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2020-2021 OSU Outdoor School COVID-19 Information

2020-2021 COVID Response Strategies

Updated in January 2021

The following COVID Response Strategies were recommended by the Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service Outdoor School Advisory Committee, and approved by the OSU Extension Service Director and OSU's Legal Counsel for implementation in the 2020-2021 academic year.  They will replace the 2019-2020 COVID Response Strategies, which were implemented by the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program office in March 2020. As indicated above, these strategies were reviewed in January 2021 following the release of the Oregon Department of Education update to Ready Schools, Safe Learners, which includes COVID-19 Guidelines for outdoor school.

A. Standard In-Person Outdoor School (spring 2021)

Districts applying for or who have already applied for Measure 99 funding and scheduling/reserving a standard (in-person) outdoor school experience for the spring of 2021. NOTE: The current guidelines indicate that residential (overnight) outdoor school is not permitted at this time

  • No further action required at this time.
  • If COVID restrictions continue in the spring of 2021, the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program will honor any contractual agreements with sites and providers should COVID restrictions require cancellation or modification of in-person spring reservations.
  • The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program office will update the following COVID Response Strategies to match the state mandated and district selected programming being implemented in the spring of 2021.

B. In-Person (Non-Residential) Programming (Fall and Spring)

  • Districts/schools must meet statewide or local metrics as established in the Ready Schools, Safe Learners plan and work in conjunction with recommendations with their local public health authorities.
  • Programming must meet Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and community guidelines for safety, group size, face coverings, and lodging.
  • NO residential outdoor school programming will be permitted in the fall of 2020.
  • The three consecutive day requirement will be waived (cumulative in-person programming must meet or exceed 18 hours).
  • Programming should be implemented outdoors, as possible, which could include the school’s site/grounds or adjacent natural area or park if these locations meet state safety and health requirements.
  • Staff (District and Provider) and educators (at least one representative) will attend OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program’s social emotional learning (SEL) and COVID-19 safety training prior to implementing any programming.
  • Provider will implement the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program’s Special Education and Accessibility Self-Evaluation Tool (SEASET) following participation in introductory training.

C. Districts with Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) Programs

  • District does not meet the requirements listed in Plan A.
  • District chooses not to hold in-person outdoor school programming.
  • District is planning only Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL).
  • District will modify existing application plans and/or apply for modified programming.
  • Districts are encouraged to develop, or to work with outdoor school providers to develop CDL opportunities for students to engage in at-home or remote outdoor school programming.
  • OSU Extension Service Outdoor School Program will reimburse the district for site-, provider- or district-incurred costs for curriculum and activity development, and the curriculum/activity developed must meet Measure 99 guidelines.
  • OSU Extension Service Outdoor School Program will reimburse the district for CDL-related costs including the need to mail outdoor school activity-related packets or supplies to student’s homes, provider contracting fees, and outdoor school site/facility rental fees (for use in producing or implementing CDL lessons).
  • Staff (District and Provider) and educators (at least one representative) will attend OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program’s social emotional learning (SEL) and COVID-19 safety training prior to implementing any programming.
  • The three consecutive day requirement will be waived (cumulative CDL outdoor school programming must meet or exceed 18 hours).

D. Districts who CANCEL In-Person Programming (fall or spring)

  • If State, County, or District COVID-related restrictions change such that the scheduled/reserved outdoor school experience CANNOT be held in-person.
  • OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program will honor any contractual agreements with sites and providers should COVID restrictions require cancellation of fall reservations.

Districts are encouraged to:

  • Shift to Response Strategy A by rescheduling their outdoor school experience to the spring of 2021, or
  • Shift to Response Strategy B by contracting/securing in-person (but non-residential) outdoor school programming, or
  • Shift to Response Strategy C by developing, or working with outdoor school providers to develop CDL opportunities for students to engage in at-home or remote outdoor school programming.

If Response Strategy D Districts are not able to shift to Response Strategy A, B, or C, the Districts are encouraged to:

  • Direct the teachers of the eligible outdoor school students to utilize the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program’s weekly activity sets for in-class instruction or encourage their student’s families to utilize them for at home learning.
  • Recommend that one or more of their outdoor school staff (District and/or Provider) and educators attend the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program’s social emotional learning (SEL) and COVID-19 safety training prior to implementing any programming.

You can view and download the PDF of the 2020-2021 COVID-19 Response Strategies here.

We fully recognize these strategies are not perfect, nor will they replace the benefits of outdoor school; however, we hope they will help reduce the impact to students whose outdoor school programming is cancelled while helping ensure providers/sites and their staff are able to continue the important work of outdoor school long into the future. The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program is committed to doing all we can to help the outdoor school community continue to thrive in Oregon. We thank you for your support and commitment to Oregon students. For questions regarding these solutions, please check our website for continued updates or reach out to us via email at outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu. Please be patient as we are experiencing a large volume of emails. We will continue to do all we can to help each of you work toward a solution that works for your students and your providers/sites.

We encourage everyone to stay informed as the situation develops. For more information on COVID-19, please visit Oregon State University’s COVID-19 update web page and the Centers for Disease Control, where resources and fact sheets are available in multiple languages. We further recommend that you stay connected by subscribing to our email list on the bottom of our web page and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Our team wishes good health and wellness to all of you during this difficult time.            

Warmest Regards,

Kristopher M. Elliott, Ph.D.

Assistant Director, Extension Service-Outdoor School Program Leader

Oregon State University

Questions?

Please don't hesitate to contact us at outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu or 541-737-4391 if you have any questions about the Outdoor School Program!