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COVID-19 Health and Safety Policies

Updated 6-16-22

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. All Nearby Nature staff and volunteers are fully 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 risk level 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 caring for each other during this challenging time. The following plan and protocols explain how all can be involved with respect to COVID-19.

*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 these policies for specifics).

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.


Nearby Nature Ongoing COVID-19 Screening and Exclusion Policies

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/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 during drop-off/pick-up as of March 12, 2022. When the community COVID-19 risk level is Medium, however, we recommend that people at high risk for severe illness or who are unvaccinated wear masks for drop-off/pick-up. When the community COVID-19 risk level is high, we recommend that all wear masks for drop-off/pick-up. 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: 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. 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 and follow the appropriate protocols below if they become ill. They are not required, but may choose to, quarantine after their exposure. The CDC recommends that people who are not vaccinated (or who have not had COVID-19 in the past 90 days) quarantine for at least 5 days and also mask for 10 days.
  • If any staff, volunteer, or program participant answers yes to Question 2 on the daily health check, is experiencing at least two primary COVID-19 symptoms, and has not been tested for COVID-19, they will be excluded from programs and must quarantine for a minimum of 5 days after onset of symptoms. Once they are fever-free for 24 hours and their symptoms are improving without fever reducing medication, they may return to programs. If they get a negative COVID-19 test before the quarantine is up, they are fever-free for 24 hours without medication, and their symptoms are improving, they can return.
  • If any staff, volunteer, or program participant answers yes to Question 2 on the daily health check, and is experiencing only one primary COVID-19 symptom, this person must be fever free for 24 hours and their symptoms must be improving before returning to the program.
  • If someone tests positive for COVID-19, they must quarantine for at least 5 days. 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 must follow their quarantine by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others 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) 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.
  • Note that refunds for program time missed are not available for children who are required by health authorities to quarantine due to COVID-19.

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 quarantine 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 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 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 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:


Nearby Nature Illness Prevention and Sanitation Protocols (IPSP)

1 — Illness Prevention Protocols

Program Groups Composition:

  • Each program group will consist of no more than 10-12 children. Although we will not regularly mix program groups for activities, more than one group may occasionally share a single large outdoor site space or participate in a group program activity where interactions are limited, such as storytelling. Special shared areas in the Learnscape (such as the Edible Schoolyard or Nature’s Builders Playspace) will be used by only one group at a time. 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 limit their interactions with group members.


  • 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, 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 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 healthy snacks 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 encourage program participants to physical distance when eating or participating in table activities as well as by 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.


  • 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. Staff, volunteers, and programs participants will be encouraged to wear masks when spending time indoors, and required to do so when the local COVID-19 risk level is Medium or High.
  • 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 disinfected (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 be minimized at programs.
  • 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 2022 Policies