COVID-19 Health and Safety Policies

 Updated 2-15-21

Summary of CDMP and IPSP

Nearby Nature Communicable Disease Management Plan (CDMP) 

The health and safety of our program participants, volunteers, and staff are Nearby Nature’s top priority during this challenging time. Nearby Nature staff, volunteers, parents/guardians, and program participants all have important roles to play in caring for each other. The following plan and protocols will explain how all can be involved.

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 CDMP will be shared with all staff (including new hires) 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 from program leaders.

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 2021 in-person youth programs:

  • Drop-off/Pick-Up: Parents/guardians should go directly to their child/children’s outdoor check-in station/s at drop-off and pick-up time. (These locations will be provided in a pre-program parent/guardian letter.) Parents/guardians will sign in/sign out each child on a written log each day. Sanitized writing implements will be available. (Note that drop-off/pick-up may take longer than it has in the past due to the addition of required health screenings, so we ask that parents/guardians be patient and plan accordingly.)
  • Face coverings: Parents/guardians should wear face coverings during drop-off/pick-up and adhere to marked physical distancing guidelines (for example, wait lines defined by cones, knotted ropes, flags, etc.). Disposable masks will be available for anyone who forgets to bring 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: Parents/guardians will be asked to answer a short set of health-related questions at program drop-off. Parents/guardians are encouraged to pre-screen at home. See Exclusion from Programs on pages 3-4 for an explanation of what will happen if someone answers yes any of these questions.
  • Have you or your child been exposed to a person with a positive case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days? If so, was the exposure during the time from two days before until 10 days after the person with COVID-19 started having symptoms? (This is the time they would have been infectious.) If the person with COVID-19 never had symptoms, use the time period of two days before the test was taken until 10 days after the infectious period.
  • Have you or your child been exposed to a person with a presumptive case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days? A “presumptive case” means the person was exposed to someone with COVID-19 and the presumptive individual showed symptoms in the past 10 days. If so, was the exposure during the time from two days before until 10 days after the person with presumptive COVID-19 started having symptoms? (This is the time they would have been infectious.)
  • Are you or your child experiencing a new loss of taste or smell, an unusual cough, shortness of breath, or fever? “Unusual cough” means something not normal for you (e.g., allergies, asthma).

Note: 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).

  • Temperature and Health Checks: Each child (as well as camp visitors) will be checked for a fever upon program arrival using a forehead thermometer, which will be sanitized after each use, or a touchless thermometer. Alternatively, staff may ask for verbal certification from the parent/guardian that their child does not have a fever. Any child/visitor with a temperature of over 100.4 F will not be admitted to their program. Any child/visitor with new loss of taste or smell, an unusual cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing (unrelated to ongoing conditions shared in advance) will also not be admitted to their program. In the absence of fever/respiratory symptoms, any child/visitor with any of the following symptoms will not be admitted to their program: chills or shaking, headache, sore throat, rash, vomiting, or diarrhea. (See Exclusion from Programs below for sick child procedures.) Staff members may self-screen and attest to their own health on a daily basis. Nearby Nature will keep a log of all temperature and health screening question checks.
  • Visiting Programs: Parents/guardians/visitors will only be allowed to visit programs for special occasions (such as theater productions) where physical distancing can be maintained or if there is a concern for the health and safety of a child. People may also visit the site one family at a time when children are not present. Visiting parents/guardians/visitors must wear face coverings, have a temperature/health check, and sanitize their hands when they enter the program site. Hand sanitizer will be provided. Parents/guardians will not be allowed to stay at programs with their child/children during normal program hours.

2 — Record Keeping and Contact Tracing

Daily Program Log: Nearby Nature will keep a written daily log for each program (stable group) that includes the information below. This information will support COVID-19 contact tracing by local health authorities (if necessary) and will be maintained for a minimum two years (for children) after the program ends.

