NatureBridge's Policies & Protocols: COVID-19

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March 24, 2020

The safety of our staff and participants remains NatureBridge’s number one priority. Following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, NatureBridge will suspend programs and operations on the Olympic campus until June as the most effective social distancing measure. 

Schools and groups scheduled to attend NatureBridge during this time can apply their amount paid as credit to a 2020-2021 school program, request a refund or donate their refund to NatureBridge. 

NatureBridge is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to connecting young people to the wonder and science of the natural world. We depend on revenue from our education programs and donations from our supporters to continue this mission and provide necessary assistance and support to our staff. Your support makes a difference and will help ensure that NatureBridge can weather COVID-19 and continue to provide programs in the future, for your students and many others. 

NatureBridge appreciates your partnership as we navigate this extremely challenging time. We hope you and your community remain healthy.

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March 5, 2020 

A Message from NatureBridge’s Director of Risk Management about COVID-19

In response to the extensive news coverage about COVID-19, I wanted to share NatureBridge’s protocols and policies in an effort to ease concerns and promote a healthy program environment. 

The safety of our participants and staff is our highest priority. NatureBridge is closely monitoring the situation in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and federal agencies, and the National Park Service Office of Public Health. The national parks are currently open and accessible without any restrictions and our location on Lake Crescent is separated from the main tourist areas in Olympic National Park. In addition, Seattle and King County Public Health are not recommending closing schools at this time due to the fact that children have not been shown to be a high risk group for serious illness from this virus. As long as the majority of Washington State schools remain open, we will plan to run program; however, if that situation changes, we will contact all affected schools. 

As an organization serving 30,000 youth annually across four national parks, NatureBridge has strong illness prevention policies and risk management practices in place. These long-standing policies and practices are still the most effective tools in managing sickness. They align with the guidelines of the Washington State Department of Health, the CDC, and the National Park Service Office of Public health. 

Here are the additional steps NatureBridge is taking to proactively address this situation: 

  • Participants (students, teachers, chaperones and any other guests) are asked in advance not to attend programs if they are experiencing illness symptoms. 
  • Handwashing and hand sanitizing; not sharing water bottles; covering sneezes and coughs; not touching eyes, mouth or nose; and reporting any illness symptoms are emphasized with all participants.
  • Food service staff follow best practices in food preparation and service. 
  • Facilities are disinfected daily, following National Park Service protocols for cold and flu.
  • If participants show signs of illness, they are removed from program and isolated in a sick cabin/room. Participants are sent home if they have a fever or have symptoms of illness (e.g. vomiting, exhaustion, severe coughing). We have extra spaces on campus where participants can be quarantined as we work with your school to get them home as quickly as possible.
  • NatureBridge staff are not allowed to work if they show symptoms of illness. 

NatureBridge has a strong tradition and practice of risk management and emergency response and our staff are trained to manage emergent situations and concerns. As the Risk Management Director, I directly oversee our standard risk management policies and actively support our campuses and staff. NatureBridge has the support and resources of National Park Service and 24-hour access to National Park Service law enforcement and emergency medical services. If needed, the nearest hospital is 30 minutes east in Port Angeles, WA.  

We continue to actively monitor the situation and will provide updates as needed. If you have additional questions, please contact Joe Zofrea, Operations Manager, 360-928-3720 ext 15 or olympicplanning@naturebridge.org.

Thank you for supporting the opportunity for your students to experience transformational NatureBridge programs. 

Jeff Crow
Director of Risk Management
NatureBridge