COVID-19

Policies & Protocols

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April 23, 2021

For specific information regarding the pandemic’s impact on capacity, program structure, and pricing at each campus, please visit the links below:

A comprehensive NatureBridge Health and Safety Plan (HSP) is available here for your review. The HSP will be updated as national, state and local recommendations and guidelines are modified. 

The HSP provides a clear set of guidelines that will help minimize the occurrence and impact of communicable disease during a program. All NatureBridge staff will be trained on the HSP and will follow the guidelines which adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Camp Association (ACA) recommendations for summer camps (Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance), as well as county public health requirements. 

You are welcome to contact the NatureBridge Director of Risk Management, Jeff Crow, with any specific health and safety questions. Email jcrow@naturebridge.org

February 1, 2021

NatureBridge’s number one priority is to provide your students with a safe and meaningful experience in our national parks. NatureBridge has a proven history of risk management expertise and has welcomed over 1 million students to our national parks over the last 50 years. Our educators and staff are certified as Wilderness First Responders and trained on the latest risk management practices and protocols.  

In response to the pandemic, specifically, we have made the following overall changes to our operations for the 2021/2022 school year:

  • The number of schools and total number of participants allowed on campus will be limited in order to follow local, state and national guidelines 
  • The number of individuals per learning group is limited to 12 students and two adults 
  • Cabin/dorm and meal assignments will allow for separation of school groups

For more detailed information regarding the pandemic’s impact on capacity, program structure and pricing at each campus, please visit the links below for campus-specific updates:

A comprehensive NatureBridge Health and Safety Plan (HSP) will be available for your review in the coming weeks. The HSP will provide a clear set of guidelines that will help minimize the occurrence and impact of communicable disease during a program. The HSP will be updated as national, state and local recommendations and guidelines are modified. All NatureBridge staff will be trained on the HSP and will follow the guidelines which adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Camp Association (ACA) recommendations for summer camps (Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance), as well as county public health requirements.

An overview of the anticipated HSP is available here.

You are welcome to join Jeff Crow, NatureBridge Director of Risk Management, during his office hours on Mondays and Thursdays from from 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time during the month of February. Join via ZoomNatureBridge Risk Management Office Hours. Questions? You can reach Jeff at jcrow@naturebridge.org.

July 15, 2020

We have had many conversations with schools scheduled to attend NatureBridge next school year and unfortunately there is still great uncertainty about what the school year will look like, schools’ willingness and ability to attend overnight programs and what restrictions will be in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. As such, NatureBridge has made the difficult decision to cancel all overnight school programs for the 2020–2021 school year. The lack of certainty does not allow us to rely on enrollment levels and revenues in order to staff or plan appropriately for programs. 

We remain hopeful that we can resume our overnight school programs in Fall 2021 and are committed to working with all of our schools to plan a future program. We will be reaching out to all schools in early 2021 to share updates for the 2021–2022 school year. 

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 at our Yosemite campus through June 5, 2020 as the most effective social distancing measure. 

Schools and groups scheduled to attend NatureBridge Yosemite through June 5, 2020 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.

March 5, 2020

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

Spanish version here

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 NPS Office of Public Health. The national parks are currently open and accessible without any restrictions. The CDC is still indicating that the virus is not spreading widely in the United States but if any program alterations are warranted, 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. We’re hopeful that the COVID-19 risk will remain low but this is a great reminder of the importance of good hygiene and illness prevention practices. Our long-standing illness policies are still the most effective in dealing with sickness and are in alignment with the CDC, the Office of Public Health, National Park Service and the California Department 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. Hospital and/or clinic facilities are located close to each campus. 

We continue to actively monitor the situation and will provide updates as needed. If you have additional questions, please contact Tony Ebstein, Yosemite Operations Manager, at yoseoperationsmanager@naturebridge.org or 209-732-0139. 

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

Jeff Crow
Director of Risk Management
NatureBridge