Adventure Treks’ COVID-19 Resources
We are moving full-steam ahead toward summer 2021! Having successfully operated COVID-free during summer 2020, we’re confident we’ll be ready for the challenges 2021 will be sure to bring.
The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that you understand our efforts to manage everyone’s health and safety so that you can make an informed decision. We are focused on taking all reasonable measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We have again partnered with Dr. Andrew Morris, a family physician in Hendersonville, NC, where he serves as the assistant program director of the MAHEC Hendersonville Family Medicine Residency Program; assistant clinical instructor of Family Medicine at UNC School of Medicine; medical director of Blue Ridge Community Health Services; and medical director for four regional summer camps. (Read Dr. Morris’ full bio here.) Dr. Morris will serve as our medical advisor and consultant on COVID protocols and policies for summer 2021.
In addition to partnering with Dr. Morris, we continue to seek guidance from the American Camp Association (ACA) and the CDC on how to best prepare for Adventure Treks this summer. Please understand this is a living document, and we will continue to adjust our programming, schedule, and protocols to match current research and science.
Above all, we promise to continue operating with the ingenuity, discipline, trust, and work ethic that we have always delivered, and we will continue to communicate our plans and protocols with parents.
Below are the questions addressed in the aforementioned COVID policies document.
Will Adventure Treks instructors be vaccinated?
While we cannot mandate Adventure Treks instructors to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to federal law prohibiting requiring a vaccine under the emergency use authorization, all of our staff (as of April 22) have either been vaccinated, are partially vaccinated, or are eagerly awaiting their first vaccine appointment. Our director team is also fully vaccinated.
Any staff who have not been able to secure a vaccine before Adventure Treks will arrive to orientation with a negative COVID PCR/molecular test. During orientation, we will include additional training on COVID protocols and recognizing symptoms of COVID-19 and actions to take if recognized.
Will students have to quarantine before their trips?
All Adventure Treks students will participate in a “risk mitigation” period in the 10 days prior to the start of their trip. This means monitoring temperatures, checking for COVID symptoms daily, and practicing “common sense behaviors,” including adhering to current CDC guidelines regarding social distancing, mask-wearing, and personal hygiene to reduce the risk of exposure.
Students with a primary exposure* to COVID-positive person within 10 days of the trip should not travel to the trip site, regardless of COVID test results, unless the student has been vaccinated AND has a negative COVID PCR/molecular test within four days of the start of the trip, and at least five days after the known exposure. Students with a positive test within four days of the trip should not travel to the trip site, regardless of vaccination status.
*Primary exposure means spending more than 15 minutes within six feet of a COVID-positive person, sharing living quarters (home, dorm room, etc.), or spending less than 15 minutes if the exposure is high-risk (hugging, touching, kissing, riding in the same vehicle, etc.).
Will students have to be tested before their trips? What about students who are vaccinated?
Just like with instructors, we cannot mandate that our students receive the COVID vaccine in order to attend Adventure Treks (though at the moment, at least 50 percent of our student population is vaccinated, and we believe that number will continue increase in the coming weeks). Thus, all students will be required to provide proof of EITHER:
- Vaccination* OR
- A negative PCR/molecular test (i.e., not an antigen test) taken within four days of the start of the trip.
*Students must be fully vaccinated prior to the start of their Adventure Treks trip in order to forgo the negative PCR/molecular test. According to the CDC, “people are considered fully vaccinated: 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or. 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.”
Parents will upload either their child’s official vaccination card (or other official document from a healthcare provider with a vaccine record) or negative PCR/molecular test into CampInTouch. We know many younger students were in vaccine trials this year and may not have an official vaccination card yet; if that is the case, your child will be required to bring a negative PCR/molecular test.
If a student has tested positive for COVID within 90 days of the trip start date, they will not be required to provide proof of a negative PCR test. Instead, they’ll be required to submit official documentation from a health care provider confirming the date of positive diagnosis and that they’re cleared to attend Adventure Treks.
What about students who have allergies or asthma and may exhibit some symptoms, like nasal congestion or cough?
Students with allergies, asthma, or post-nasal drip should be optimally controlled on preventative medication prior to arriving to Adventure Treks, as the presence of these symptoms may prompt quarantine and testing. Since students will be living in new locations and environments on their trips, they should bring as-needed medications for any allergy symptoms (this includes over-the-counter medications like Zyrtec or Claritin).
Will there be health screenings or testing during AT trips?
Upon arriving to each trip’s meeting location, instructors will conduct a health screening check for each student. Once an entire trip group is screened on arrival day, they will not need to physically distance within their group or wear a face covering*.
*Students will wear masks when in vans and when interacting with members outside their Adventure Treks group (i.e., third-party outfitters and guides and members of the general public. These interactions will be limited).
Between days five and seven on most trips*, all non-vaccinated students will be tested for COVID to rule out possible exposure while traveling to Adventure Treks.
*Students on trips shorter than 13 days will not be tested at Adventure Treks.
Adventure Treks instructors and students will continue practicing rigorous personal and group hygiene on every trip.
What happens if someone shows symptoms?
If someone starts exhibiting symptoms, they will be isolated and tested*. If the student tests positive, they will go home**. If the student tests negative, they will remain in isolation until symptoms improve and they have been symptom- or fever-free for 24 hours. Families will be notified as soon as possible, and if applicable, healthcare providers will be consulted.
*Costs associated with quarantine and additional testing (in addition to the test Adventure Treks will administer in the first week) will be the responsibility of the family. Adventure Treks will pass on the direct costs incurred to families.
**If a student tests positive, families will be notified as soon as possible, and Adventure Treks will coordinate with the family to take custody of their child as soon as possible. All other students will be re-tested, and healthcare providers will be consulted to determine if the trip can continue.
Should we get program insurance?
We highly recommend program insurance. Should your child be unable to attend or have to leave a summer trip early, program insurance can help you recover the cost once Adventure Treks tuition becomes non-refundable after March 1, 2021. (Read more info here.)
As you consider insurance, make sure you read through the fine print carefully. Insurance typically will not cover cancellation due to “fear of travel”; essentially, they won’t reimburse you if you’re worried about how COVID-19 may impact your student’s travel plans.
Some companies do not have exclusions regarding epidemics or pandemics, meaning you may make claims including emergency medical or trip interruption if your child contracts COVID-19 or goes under quarantine while traveling.
Read through your insurance (or credit card) company’s FAQs regarding COVID-19, or call them directly to get all of your questions answered.
Did Adventure Treks operate in 2020?
Yes! However, Adventure Treks did not operate our normal trips in the American West in summer 2020. Simply put, the logistical and potential quarantine challenges were too great should something have gone wrong.
But we couldn’t imagine a summer without AT. Using the guidelines from the American Camp Association and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (and in partnership with the Henderson County Health Department and support of our local government), we operated on a smaller scale from our 12-acre basecamp in western North Carolina. Our protocols included:
- Leasing private land and setting up campsites so we could isolate our trip groups in their own bubble, with minimal contact with the outside world.
- Focusing on effective pre-trip screening and testing, daily symptom screening, exclusive use of outdoor venues, constant hand-washing, and vigilant hygiene.
- Wearing masks when in vans and indoor spaces.
- And physically distancing when appropriate.
We’re thrilled to report that no only did we run a COVID-free summer, but students also had an incredibly fun time having outdoor adventures with peers in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.
*If due to COVID-19 and/or other reasons outside our control Adventure Treks is unable to operate programs in 2021, enrolled families will be offered the option of transferring tuition forward to 2022 with no fee or requesting a full refund.