  • 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 stable group
  • Daily pass/fail health check records for program participants/staff/volunteers/visitors
  • Registration/employment data that includes contact information for all stable 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 to be picked 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 either question 1 or 2 in the daily health screening (i.e they have been exposed to a person with a positive or presumptive case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days), they will be excluded from programs and must quarantine for 10 days. (Start counting 10 days from the last time they had contact with the person with the presumptive or positive COVID-19 case.) In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Nearby Nature, all children and staff in the stable cohort – and anyone who came in contact with the group – should not return to the program and should be informed about the need to quarantine at home for 10 days. The 10 day quarantine can be shortened to seven days if the person takes a COVID-19 test between days five and seven of the quarantine, AND the person is asymptomatic, AND the COVID-19 text comes back negative.
  • If any staff, volunteer, or program participant answers yes to question 3 on the daily health check (i.e. they have COVID-like symptoms), that person will be asked not to return to Nearby Nature programs for at least 10 days after illness onset, and be symptom-free for at least 24 hours without use of fever reducing medicine before they return. If they get a negative COVID test before the 10 days is up, and they are symptom-free for 24 hours without medication, they can return.
  • With regard to people who only have a fever (without a cough or difficulty breathing), if that person is checked by a medical professional and is cleared, they can remain in or 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 and given antibiotics) they can return to the program. Documentation is required and individual must be fever-free for 24 hours without medication.
  • 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. Nearby Nature should also be alerted about this diagnosis by Lane County Health. (See Notification below.)
  • Nearby Nature will report to Lane County Public Health (541-682-1380) any cluster of illness/COVID-19 symptoms among program staff or students.
  • 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 will 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 with stiff neck, pink eye, 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 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 engaged with the child understand the plan.

4 — Notification of Confirmed Cases of COVID-19

  • 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.
  • Families or individuals who have been on the site within the past 14 days will also be notified by Nearby Nature, in conjunction with the local health authority, if a program participant, volunteer, staff member, or visitor is confirmed to have COVID-19. Nearby Nature will not, however, disclose the identity of the diagnosed person due confidentiality requirements in Federal HIPAA law. All staff, program participants, and others exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will asked not to come to the program and informed about the need to quarantine.
  • If any program participant, volunteer, staff member, or visitor associated with Nearby Nature programs is officially diagnosed with COVID-19 by Lane County Public Health, Nearby Nature should be notified as part of their contact tracing process.
  • Nearby Nature will consult with local health authorities (as well as the Oregon Early Learning Division if appropriate) regarding facility cleaning 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.


Nearby Nature Illness Prevention and Sanitation Protocols (IPSP)

1 — Illness Prevention Protocols

Stable Groups:

  • Each program will consist of one “stable group” of no more than 10-children per adult (kids age 3-attending kindergarten) and 10-12 children per adult (kids attending kindergarten and older). This stable group will not interact with program participants from other stable groups on site, including during lunch and flex care time (if applicable). Physical barriers (flags/ropes/etc.) may be used to delineate separate spaces for each stable group. Special shared areas (such as the Edible Schoolyard) will be used by only one stable group at a time by prior agreement amongst staff and will be sanitized as needed after each stable group’s use. Stable groups must be kept apart and have at least 75 square feet per child.
  • Staff should practice physical distancing at all times with other adults in the stable group, as well as other staff who are not usually with their stable group, and with children from other stable groups.
  • The number of staff regularly interacting with each stable group will be reduced to the safest minimum number. Staff who interact with multiple stable groups will wear a face covering and wash/sanitize their hands between stable group interactions.
  • If a volunteer/guest or additional staff member visits a program to provide a necessary service or breaks for regular staff, they will sanitize their hands upon entering and exiting, practice physical distancing, wear a face covering, and participate in a temperature/health check.


  • Program participants will be encouraged to wash hands (with the 20 second rule emphasized by using fun songs) and use hand sanitizer frequently – always before/after eating, after toileting, after wiping a nose/coughing/sneezing, and after sharing equipment.
  • Alcohol-based hand-sanitizing products (60 to 95%) may be substituted for soap and water washing if program participants do not have easy access to a sink (for example, when they are out in the park on a hike or bike ride). Children must be supervised when using hand sanitizer

Health and Safety Reminders:

  • Staff/volunteers will provide program participants with positive and age-appropriate verbal reminders about how they should cough into their sleeves or a tissue, not touch their faces, wear their face coverings, not share food, and remain six feet apart as much as possible.
  • Age appropriate posters will be displayed around the site (when possible) to further remind staff/volunteers/ program participants to follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

Food Service:

  • Program participants and staff/volunteers will wash hands with soap and water prior to and after eating. In limited circumstances where use of soap and water is not possible (for example when program participants are out in the park or on a bike ride), using alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60-95%) is acceptable.
  • Program participants will be instructed not to share food with other program participants.
  • Nearby Nature will not provide program participants with daily snacks or lunch food, but may allow students to harvest and/or prepare food using vegetables and fruits from the Learnscape.
  • If food is harvested and/or prepared in the Learnscape, program participants will be provided with their own individual sanitized collection and food service containers and utensils.
  • Onsite drinking fountains will be turned off until further notice so program participants should always bring individual water bottles.

Physical Distancing:

  • Staff/volunteers will help program participants maintain physical distancing as much as possible by providing individual sit spot mats/marked table spots, using pool noodles for games, avoiding hand/body contact activities, limiting the sharing of equipment, using marked ropes, etc. Nearby Nature staff will work to make physical distancing a creative challenge, rather than a difficult limitation.

