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COVID-19 Health and Safety Policies

Updated 3-12-22

Nearby Nature Communicable Disease Management Plan (CDMP) 

The health and safety of our program participants, volunteers, and staff are always top priorities for Nearby Nature. Our staff, volunteers, parents/guardians, and program participants all have important roles to play in caring for each other. The following plan and protocols explain how all can be involved with respect to COVID-19.

Note: Parents/guardians of vulnerable children or who have other vulnerable family members at home are encouraged to consult with medical professionals before sending their children to programs at Nearby Nature.

*Please note that COVID-19 health and safety guidance from local, state, and national health authorities may change at any time. Nearby Nature’s COVID Health and Safety Policies will be shared with all staff and will be revised as needed by Nearby Nature administrative staff. The plan and any revisions made will also be shared with all program participants and is available upon request as well as on our website.

1 — Daily Health Screening and Safety Protocols

The following daily health screening and drop-off/pick-up safety protocols will be used at Nearby Nature’s in-person youth programs:

  • Drop-off/Pick-Up: Parents/guardians should go directly to their child’s outdoor check-in station at drop-off and pick-up times (or follow alternative protocols for off-site programs as instructed). Locations will be provided in pre-program parent/guardian letters. Parents/guardians will sign in/sign out each child on a written log each day. Sanitized writing implements will be provided.
  • Face coverings: Face coverings are optional during drop-off/pick-up as of March 12, 2022. Parent/guardians should physically distance themselves from those not in their households. Disposable masks are available for anyone who would like one. See face covering requirements for children in Nearby Nature Illness Prevention and Sanitation Protocols section below.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Hand sanitizer will be available at all check-in stations for program participants, staff, and parent/guardians.
  • Health Screening Questions for Program Participants: Parents/guardians will be asked to answer the following health-related questions at program drop-off. Parents/guardians are encouraged to pre-screen at home. See Exclusion from Programs on pages for an explanation of what will happen if someone answers yes to either of these questions or has other symptoms of illness.
    1. Are you or your child a close contact of an individual with COVID-19 (or a presumptive case of COVID-19) or anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 within the past 10 days? Note: A “presumptive case” means the person was exposed to someone with COVID-19 and the presumptive individual showed symptoms in the past 10 days. An “exposure” is defined as an individual who has close contact (less than six feet) for longer than 15 minutes (in a 24 hour period) with a COVID-19 case that is infectious. “Infectious” means from two days before until ten days after their symptoms started (or when they showed symptoms if they were never tested).
    2. Are you or your child experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms — a new loss of taste or smell, an unusual cough, shortness of breath, a fever (100.4°F or higher) and chills, or difficulty breathing? “Unusual cough” means something not normal for you. Note: Any child/visitor with any of the following symptoms will also not be admitted to their program: headache, sore throat, rash, vomiting, pink eye, or diarrhea.
  • Health Screening for Nearby Nature Staff Members/Volunteers: Staff and volunteers will self-screen and attest to their own health on a daily basis.
  • Program Visitors: Non-Nearby Nature staff/volunteer visitors to our programs will be limited. Parents and guardians are not allowed to enter our programs except for emergencies.

2 — Record Keeping and Contact Tracing

Daily Program Log: Nearby Nature will keep a written daily log for each program that includes the information below. This information will support COVID-19 contact tracing by local health authorities (if necessary).

  • Child’s name
  • Drop-off/pick-up time
  • Adult’s signature at drop-off/pick-up
  • Adult emergency contact information
  • A record of all staff/volunteers and visitors (dates/times/names) that interact with group
  • Daily pass/fail health check records for program participants/staff/volunteers/visitors
  • Registration/employment data that includes contact information for all group program participants, staff, volunteers, and visitors

Program Participant/Staff/Volunteer Exclusion Records: Written records will be kept by program administrative staff regarding any program participants/volunteers/staff who go home sick/have symptoms of illness – and how this situation is addressed.

