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2020-2022 COVID Response Strategies

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The 2020-2021 strategies will continue through Fall 2021 (December 31st) and will be reexamined at the end of 2021.

The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School Program's responses to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions are detailed in our 2020-2021 Outdoor School Update Webinar Recordings and the COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). For information about how Friends of Outdoor School, the Gray Family Foundation, and the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School Program are supporting outdoor school during this time, please see our Partner Letter. If you have additional questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us at outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu.

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 and we will continue with them into Fall 2021 (December 31st).  They replaced 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 June 2021 following the release of the Oregon Department of Education update to Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework for the 2021-22 School Year, which included the unchanged COVID-19 Guidelines for outdoor school from January 2021.

A. Standard In-Person Outdoor School

Districts applying for or who have already applied for Measure 99 funding and scheduling/reserving a standard (in-person) outdoor school experience for 2020-2021.  

  • No further action is required at this time.
  • If COVID restrictions continue, 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 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 2022.

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 Resiliency Framework for the 2021-22 School Year 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.
  • The three consecutive day requirement will be waived (cumulative in-person programming must meet or exceed 18 hours) only if outdoor school restrictions impact cohort size and therefore, camp capacity.
  • 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.
  • COVID restrictions prohibit district from holding 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 2022, 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 the outdoor school; however, we hope they will help reduce the impact to students whose outdoor school programming is canceled 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

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