We continue to be grateful that our programs are run almost exclusively outdoors. While being outside significantly reduces transmission, we continue to follow national, provincial, and local guidelines to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The main guidance we are following is the Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 Guidance for Childcare Centres. These guidelines are updated and we will implement any required changes as needed.
What safety protocols will you have in place?
Each day, students, staff and anyone entering our program setting, will be required to take their temperature at home and submit an online self-screening survey. If their temperature is 37.8 degrees C or greater, students will not be allowed to come to class. There are also a series of questions you will need to answer no to, to be able to attend class.
Are students required to wear a mask?
Students are encouraged to wear a mask but are not required to wear one unless they are entering an enclosed space (such as a building, indoor bathroom, etc) OR if they need to be within 6’ of another student or staff member. Students are required to bring a face-covering to class.
Are students required to stay 6′ apart?
We are encouraging students to stay distanced at least 6’ apart, but not fully requiring it. There will be times when students and/or staff will likely need to be closer than that – helping students with gear, medical treatment, etc. In those times, we will ask students to wear a mask if they are not doing so already.
What happens if the program needs to shut down? Will you be providing online learning?
There is always the possibility that we may need to implement online learning in case of program cancellations. We are prepared to offer online programming in this event. We are planning to run in-person programs for the year and feel hopeful that we will be allowed to do so.
What other safety precautions are you taking?
Any items or surfaces used or frequently touched by children will be sanitized twice per day or as needed with an approved disinfectant with a DIN. Parents/guardians will be encouraged to label their child’s personal belongings (e.g. backpack, water bottle, lunch kit), and participants will be advised to keep their personal belongings in their own designated spot at least 2m from another participant’s spot. Sharing personal items such as clothing, snacks, water, sunscreen, etc, between participants and staff is prohibited. Frequent and proper hand-washing will be performed by participants and staff, especially after using the washroom, eating, and touching items used by others (e.g. field guides, carving tools, etc).
We will continue to keep a 4:1 or 5:1 ratio of participants to staff (8:1 for the teen program) and split into smaller groups during program to reduce contact with others.
What happens if someone starts to experience symptoms of COVID-19 during program?
Program participants who are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 will be sent home and referred for testing. Symptomatic participants will be separated from others in a supervised area until they can go home. Those who test negative for COVID-19 will be excluded from the program until 24 hours after symptom resolution (without symptom control medication such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc). Those who test positive for COVID-19 must be excluded from the program for 14 days after the onset of symptoms and clearance has been received from the local public health unit. Environmental cleaning/disinfection of the space and items used by the program will be conducted once the participant has been picked up. Items that cannot be cleaned and disinfected (e.g., paper, books) will be removed from the program and stored in a sealed container for a minimum of 7 days. Earth Path will contact Ottawa public health and follow their advice for the next steps to be taken for the health and safety of the entire program and communications will be made to all parents/guardians.
With all the procedures and protocols in place, I’m worried that my child wont have fun or the program wont be as enjoyable for my child.
We have done a lot of work to tailor our activities and games to allow for physical distancing, while still delivering maximum fun and learning and taking every reasonable precaution. We have run our summer camps with these procedures and protocols in place, and campers are still having a fantastic time playing, learning, growing and connecting to nature. The outdoors makes physical distancing easier, and Earth Path makes it fun.
What is your cancellation policy?
If you need to cancel your child’s enrolment in the program, we can issue a full refund minus a $100 administrative fee up until 3 weeks before the program start date. Between 3 weeks and 1 week before the program starts, we can issue a 50% refund. Regrettably, cancellations made later than 1 week before the program start date cannot be refunded. However, you may try to find another participant to fill your child’s spot.
If a program is canceled by Earth Path, full refunds minus a $25 emergency cancellation fee will be offered. If we cancel any in-person classes due to COVID-19, we will offer a 50% prorated refund per day missed to be assessed and credited/refunded at the end of session. For Nature School programs, we will offer online learning opportunities during any cancelation period.