3 — Exclusion from Programs (for Sick or COVID-19 Exposed Persons)

  • Staff/volunteers should not come to work and parents/guardians should not bring children to programs if they (or anyone in their household) have recently had an illness with fever or a new cough.
  • If a child becomes ill while at a program, the child will be separated from the group and a parent/guardian will be contacted for an immediate pick up. While waiting for a sick child pick up, staff will stay with the child in an area isolated from others. Staff will wear a face covering and remain as far away as safely possible from the child (preferably at least six feet), while remaining in the same room/area.
  • If any staff, volunteer, or program participant answers yes to Question 1 in the daily health screening they must watch for COVID-19 symptoms. They are are not required, but may choose to, quarantine after their exposure. If they do develop symptoms, they must follow the protocol below.
  • If any staff, volunteer, or program participant answers yes to Question 2 on the daily health check, they will be excluded from programs and must quarantine for a minimum of 5 days after onset of symptoms plus 24 hours after both fever and cough resolve, without the use of a fever reducing medication. If they get a negative COVID-19 test before the quarantine is up, and they are symptom-free for 24 hours without medication, they can return. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, they must quarantine for at least 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow this quarantine by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter. They can return to programs after their quarantine if they are symptom-free for 24 hours without medication.
  • For someone who only has a fever (without a cough or difficulty breathing), if that person is checked by a medical professional and is cleared, they can return to the program following the documented directions of the medical professional and if they are fever-free for at least 24 hours without medication.
  • If an individual is advised by a medical professional that they can return to a program (e.g. is diagnosed with something else) they can return to the program. Documentation is required and individual must be fever-free for 24 hours without medication.
  • Any staff, volunteer, or program participant who has a cough that is not a new onset cough (e.g. asthma, allergies, etc.) will not be excluded from programs. Staff/volunteers should have on record with Nearby Nature information about existing conditions that cause coughing. Parents/guardians must share information about existing conditions that cause coughing for program participants on their registration forms.
  • Note: the symptoms of illnesses that would normally show up during non-COVID-19 times – such as vomiting, diarrhea, headache, pink eye, sore throat, or rash – may still occur. If staff members, volunteers, or program participants exhibit these symptoms, they will be sent home but may return to the program 24 hours after symptoms resolve (48 hours for vomiting or diarrhea) or with approval from a doctor or other medical professional.
  • In addition to Oregon laws prohibiting discrimination, Nearby Nature cannot refuse to enroll a child in a program based on the fact that they cannot wear a face covering or a belief that the child is more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 due to the child’s or parent’s occupation, race, ethnicity, geographic location, disability, or pre-existing health condition. If an enrolled child has particular health needs or susceptibility to disease, including COVID-19, Nearby Nature and the parent/guardian must develop a care plan for the child. Nearby Nature must ensure all staff members engaged with the child understand the plan.

Nearby Nature will verify the vaccination status of all of its vaccine-eligible staff and volunteers.

4 — Notification of Confirmed Cases of COVID-19

  • If any program participant, volunteer, staff member, or visitor is diagnosed with COVID-19, that person/family should immediately alert Nearby Nature administrative staff and refrain from returning to programs/work.
  • In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Nearby Nature, all children and staff in the group – and anyone who came in contact with the group – will be alerted regarding the exposure. Individuals and families may make a choice about whether or not to quarantine. All individuals who have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should watch for COVID-19 symptoms and follow the quarantine protocol above if they do develop symptoms. Nearby Nature will not disclose the identity of the diagnosed person due confidentiality requirements in Federal HIPAA law.
  • Nearby Nature will notify Lane County Public Health and the Oregon Office of Child Care (as appropriate) if anyone who has entered our site is diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Nearby Nature will consult with local public health authorities (as well as the Oregon Early Learning Division if appropriate) regarding facility sanitation and/or possible closure if there is a positive diagnosis that impacts our programs.

5 — Protocol for Cessation of Program Activities If Necessary

  • If staff/volunteer/program participant illness or local/state/national health authorities deem it necessary to close down any or all Nearby Nature programs, all impacted program participants will immediately be sent home and program activities will be discontinued until health authorities decide when and if it is safe to reopen. A prorated refund or credit for future programs will be offered if closure is unavoidable and permanent.

