Carpe Diem Education Fall 2020 COVID-19 Guidelines

As Carpe Diem Education resumes programming, we are developing health and safety protocols that will help to mitigate the risks of COVID-19, and to keep our students, leaders, and local partners healthy and well. It is essential that all participants be willing to follow these guidelines throughout the program. These protocols will be updated as more information becomes available, and more guidelines may be added. We believe that, with appropriate structures in place, we can support the health and well-being of our students and communities while still engaging in hands-on learning this fall.

These guidelines include recommendations from the CDC, WHO, fellow industry professionals, and trusted medical experts. We will also reference county health department announcements to ensure that we are in compliance with local guidelines.

Best Practices for Staying Healthy: Pre-Semester

Carpe Diem Education encourages all Fall 2020 Borderlands students to use excellent health and hygiene practices at all times. We expect all students to adhere to the following guidelines for 14 days prior to the program start date:

  • Maintain a 14-day health log that records any symptoms of illness (Carpe Diem will provide a template for you to complete).
  • Stay at home whenever possible and avoid non-essential travel/movement.
  • When out of the house, be vigilant with social/physical distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding crowded places such as stadiums, public buses, theme parks, etc.
  • Practice excellent hygiene, including washing hands frequently, sneezing/coughing into a tissue or the pit of your elbow, disinfecting counters, appliances, handrails, etc. at home, and sanitizing hands when touching public surfaces such as door handles, fuel pumps, handrails, public bathrooms, etc.).
  • Avoid making contact with people who are sick.
  • Students must be free of COVID-19 symptoms at the beginning of the program, and for the previous 72 hours prior to program start.
  • Students and families will read and sign Carpe Diem Education’s COVID-19 Policies and Expectations for Students, which outlines protocols, guidelines, and inherent risks of group travel specific to COVID-19. We will provide this one month prior to the program start date.
  • If possible, we encourage students to arrive at the start of the program by car. We acknowledge that many students will need to fly to Tucson. Students are expected to follow all best practices related to mitigating viral transmission while traveling, including frequent hand washing, wearing masks, and appropriate social distancing. When making your travel arrangements, consider airlines that are operating a reduced capacity so that social distancing is possible in-flight. 
    • Please note that there will not be a location for extended vehicle parking during the semester so if arriving by car, students should plan on being dropped off. 

Taking these precautions will reduce your chances of contracting COVID-19, and we ask that all participants adhere to these guidelines 2 weeks prior to the program start.

Best Practices for Staying Healthy: During Semester

We are excited to offer experientially-based programming this fall! Travel will look and feel different this semester and we want to give you as much information as possible to help you prepare. We will be requiring all students to follow these guidelines throughout the semester:

  • Students will be screened for COVID-19 upon arrival and before the group enters the vehicles. This will include taking temperature and a verbal check-in for symptoms. 
  • Students will be given clear guidelines for best practices to mitigate the risks of viral transmission. The group leaders will teach and demonstrate these practices during orientation, and this ethos will be an integral part of the group culture. These guidelines include, though are not limited to:
    • Enhanced hygiene and disinfection practices for food prep areas, common living spaces, restrooms, rental vehicles, camping gear, conservation tools, and any other shared equipment.
    • Handwashing and disinfecting surfaces multiple times per day.
    • Not sharing personal items such as water bottles, towels, clothes, etc.
    • Practicing good respiratory hygiene (coughing/sneezing into tissues or crooks of elbow)
    • Proper physical distancing from any person who is not part of the cohort. This includes:
      • Guest speakers, facilitators, and educators
      • Physical distancing while grocery shopping or pumping fuel
      • Physical distancing from other hikers during backpacking trips
      • Any other encounters with people outside of your group
    • Wearing masks whenever required by local authorities, partner organizations, and whenever it is deemed necessary by your group leaders.
  • Group leaders will take temperatures and monitor students for COVID-related symptoms daily.

Group Leaders: Training and Expectations

Our group leaders will be trained in the most up-to-date strategies for mitigating risks of COVID-19 transmission. They will both role-model and adhere to the same guidelines as our students, both before and during the program. They will receive comprehensive risk management protocols specific to there being a suspected or positive case of COVID-19 within the group, a clarified matrix of signs/symptoms that determines the need for medical evaluation, as well as appropriate response procedures/contingency plans.

COVID-19: Testing

At this time, Carpe Diem Education has not made a final decision as to whether or not we will require COVID-19 testing prior to, or at the start of programs. We will continue to monitor developments and will make the decision based on the best data at the time. We will notify families at least 1 month in advance if we determine that testing is required so that arrangements can be made with a medical professional. 

At that time we will also provide families with specific information about our protocol in the event that a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 while with Carpe Diem. 

We are grateful and excited to continue offering engaging, experientially-based learning for our students. We recognize our responsibility to all stakeholders and expect our students to be advocates and role-models for best practices related to the prevention of COVID-19. It is essential that all participants be ready and willing to follow and practice preventative measures in order to have a healthy, active, and engaged group, as well as supporting the well-being of the communities that we visit. Through our collective efforts, we can have an amazing journey this fall!

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Carpe Diem office at 503-285-1800.