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COVID-19 Response Strategy FAQs

OSU's Outdoor School program's COVID-19 Response Strategy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following questions are those we've received to date regarding our COVID-19 Response Strategy letter (dated March 13, 2020). If your question isn't answered here, please don't hesitate to contact us at 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 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.


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