Skip to the content

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

2020-2021 COVID-19 FAQs

The following questions are those we received as part of our September 15, 2020 COVID-19 Outdoor School Statewide Update webinar. If your question isn't answered here, please don't hesitate to contact us at outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu or call Rita at (760) 735-8474. 

Not yet. We're still waiting for an Outdoor School guidance from the Governor's Office.

Dates for these and all other Outdoor School program trainings, workshops, and COVID-related events can be found here.

As written, Measure 99 permits the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program to fund each student for only one outdoor school experience.  

If our process is similar to the process implemented in 2019-2020, the strategy implemented is declared as part of the outdoor school reporting process.  And while the reports are submitted by the district or ESD and for all of the schools participating within their purview, the district or ESD must complete a report for each school, so the response strategy can differ for each school in the districts or ESD's purview.  If a single school implements multiple response strategies, please contact us at outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu, so that we can modify your report as necessary.

Yes. There is a lot of flexibility in how districts and providers want to make outdoor school happen. Outdoor school programming and content must still meet Measure 99 requirements, so please don't hesitate to contact us as outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu should you have questions regarding your COVID-modified CDL or in-person/non-residential programming.

The content and structure of outdoor school is defined by Measure 99 and providers and districts are accountable for holding to these requirements regardless of the format of outdoor school. The Outdoor School Advisory Committee recommends to the Extension Service Director the minimum number of hours required for an outdoor school program to be funded using Measure 99 funds.

Yes - but please contact us at outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu, as we'll need more information to make sure we process this change appropriately.

No. We've associated our existing thresholds with varying levels of CDL programming.  You can find our latest threshold values on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page for Applications and Reporting

Outdoor school programming can happen at anytime during the school year. As long as the programming meets Measure 99 requirements, we can fund it.

Seventh graders are eligible for all of these response strategies. If you have yet to apply, you'll see a place to include your count of 7th graders on the application form.

That is an option, but it would be up to the district to coordinate it.

You do not need to re-apply. Work orders for your spring application should be going out very soon. 

The lessons/activities put together to comprise a COVID response strategy outdoor school program must meet the requirements of the Measure 99 outdoor school legislation, AND it should include as much of the typical outdoor school character as possible.

For the zoom example specifically, the answer is no. We cannot share the OSU license.  However, the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program will do what we can to assist districts and providers in their quest to develop COVID-responsive outdoor school programming.  We strongly advise that all providers/sites and districts plan your programs thoroughly and in advance of your expenditures, contact the outdoor school program staff with an estimate of costs for which you plan to request reimbursement, so we might review and approve them.

Thanks for asking!  We're still working that one out ourselves!  We'll update this response when we have an answer, but it might be a while!

The following questions are those we received as part of our August 4, 2020 COVID-19 Outdoor School Update webinar. If your question isn't answered here, please don't hesitate to contact us at outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu or call Rita at (760) 735-8474. 

Yes.  In fact, we strongly encourage all interested districts to apply as soon as possible.  While the first consideration deadline for 2020-2021 applications was June 26, 2020, qualifying school districts, state sponsored charter schools, or ESDs can still apply for 2020-2021 Measure 99 funds until we determine that our funds are depleted. Please note that if your district was approved for 2019-2020 funds, you cannot access your 2020-2021 application until your 2019-2020 report has been submitted and approved. All applications and reports are submitted through our online system.

No.  As of August 4, 2020, the 2020-2021 applications submitted to date have not been approved.  We will approve these applications after we have received all 2019-2020 reports and have an accurate accounting for the funds expended in that year.  With the cooperation of the nine districts whose reports are outstanding, we hope to have all reports approved by the end of August 2020.  All 2020-2021 applications received by the first consideration deadline (June 26, 2020) will be approved for the amount requested.  All applications received after that date will be approved in order of receipt and as available funds permit.

Because there is so much uncertainty, we'll give our best hypothesis (until we know more). Because our number one priority is to make sure that every Oregon 5th or 6th grade student in every school district has some form of outdoor school, we don't want to see funding cuts have any impact on participation.  Realistically, though, there may be districts who have already decided that they will not attend a traditional/residential outdoor school in 2020-2021. We sincerely hope those districts will consider implementing a different type of outdoor school programming (at school, a local venue, etc.) and we hope to support them in their efforts. Because some of these non-traditional programs will likely to cost less, we'll see some budget savings that could help our reduced budget fund the same number of students as in previous years.  However, if we reach a point where our funding is insufficient to cover the programming applied for, we could reduce the length of the programs funded or reduce full funding for higher-cost programs. But at this point, based on our projections, we don't anticipate having to implement either of these actions.

The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program office team would be very surprised if the OHA doesn't issue some sort of guidance for the reopening of outdoor schools, specifically given the Governor's forwarding of those guidance documents to the Oregon Department of Education (ODE). The recommendations drafted by Friends of Outdoor School (with the assistance of a statewide network of supporters), combined with ODE's understanding of school districts and their operations, should produce a solid set of guidelines. However, if the OHA chooses to not release an outdoor school reopening guidance, the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program would place the responsibility for safe attendance of outdoor school at the district level.  Each district would decide upon the outdoor school format they feel is safe and prudent for their students.  Assuming all districts select outdoor school formats that meet state and federal COVID safety guidelines, OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program would do our best to support those districts in whatever programming format they feel is best.