6 — Nearby Nature Designated COVID-19 Point of Contact:

Beth Stein, Executive Director, info@nearbynature.org, 541-687-9699

Nearby Nature Illness Prevention and Sanitation Protocols (IPSP)

1 — Illness Prevention Protocols

Program Groups:

  • Each program will consist of one group of no more than 10-12 children. This group will not regularly interact with program participants from other groups. Special shared areas (such as the Edible Schoolyard) will be used by only one group at a time. Although we will not regularly mix program groups for activities, groups may occasionally share a single large site space or participate in a group program activity, such as storytelling, together.
  • The number of staff/volunteers regularly interacting with each group will be reduced to the safest minimum number.
  • If a volunteer/guest or additional staff member visits a group to provide a program, service, or breaks for regular staff, they will wash their hands upon entering, practice physical distancing, and participate in a health check.

Hand-Washing:

  • Program participants will be encouraged to wash hands and use hand sanitizer frequently – especially before eating, after toileting, after wiping a nose/coughing/sneezing, and after sharing equipment.
  • Alcohol-based hand-sanitizer (60%+) may be substituted for soap and water washing if program participants do not have easy access to a sink (for example, when they are hiking or bike riding). Children must be supervised when using hand sanitizer.

Other Health and Safety Reminders:

  • Staff/volunteers will provide program participants with positive and age-appropriate verbal reminders about how they should cough into their elbow or a tissue, not touch their faces, not share food, and physical distance as much as possible.

Food Service:

  • Program participants and staff/volunteers will wash hands prior to eating. In circumstances where use of soap and water is not possible (for example when program participants are hiking or bike riding), using alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60%+) is acceptable.
  • Program participants will be instructed not to share food with other program participants.
  • Nearby Nature will not provide program participants with lunch food, but may occasionally provide a healthy snack or allow students to harvest and/or prepare vegetables and fruits from the Learnscape.
  • Onsite drinking fountains are turned off until further notice so program participants should always bring individual water bottles. Refill sinks are available onsite.

Physical Distancing:

  • Staff/volunteers will help program participants physical distance as much as possible by providing individual sit spots/marked table spots for eating and table work and limiting hand/body contact activities.

Equipment Sharing: 

  • Children will wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer when equipment is shared.

Face Coverings:

  • As of March 12. 2022, children at Nearby Nature programs are welcome, but no longer required, to wear face coverings indoors or outdoors.
  • If parents/guardians would like their children to wear face coverings, they should send a face covering with their child to their programs. Instructors and other program participants will kindly support any child who chooses to wear a face covering.  
  • Program participants wearing face coverings will be responsible for keeping track of and caring appropriately for their own face coverings. Nearby Nature recommends sending a second face covering in each such child’s backpack.
  • Program participants should not wear face coverings if they have a medical condition that makes it difficult for them to breathe with a face covering on or if they have a condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering safely.
  • Note that face coverings will not be worn by anyone while eating, drinking, or when engaged in high energy or water activities where face covering wearing might be unsafe.

Important Facilities:

  • All program sites will have access to bathrooms, handwashing stations/sinks, tissues, paper towels, and garbage cans.
  • Use of indoor spaces (such as the yurt in the Learnscape) will be limited and will be used mainly during inclement weather and only for small groups. If indoor spaces are used, windows and/or doors will remain open for ventilation to the extent logistically possible.
  • If indoor space is used, only staff assigned to a group may be in the space with the following exceptions: additional adults outside of the group may provide staff breaks, specialized services, or service to the space that cannot take place outside of program hours.

2 — Sanitation Protocols

  • Frequently touched surfaces (door handles, sink handles, tables, etc.) and bathrooms will be sanitized (with a product approved as a disinfectant for COVID-19) at the end of each program day.
  • Disposable gloves (or resusables when not around a sick person or bodily fluids) will be worn when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
  • Items that cannot easily be washed or sanitized will not be minimized at programs.
  • Sanitizing supplies and hand sanitizer will be used safely, applied correctly, and stored out of reach of children.