COVID-19 Course Practices

David Morgan


This is an evolving situation and our practices may change as we gain new information or as recommendations change. VOBS 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 VOBS decides to cancel a course, your Course Advisor will reach out to you with more information.

For answers to common questions please review our COVID-19 FAQ's Page. 

Updated 7/22/21

*If you have received a COVID-19 vaccine, we ask that you continue to follow the recommended guidance for fully vaccinated people from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Over the last year, we have worked tirelessly to responsibly run our programming in the age of COVID-19. As the scientific knowledge of COVID-19 has increased, we have continually evolved our COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Practices. After conducting a ton of research and review, we have made the decision to require COVID-19 vaccination for students on our courses. This policy begins September 2021 and will continue throughout the fall, winter and spring seasons. Please note, this will affect all courses that begin September 1st or later.

We are committed to responsibly running 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 the unintentional spread of communicable disease
  • To keep our local community healthy
  • 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. In order for you or your child to participate in this Outward Bound course, please review the below requirements.


*If you have received a COVID-19 vaccine, we ask that you continue to follow the recommended guidance for fully vaccinated people from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

*If your course starts on or after September 1st, 2021, all students will be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19. 

FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS (regardless of vaccination status):

  • 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.
  • Students must talk with their course advisor about travel plans, and submit a back-up plan if choosing to travel via commercial transportation. 

If you are unvaccinated, please follow the below practices prior to your course start.
*If your course begins on or after September 1st, 2021, vaccination against COVID-19 will be required to attend your course. If you have question, please contact your course advisor.

  • Participants must follow strict physical distancing from everyone not in their household for 14 days prior to the course start. 
  • Participants are strongly encouraged to get an FDA-authorized viral test for COVID-19 at least 14-days, but no more than 3 months, prior to course start and submit any positive test results to VOBS. 
  • Participants must obtain an FDA-authorized NAAT test for COVID-19 within 3 days prior to course start and submit a negative test result to VOBS prior to arriving at course start.


Testing for COVID-19 is part of Outward Bounds comprehensive plan for minimizing the risk of spreading the virus. It is possible that individuals could have knowingly or unknowingly contracted COVID-19 in the months leading up to their course and then test positive for COVID-19 right before course-start, despite no longer being contagious. For this reason, VOBS has added in a third test to our timeline.

We strongly encourage the timeline listed below. Please reach out to your course advisor with any questions.

Testing Tips & Access:

  • Call your local clinic or healthcare provider
  • CVS Pharmacy’s have testing sites nationwide
  • Check in with your local State Department of Health regarding free testing sites in your area or at-home testing kits that can be sent to your door and mailed back for results (these testing kits are often free)



  •  Participants may travel to/from course by personal vehicle or commercial transportation. Personal vehicle travel is encouraged.
  • If you intend to depart by commercial transportation, you must submit a back-up departure plan should you need to depart under quarantine or isolation protocols. The plan CANNOT include commercial travel.
  • Due to the nature of COVID-19, we highly recommend against purchasing any non-refundable travel. Make sure you verify cancellation or change fees with the airline before you purchase your ticket. In the event that your course changes due to COVID-19, the Voyageur Outward Bound School is not responsible for any non-refundable travel please plan accordingly. 


When booking your flight, and while traveling, we expect you to do the following:

  • Minimize layovers and time of layovers
  • Reference CDC guidelines for mask-wearing CDC Mask Policy for Traveling
  • Unvaccinated participants should wear a mask when in public places
  • Avoid eating and drinking in restaurants
  • Continue to maintain physical distance of six-feet from others
  • Wash and sanitize your hands often
  • Bring wipes to wipe down surfaces around your seat on the plane.

Please reference the CDC recommendations for Protecting Yourself When Using Transportation and Considerations for Travelers.


  • Participants must arrive at the course start neither experiencing nor presenting any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Participants will be screened upon arrival. If any signs or symptoms of illness exist, participants will not be allowed to start the course.
  • Participants will be given a COVID-19 rapid Antigen test on the day of their course start. 


  • Participants will be given a second COVID-19 rapid Antigen test between days 4-8 of the course.  If all tests return negative, the group may have the opportunity to transition into "family unit" status.
  • Parents must drive their child home if they start showing symptoms of COVID-19 and/or test positive for COVID-19 during the course.
  • 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. 
  • Participants must be willing to follow instructions for reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19, such as frequent hand washing, sanitizing and regular symptom checks.


  • All unvaccinated staff will be tested regularly for COVID-19.
  • Starting September 1st, 2021, all VOBS staff are required to have their COVID-19 vaccination. Some exemptions may exist, in accordance with our Staff Vaccination Policy. Possible exemptions will be assessed against course type, staff role and other relevant safety factors.
  • All staff who work directly with students will follow a testing strategy similar to our participant strategies.

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