Equipment Sharing: 

  • Activities/games that minimize sharing of equipment/supplies will be prioritized. If sharing occurs, children must wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer at the end of the activity and prior to starting a new activity.
  • Use of shared sand and water tables and our outdoor sandbox will be discontinued as of Fall 2020 until further notice.
  • Individually-labeled sets of equipment/supplies – “Kid Kits” in plastic tubs (filled with art materials, sit spots, magnifiers, trail packs, special supplies, etc.) – will be provided for each child whenever possible. Materials in these Kid Kits will be sanitized and/or washed as necessary at the end of each program.
  • Supplies and equipment will be cleaned and sanitized between uses by a stable group as they become dirty, and at least daily.
  • If equipment must be shared between stable groups, it will be sanitized after each use by a stable group.
  • Staff/volunteers will help kids share equipment safely and creatively rather than focusing on the challenges of limited contact between program participants.

Face Coverings: 

  • Nearby Nature staff and volunteers will wear face coverings in accordance with guidance provided by the CDC and Oregon Health Authority (which currently requires such coverings). This will be most important when physical distancing is difficult or close contact with program participants (due to injury, a need for comfort, etc.) is unavoidable. Early during each program, staff/volunteers will safely demonstrate for program participants how their face coverings come on and off as needed in order to address concerns or fears that these coverings may inspire in some children. Nearby Nature will provide its staff and volunteers with face coverings.
  • Children ages five and up are required by the Oregon Health Authority to wear face coverings outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Children younger than five (and older than two) may wear a face covering if requested to do so by their parent/guardian, the face covering fits the child’s face measurements, and the child is able to remove the face covering themselves. As of Fall 2020, Nearby Nature is requesting that all children four and older wear face coverings at Nearby Nature programs.
  • Instructors will model appropriate face covering wearing themselves and will actively and kindly encourage face covering wearing by their program participants. Instructors will plan as many activities as possible that include physical distancing so breaks from face covering wearing can be included in each day for children that need them. Program participants will also be invited to let their instructors know if they need additional breaks from face covering wearing and appropriate activities will be provided. Instructors will supervise children to maintain physical distancing while face coverings are off, show children how to effectively wear face coverings, and guide children to re-engage in safely wearing face coverings when needed.
  • 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 or if they have a condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering, as documented by a doctor’s order. Face coverings will also not be required of staff or program participants while eating, drinking, or when engaged in high energy or water activities where face covering wearing might be unsafe. Program participants will be responsible for keeping track of and keeping on their own face coverings. Nearby Nature recommends sending a second face covering in each child’s backpack.
  • Staff, volunteers, and children should wash hands before putting on face coverings, after taking coverings off, and anytime coverings are touched. Hand-sanitizing products with 60-95% alcohol content may be used as an alternative to washing hands.
  • Face coverings should be washed daily or a new face covering worn daily. Disposable face coverings should be worn only once. If a face shield is used, it must be wiped down with disinfectant at the end of the day after use.
  • Face coverings must be changed after a daily health check if an adult has interacted with a sick child. If a face shield is used, it must always be sanitized after the daily health checks are completed.
  • Youth-sized face coverings will be available to families for a sliding scale donation at thanks to a generous local volunteer. Disposable face coverings are also available.
  • Note: In prior guidelines, cloth face coverings and face shield were considered equal in their ability to prevent the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. OHA, however, now recommends the use of face coverings because face shields are not as effective at limiting the release of aerosols that can go around the shield. They may be better for communication, however, with some children and thus are not prohibited.

Important Facilities:

  • All program sites will have access to bathrooms or Nearby-Nature-use-only porta potties, 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 stable group may be in the space with the following exceptions: additional adults outside of the stable group may provide staff breaks, specialized services, monitoring 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, shared supplies, etc.) will be sanitized multiple times per day as needed (with a product approved by EPA as a disinfectant for COVID-19), including at the end of each program day and between half day programs using the same facilities. Diluted household bleach solutions, when mixed daily and used according to Oregon Health Authority Guidelines, are also allowable when appropriate for the surface.
  • Bathrooms will be sanitized at the end of each day if only one stable group is using the facility (and more often if needed). If more than one stable group is sharing a bathroom, the facility will be sanitized between each group’s use.
  • Disposable gloves (or resusables when not around a sick person or bodily fluids) will be worn when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
  • Clothing must be changed after being soiled by bodily fluids.
  • Items that cannot easily be washed or sanitized (for example, soft or plush toys) will not be used at programs.
  • Sanitizing supplies and hand sanitizer will be used safely, applied correctly, and stored out of reach of children.