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COVID-19 Health and Safety Policies

Updated 6-19-23

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. All Nearby Nature staff and adult volunteers are vaccinated against COVID-19. Program participants who are eligible are encouraged to get vaccinated as well. People who are up to date with vaccinations are less likely to develop severe COVID-19 infection or transmit COVID-19 to others. You can find information about getting vaccines in Lane County (as well as info about testing and other resources) here. Information about Lane County’s current COVID-19 hospital admissions can be found here. Many recommendations about how to limit the spread of COVID-19 are now based on these levels, so this is a good place to check in regarding how to best protect your family’s health.

Nearby Nature’s staff, volunteers, parents/guardians, and program participants all have important roles to play in keeping each other safe from COVID-19 infections and other communicable diseases. 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 program participant families and will be revised as needed by Nearby Nature administrative staff. This plan is available in hard copy upon request as well as on our website. Current policies are based on a variety of recommendations from local/state/national health authorities (see end of policies for specifics).


Nearby Nature Ongoing COVID-19 Screening and Exclusion Policies

1 —Health Screening and Safety Protocols

The following 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/directions will be provided in pre-program parent/guardian emails. Parents/guardians will sign in/sign out each child on a written log each day.
  • Face coverings: Face coverings are optional at Nearby Nature. 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/Staff/Volunteers: Parents/guardians are encouraged to self-screen for illness by using the following health-related questions before each program drop-off. Staff and volunteers will also self-screen on a daily basis. See Exclusion from Programs for an explanation of what should 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: You are a “close contact” if you were less than 6 feet away from someone with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. Someone with a “presumptive case” has had symptoms in the past 10 days. A person is considered “infectious” from two days before until ten days after their symptoms started (or from when they showed symptoms if they were never tested).
    2. Are you or your child experiencing any primary COVID-19 symptoms — a new loss of taste or smell, an unusual cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, or a fever (100.4°F or higher) and chills? “Unusual cough” means something not normal for you. Also, do you have any of the following symptoms of illness: headache, sore throat, rash, vomiting, pink eye, or diarrhea?

2 — Record Keeping

    • Daily Program Log: Nearby Nature will keep a written daily log for each program that includes the information below.
    • Child’s name
    • Drop-off/pick-up time
    • Adult’s signature at drop-off/pick-up
    • Adult emergency contact information
    • Registration/employment data that includes contact information for all group program participants, staff, volunteers, and visitors

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

  • 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 while remaining in the same room/area.
  • If any staff, volunteer, or program participant answers yes to Question 1 in the daily self-screening they must watch for COVID-19 symptoms and follow the appropriate protocols below if they become ill. They are not required, but may choose to, quarantine after their exposure.
  • If any staff, volunteer, or program participant answers yes to Question 2 on the daily health check and is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms and has not been tested for COVID-19, they should self-exclude from programs. Once they are fever-free for 24 hours and their symptoms are improving without fever reducing medication, they may return to programs. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, they may choose to but are not required to quarantine. Once they are fever-free for 24 hours without medication and their symptoms are improving/ they are asymptomatic, they may return to programs. Those who test positive should avoid contact with those who are at high risk for severe consequences if they are infected and must wear a mask when around others in the 10 days after they become sick to minimize the risk of infecting others.
  • If a sick individual is advised by a medical professional that they can return to a program (e.g. is diagnosed with something else besides COVID-19 that is not communicable) they can return to the program. The 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: Staff, volunteers, and program participants must also self-screen for symptoms of non-COVID-19 illnesses. If staff members, volunteers, or program participants exhibit symptoms of illnesses unrelated to COVID-19 while at Nearby Nature programs, such as vomiting, diarrhea, headache, pink eye, sore throat, or rash, 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.
  • Nearby Nature will verify the vaccination status of all of its vaccine-eligible staff and volunteers.
  • Note that refunds for program time missed are not available for children who are experiencing illnesses that prevent them from attending programs.

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, refrain from returning to programs/work, and follow appropriate illness protocols.
  • 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 protocols above if they develop symptoms. Nearby Nature will not disclose the identity of the diagnosed person due confidentiality requirements in Federal HIPAA law.

5 — Protocol for Cessation of Program Activities If Necessary

  • If a staff/volunteer/program participant illness or local/state/national health directives necessitate the closure of any or all Nearby Nature programs, all impacted program participants will be sent home and program activities will be discontinued until 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,, 541-687-9699

Nearby Nature Illness Prevention and Sanitation Protocols (IPSP)

1 — Illness Prevention Protocols

Program Groups Composition:

  • Each program group will consist of 10-12 children. More than one group may occasionally share a single large outdoor site space or participate in a group program activity.


  • Program participants will be encouraged to wash hands (for 20 seconds or more) 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 will 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 wash their hands frequently, cough into their elbow or a tissue, and not share food.

Food Service:

  • Program participants and staff/volunteers will wash hands prior to eating. In circumstances where use of soap and water washing 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 snacks or allow students to harvest and/or prepare vegetables and fruits from the Learnscape.
  • Program participants should always bring individual water bottles. Refill sinks are available onsite.

Face Coverings:

  • Children at Nearby Nature programs are welcome, but not 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.


  • 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.

2 — Sanitation Protocols

  • Frequently touched surfaces (door handles, sink handles, tables, etc.) and bathrooms will be disinfected 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.
  • Sanitizing supplies, disinfectants, and hand sanitizer will be used safely, applied correctly, and stored out of reach of children.

Key Policies and Documents Used to Develop June 2023 Policies

  • Lane County Health: Coronavirus (COVID-19):
  • CDC: About COVID-19:
  • Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Updates: