Preventing illness on your expedition

David Morgan


Your expedition starts now. 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 communicable diseases. Communicable diseases are illnesses that spread from one person to another, from an animal to a person, or from a surface or a portion of food. Some examples include Influenza (the Flu), Measles, and COVID-19. 

The well-being, health, and safety of our students and staff is a top priority at VOBS. We work diligently with local public health authorities and medical advisors to maintain recommended mitigation controls and procedures in alignment with current data and science.

The risk of contracting a communicable disease before or while participating in an Outward Bound program can be reduced but not eliminated.

Below are enhanced health and safety practices we ask of every student before arrival and while on the course.


Voyageur Outward Bound School strongly recommends that all students be 'up to date' with their vaccinations before arrival for their course start. For current recommended vaccinations, see the links below:

CDC recommended vaccinations for people aged 13-18

CDC recommended vaccinations for adults aged 19 and older


As you prepare for your expedition, we request that all students:

  • Wash and/or sanitize their hands frequently
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Follow current recommended guidance and requirements from the CDC
  • Monitor for symptoms of communicable disease. Some common symptoms of communicable diseases include:
    • A fever of 100 degrees or greater
    • Skin rash (such as with “chicken pox”, shingles or measles)
    • Persistent cough
    • Vomiting or diarrhea



Do not travel to your course if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or any communicable disease, if you have been or presumed to have been exposed to someone contagious, or if you have tested positive for a communicable disease. In these cases, please contact your Course Advisor immediately to work through your options.


The following field practices are designed to keep you/your child and others healthy. 

  • Good hygiene practices, including: frequent hand washing or sanitizing, coughing and sneezing away from others, not sharing personal equipment like water bottles, and preparing and serving food properly. 
  • Routine, periodic screening for symptoms. 



  • If a student begins to exhibit symptoms of communicable disease during a course, they may be isolated for testing and/or evacuation from the field. 
  • If symptoms are mild, resolve quickly, and precautions can be taken to reduce the risk of spreading the disease to others, the student may be able to return to the group. 
  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they will remain isolated and may be required to leave the course. A parent (or family-appointed guardian) of minor students is required to take over their care, preferably within 24 hours, but no later than 48 hours. 
  • If a student on an expedition has a probable or confirmed case of a communicable disease, Outward Bound will consult local public health authorities to determine whether to have other students in the same group quarantined, evacuated and/or tested. 

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