If districts move to all remote programming, that's when the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program (with recommendations from our Advisory Committee) will consider modifications to our funding model, in particular, the definition of "outdoor school". While we know that traditional, residential outdoor school is extraordinarily important and transformational. We're willing to accept that some form of outdoor school is better than no outdoor school, so we accept that it might look different for a year, and we'll support other options for districts to pursue, including but not limited to the remote learning opportunities that we worked on last spring. And there's a lot more we can do if this is going to be the normal for this year. Given the potential for this change, if there are specific needs that you have, at the provider, site, or district level, to navigate these potential changes, please add your needs and ideas to our google document so we might be prepared to support your need. 

Because the Governor has not yet issued guidance regarding the reopening of outdoor schools, we strongly encourage all outdoor school stakeholders to provide us with your ideas and needs on the following spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15_HwklysHf8yIGMFopkcdikFwqDMrbHCaAA5v2Q0IU4/edit?usp=sharing

The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program thinks it's wise for districts and providers to plan for both on-site and distance learning outdoor school experiences. While there's still a chance of traditional outdoor school programming at some point in the 2020-2021 academic year, some families might still choose to keep their students at home. Districts and providers who are creating alternative outdoor school experiences, as well as our Outdoor School program team, are going to have to be very innovative and really think outside the box on how we're going to reach every student. Please use the link in the question above to let us how we can help and support you in developing these innovative programs. The outdoor school community can share a lot of the resources that were created this past spring, and we're all going to need to be incredibly flexible and creative in what we develop for this coming academic year. We're certain this is something that the community is able to do and do well, particularly with the pending guidance.

If you are considering modified outdoor school programming (e.g., virtual programming), we recommend that you start by visiting our Modified Programming for 2020-2021 page, which provides information about program implementation logistics and instruction/pedagogy.

The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program website has outdoor school resources for use by formal and non-formal educators at standard, in-person outdoor school experiences, and we gathered and created resources for use by formal and non-formal educators and parents (in English and Spanish) during and after the COVID-19 spring 2020 school closures.  We've also started gathering outdoor school resources created districts and providers across Oregon (with a form at the bottom for contributing your materials), and finally, we've begun collecting resources for parents and educators related to Social Justice.  We intend to continue to add to each of those collections. In addition, Friends of Outdoor School is also gathering resources through their provider/site network. Please join the Friends of Outdoor School google group (linked through their COVID resources web page) where you can share ideas, information, and resources: https://www.friendsofoutdoorschool.org/spring-2020-ods-updates. There's all sorts of good stuff in this google group, so please join and contribute.

We don't actually know that, and won't until the legislature passes the next biennium budget (by June 30, 2021). The biennium funding process will begin in January-February 2021, and it's going to be a challenging fiscal biennium for Oregon. The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program is hoping that outdoor school will be fully funded again, which is why it's critically important that we do all that we can to shift to modified programming; to do everything we can to assure every 5th or 6th grade student has some sort of outdoor school experience. To demonstrate that, even during these trying times, we're doing the work and giving students tranformative outdoor school experiences. We need to be optimistic and we need to continue tell our story and why outdoor school is important.

We could also share examples from this group (the folks on this call - the entire outdoor school network) to show legislators that we're leaders; stepping up in difficult times.  That we're one of the state resources that really deserves continued funding, so we can continue our work and be a model for other programs in the state.

We continue to encourage all districts to apply for funding now, and then it will be easy for us, after the guidance comes out, to make modifications to your application/work order to reflect a program that will meet the district's needs and keep their students safe. In addition, following receipt of an outdoor school reopening guidance from the Governor's office, the Outdoor School program office will work to establish reasonable options for outdoor school and present these options to our Advisory Committee to receive their recommendations for temporary changes to the definition of outdoor school, as well as the outdoor school funding structure. Obviously, an in-person, three-consecutive-day experience will not work for those districts that implement remote only learning, so we need to make these modifications and make them very clear to our districts and providers. 

Absolutely! Please work with the Outdoor School program team when you have this sort of question/request moving forward. As more districts move to a distance or virtual learning platform for outdoor school, then those types of costs would be necessary to deliver that type of programing. Again, we'll be seeking recommendations from our Advisory Committee to clear a path to issuing funding for that type of expenditure (outside of our current norm).

Providers are welcome to use the Cost Model Report. Some aspects will be helpful, but some may require a fair amount of modification. Our hope is to generate a document specific to providers, so if you have ideas for how we could modify this model, please don't hesitate to let us know.

