COVID-19 Response Plan
So many families are looking for a safe place for their children to connect socially in a structured outdoor environment. Discovery Wilderness School hopes to meet these needs by providing a safe place (physically, socially, and emotionally) for students to connect to nature and one another. As an outdoor program, students are able to naturally spread out and breath in fresh air. As in all things, there are inherent risks in gathering together in community. We have created a plan to minimize this risk while maximizing student emotional and educational outcomes.
This plan was developed in partnership between several local Nature-Based Outdoor Programs from across West Michigan. The leaders of these organizations partnered to create a plan regarding best practices for health and safety outdoors based on the MI Safe Schools Roadmap. The Roadmap is laid out with specific requirements and recommendations at each Phase of Michigan’s Safe Start Plan. In phases 1-3, in-person instruction would be cancelled. In phases 4-5, we would hold classes in person.
The plan includes daily health screenings, increased sanitation practices, small cohorts of students that do not intermingle, lessons and activities that naturally space children out more than group them up, staying outside as much as possible, and temporary shut-down in case of a positive COVID patient within our community. Instead of bringing handicrafts and wild-food processing inside, we will stay outside at all times for this school year except for restroom use and severe weather (in which case we will end the program early and call home for students to be picked up quickly.) We have also proposed the use of additional buildings in case of a severe weather emergency, so that less students would be sharing indoor space.
Our plan is presented as a DRAFT, because we are open to making changes based on parent feedback. We are waiting to have our plan approved by the locations where we teach our courses. Thank you for your dedication to outdoor education for all students.