone to get vaccinated.
- With all participants, reinforce the importance of Covid safe behavior prior to your trip, including avoiding large gatherings and poorly ventilated spaces.
- Test all participants prior to departure.
- Thoroughly screen all participants for any cold, flu, or Covid symptoms and do not bring anyone showing any of those symptoms. Camp is not fun when you are sick – keep sick people home.
- Bring Covid tests so that if anyone develops symptoms they can be tested immediately.
- If you don’t have the ability to test, you must assume Covid and operate as such. That would require isolating the student or adult and working on removing them from the facility as soon as possible.
- If a student or adult tests negative and their symptoms are mild, they should sleep and eat separately (if possible) and maintain strong masking with a properly fit high-quality mask, preferably N95/K95.
- If a student or adult tests negative and their symptoms are significant, they should be isolated and ideally return home. Strong masking with a properly fit high-quality mask, preferably N95/K95 is highly recommended. Even if it is not Covid, reducing the spread of a nasty cold or flu infection is justification enough for a participant to return home.
The best way to set your field trip up for success is to do everything you can to reduce the likelihood of bringing a sick person along. We understand that this is a very challenging task, but considering the difficulty involved in removing participants while on the field trip, the more you can do beforehand the better.