Wilderness Awareness School and COVID-19

Updated Aug 20, 2021

Our number one priority is the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. We will update this page regularly with new policy updates, guidelines, and FAQs. 

Safety of our Programs – All Outside, Low Ratios, and Small Groups

We are fortunate that the structure of our programs provides ideal conditions for gathering in groups during Covid – all outside, in small groups for much of the day, in large areas, etc. We have also lowered our student to teacher ratio in order to continue to provide excellent experiences for our students and to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep students and staff safe. For ages 4-6, we will provide a 7:1 student to teacher ratio (previously 8:1). For ages 7 and older, we will provide a 10:1 student to teacher ratio (previously 11:1). For adults, we will provide a maximum 10:1 student to teacher ratio. As a non-profit organization, we are thankful to our generous community of donors whose support enables us to offer our programs at a lower ratio.

Health Checks

We ask all participants to check their temperature on the morning of class and to stay home if they have signs or symptoms of Covid including, but not limited to a temperature over 100.4F, shortness of breath, and a dry cough. Please see the following Dept. of Health Guidelines for an updated list of symptoms and screening questions you will be required to answer.  

Face Coverings

As we have throughout the pandemic, we have been closely following the specific guidance for all of our respective programs. For our youth programs, we are required to follow the WA Dept. of Health Childcare and Day Camps Guidance. As of Aug 20, 2021, we are requiring masks at all of our youth programs for staff, students, and volunteers. This applies regardless of vaccination status. For adult programs, there are times when masks are required and times when they are not. They are fully required for all adults when in school vehicles and indoors. When in “crowded, outdoor spaces” we will require masks. If we are in smaller groups outdoors and able to distance, face coverings are not required.

Tuition and Refund Policy

Our standard refund policy applies to all programs. If you are affected by Covid-19 and are unable to attend, see below section: Covid Emergency Relief Fund. 

See our full refund policy here.

COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

Thanks to the continued generous contributions from our community, we are offering a relief fund for those who have a specific Covid-related situation that develops (recent job loss, recent illness, etc.) and causes financial hardship. This will be available throughout the year. A simple application is required to apply for relief funds. We have currently allocated $15,000 for this fund for the 2020-21 school year. You can fill out an application here.


School Year Youth Programs

Updated August 20, 2021

Department of Health Guidelines

We have adjusted our safety policies and procedures based on the WA DOH Child Care and Summer Camp Guidelines, and have been safely running programs during the pandemic since June 2020. With programs running exclusively outside with low student-to-instructor ratios, they are very low risk for transmitting the virus.

Transportation

Starting in the Fall of 2021, we will once again be transporting students in school vehicles. For our weekly programs, we are providing transportation from the town of Duvall to our 40-acre campus – a 15-minute drive – as well as the occasional field trip. For Wild Within, this will be for our away trips when we are not on our campus. All students and staff will be required to wear a face covering while in school vehicles, regardless of vaccination status.

Overnights at Program

Wild Within will return to being run as an overnight program for the 2021-22 School Year. That being said, there are additional precautions that we will need to take to meet Covid protocols. Staff and students will either need to be fully vaccinated OR test negative prior to each weekend. We will also follow additional guidance as it is required. We strongly encourage all staff and students who are eligible to get vaccinated. Due to the added complexity, other weekly youth programs will only run overnights if the pandemic restrictions are dropped. We will continue to assess conditions and requirements as the year progresses.

School Year Frequently Asked Questions

What added safety protocols will you have in place?
Each day, students will be required to take their temperature at home. If it’s above 100.4 degrees F, students will not be allowed to come to class. There are also a series of questions in the DOH Guidelines you will need to answer to be able to attend class. We have an updated check in process to minimize risks as well. We are also following the required guidelines around cohorting students, so depending on the overall class size, not all students will intermix with one another.

Are students and staff required to wear a mask?
Due to the increase in Covid transmission in King County and across the state, we will be requiring masks for all staff, students, and volunteers at Fall programs, regardless of vaccination status. We will continue to evaluate mask wearing based on local Covid rates and may choose to adjust this policy throughout the year.

Are your staff required to be vaccinated?
On Aug 18, Gov. Inslee made the announcement that all childcare providers, which our youth programs fall under, are required to be fully vaccinated, or qualify for a medical or religious exemption, by Oct 18th. We will be following this policy.

What is your refund policy?
Before the start date, if a program is canceled by WAS, full refunds will be offered. If you cancel before the start of the program, you get a refund for any payments in excess of 25% of course tuition. See our full Registration Policy.


Summer Camps

Updated Aug 20, 2021

Department of Health Guidelines

We have adjusted our safety policies and procedures based on the WA DOH Child Care and Summer Camp Guidelines, and have been safely running programs since June 2020. With programs running exclusively outside with low student-to-instructor ratios, our programs are very low risk for transmitting COVID-19.

Overnight Camps

Overnight programs are now allowed in Washington state. Unfortunately that guidance came out in late Spring of 2021 – far too late for us to plan and enroll our extensive overnight program offerings. We look forward to running overnight camps in the summer of 2022.

Summer Frequently Asked Questions

What added safety protocols will you have in place?
Each day, students will be required to take their temperature at home. If it’s above 100.4 degrees F, students will not be allowed to come to class. There are also a series of questions you will need to answer to be able to attend class. We have an updated check in process to minimize risks as well.

Are students and staff required to wear a mask and social distance?
As of Aug 23, 2021 and due to the increase in Covid transmission in King County and across the state, we will be requiring masks for all staff, students, and volunteers at Fall programs, regardless of vaccination status. We will continue to evaluate mask wearing based on local Covid rates and may choose to adjust this policy throughout the year.

Will the school still be providing transportation?
At this time, the only program that is providing transportation is our Extended Day Camps. We will transport students from the town of Duvall to our 40-acre campus. To minimize risk, students will be transported in sub-groups. Staff and students will be masked and we will increase ventilation by having the windows down.

Are your staff required to be vaccinated?
We are strongly encouraging all of our staff to be fully vaccinated, but are not requiring it to be employed with us at this time. There is a vaccine requirement that will go into effect as of Oct 18, 2021, but that will not affect our summer camps

What is your refund policy?
Before the start date, if a program is canceled by WAS, full refunds will be offered. See our full Registration Policy.

Thanks to the continued generous contributions from our community, we are offering a relief fund for those who have a specific Covid-related situation that develops (recent job loss, recent illness, etc.) and causes financial hardship. This will be available throughout the year. A simple application is required to apply for relief funds. We have currently allocated $15,000 for this fund for the 2020-21 school year. You can fill out an application here.

Wilderness Awareness School