*Updated 6/16/2021*

Guidelines Subject to Change

The safety of our volunteers, hosts, and partners is our most important concern. We have established the following safety precautions and hygiene practices that we are asking all volunteers to follow to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  We also encourage everyone to get vaccinated if you are able to and eligible.  Please also abide by all state and local regulations.


GENERAL:

  • While Volunteer Vacations are operating with additional safety precautions in place, there are still inherent risks associated with travel and gathering in small groups outside of your household. Individuals must make their own decision using their best judgment and risk tolerance about whether to participate in a Volunteer Vacation.
  • Receiving one of the available COVID-19 vaccines will significantly reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus. If you are eligible and able, we strongly encourage you to receive one of the available COVID-19 vaccines prior to your trip. Find a location to receive the vaccine by visiting vaccines.gov.
  • All trip participants must provide their own health and accident insurance; in case of injury or illness while on their trip. Please consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance to cover you in the event that you are no longer able to participate in your scheduled trip. Trip cancellation insurance protects you against financial loss if you must cancel a trip because of illness or injury to yourself, a family member, or traveling companion.
  • In addition to AHS’ guidelines, volunteers will also be required to abide by all local and state COVID-19 travel and group regulations and any additional safety requirements as required by individual hosts. This may include requiring a negative COVID test, quarantine before and after arrival, be fully vaccinated, or other requirements upon entering that state.
  • AHS or any of its partners can neither be held responsible for potential transmission of nor exposure to COVID-19 on the trip and during travel to and from the trip.

BEFORE THE TRIP:

  • Asses your current health and potential exposure to COVID-19:
    • People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. If you have any of these symptoms may have COVID-19 and we ask that you contact us and remain at home.
    • Do not travel or participate in a volunteer vacation if you are sick with or tested positive for COVID-19, were recently exposed (within 14 days) to someone with COVID-19 (even if you don’t have symptoms), or just don’t feel well (see symptoms above).
  • Travel to and from the trip:
    • We encourage travel with as few stops along the way as possible.
    • If airport shuttles are provided on the trip (not all of them are, please check your trip details), abide by the following CDC rideshare guidance:
      • Wear a mask over your notes and mouth at all times
      • Spread out throughout the vehicle and practice physical distancing from those outside your household as much as possible, understanding that you may be within 6 feet of other passengers due to space constraints
      • Improve ventilation by opening windows and setting the air ventilation and air conditioning on non-recirculation mode
      • Avoid touching surfaces and use hand sanitizer after touching door frame, handles, windows and other vehicle parts
      • Refrain from eating or drinking in a rideshare vehicle to ensure mask use at all times. Plan to eat and drink outside of the vehicle when you are not near other people.
    • Practice social distancing, mask-wearing, and proper personal hygiene (hand washing) for your entire trip. Whenever possible along the way, eat outside, in the car, or in the hotel room.

DURING THE TRIP:

  • Carry and wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth at all times while indoors and whenever outdoors and social distancing from those outside your household (6 feet minimum distance) cannot be achieved. This applies to any crowded and/or enclosed spaces such as shelters, lodges, kitchens, bathhouses, picnic shelters, shuttles, crowded campsites, etc.
    • Those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may have loosened restrictions compared to those who are not. All participants are required to abide by local, state, land manager, and host agency regulations. Some hosts will still require masks worn at all times indoors and when social distancing is not possible outdoors regardless of vaccination status. Everyone will still be required to wear a mask on the shuttle, plane, and any forms of public transportation while traveling.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before you eat, after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Crew Leaders and Hosts will coordinate the following cleaning and sanitation schedule:
  • Clean AND disinfect (with wipes and/or spray) all frequently-touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
  • Use detergent or soap-and-water first then use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
  • Practice and encourage social distancing- remain 6 feet apart from anyone not in your household:
    • Stay 6 feet apart on the trail, indoors, and in camp
    • Limit close contact with others outside your household in indoor and outdoor spaces. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you—or they—have no symptoms. 
    • If you are not able to maintain 6 feet of space between yourself and another person outside of your household, wear a mask (even if outdoors).
    • Camp in separate tents spaced out by at least 6 feet
  • Meals/Food Sharing:
    • People should take turns in the kitchen preparing meals and cleaning up after meals, limiting the number of people gathered inside at one time.  Everyone should be wearing masks while preparing/distributing food.
    • No personal food, utensils or water bottles should be shared.
    • All need to eat at least 6 feet away from anyone who is not a member of their household.
  • Tool Sanitation:
    • Gear and tools should only be used by one person throughout the week and cleaned and disinfected daily.
    • Volunteers must bring their own work gloves and PPE and should not share with others. 

MANAGING SUSPECTED COVID-19 ON THE TRIP:

  • AHS will provide 1 no-touch thermometer to each trip. Participants must leave the trip immediately if their temperature is higher than 100. AHS strongly urges that the individual seek immediate medical attention at the nearest facility, rather than traveling home and risking infecting others along the way.
  • Those exhibiting symptoms of illness will also need to leave the trip immediately. AHS strongly urges that the individual seek immediate medical attention at the nearest facility, rather than traveling home and risking infecting others along the way.
  • AHS cannot provide evacuation services. For cases where a volunteer is ill with suspected COVID-19 and incapacitated such that they cannot get themselves to a medical facility, an ambulance will be called immediately.
  • Anyone with a fever or exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19 must quarantine themselves (stay completely away from anyone who is not a member of their household and stay away from any surface touched by others) while they are preparing to leave.