2019-2020 COVID-19 FAQs

The following questions are those we've received to date regarding our COVID-19 Response Strategy letter (dated March 13, 2020 and updated March 26, 2020 and May 14, 2020). If your question isn't answered here, please don't hesitate to contact us at outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu or call Rita at (760) 735-8474. 

Yes.  This deposit payment should be included in the District costs provided to the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program in the District's Outdoor School Report.

Districts should opt for the Response Strategy that most closely meets their needs. Outdoor school providers should work closely with their districts to settle upon a reimbursement/payment "as contracted" or an "up to 60% of original per-student fees" (if the "as contracted" payment is less than 60% of the original per-student fee") that includes at-home activity support or instruction - not as an equivalent or replacement of the 2019-2020 outdoor school experience - but as an alternative to keep your students enthused about the outdoors and their 2020-2021 outdoor school experience.

Districts have ultimate authority to decide on the needs of and what is best for their students.

Yes.  The purpose of the "up to 60%" reimbursement strategy is to encourage districts to work with providers to find a mutually agreeable solution on programming that will keep the provider's staff engaged, and give the district programming/lessons/supplies that can be used in lieu of the cancelled outdoor school experience.

Start up dates (the dates by which you will be ready to resume programming) can and should be communicated effectively and frequently by providers to districts. We understand that every program and district has different needs, which is why the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program cannot communicate a statewide message regarding when or how outdoor schools will restart.

The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program will reimburse districts per the terms of their contract/agreement with their provider.  So, if the provider's contract requires cancellation 30-days prior to attendance to reduce the originally estimated head count, and the district/school calls to reduce their head count two weeks prior to attendance (because of COVID-19 directives or just general lowered attendance per family concerns), then the provider should bill the district for the originally estimated head count (full head count), regardless of how many students attend. If the provider needs to change the originally contracted program, the provider will need to work with their contracted districts to come up with an alternate plan that works for both the district and the provider. We know there will be a lot of compromises and adaptations between districts and providers to get through this season, and we encourage this as much as it can fall in line with the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program's response strategy options.

As indicated in our Response Strategy Letter, providers can work with their contracted district to charge "UP TO 60%" of their originally invoiced price If they provide curriculum, lessons, kits, or run a day program at the schools in lieu of an overnight option. Providers should charge less if they are sending activities to the school rather than providing an at-school visit. The 60% provides the district, as well as the provider with room to work out the best solution for you both, understanding the district's needs and the resources or capabilities of the provider.

Yes, but these 7th graders will be the lowest priority for funding in 2020-2021 and will only be funded AS FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE.  If there are 5th graders who cannot attend outdoor school in 2019-2020 because of COVID-19 related cancellations, their funding (as 6th graders) will be prioritized in 2020-2021. Following Measure 99's intent will be our first priority, but remaining funding (if there is any) would be utilized for the 2020-2021 7th graders impacted as 6th graders by COVID-19 2019-2020 cancellations. We won’t know where we stand fiscally until all 2019-2020 reports and all 2020-2021 applications are complete. We know this is not ideal but we cannot over-commit the limited funds (or overall outdoor school capacity of the state) until we have the 2020-2021 5th and 6th grade attendance numbers and total available budget.

Yes.  If your 2020-2021 Application requests funds for 7th graders (only those for whom their 6th grade outdoor school experience was cancelled due to COVID-19), the outdoor school experience that the 7th graders receive must fall within the minimum of 3 consecutive days, and the maximum of 6 days, 5 nights.

Providers and districts expect parents to sign specific forms prior to their children participating in outdoor school. Can or will districts do this while school is closed? This is a question between providers and districts, so we encourage providers and districts to add this to your list of items requiring clear and frequent communication.

It’s very possible that high schools will no longer allow high school volunteers to participate in outdoor school this spring. Districts and providers might attempt to use parent chaperones, but we understand how difficult it can be to recruit working adults on such short notice.  If you are unable to recruit parent chaperones, you may not have enough supervision to actually run your outdoor school program. The OSU Outdoor School program understands this challenge, unfortunately, we really can’t predict what high schools will do, nor do we have the resources to support districts or providers in solving this problem.  If your program finds a unique solution, please contact us at outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu to let us know how it worked, and we can share your creative ideas with other districts/programs in need.

The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program can only ask that you make a decision that is best for your organization and we encourage you to work with your districts. District/providers would be guaranteed any cancelation rates as listed in your contract or up to 60% as negotiated with the district.

No.  That should be the goal, but there are many options the District and provider could work out that would be appropriate for reimbursement of up to 60% of the originally estimated costs.

Yes - but 2020-2021 funding is not guaranteed for those students who will be 7th graders in 2020-2021. The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program will prioritize funding to 2020-2021 5th and 6th grade students.  If, after funding the 2020-2021 5th and 6th grade students, funds remain, we will do what we can to fund (partially, or ideally fully) an outdoor school experience for those 7th grade students who were not able to attend outdoor school as 6th graders because of COVID-19 cancellations.

Yes.  Under Response Strategy 2, Districts can submit invoices for costs that are non-recoverable and included in our Budget Categories and Fiscal Policies document.

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!