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At First Descents, the health and safety of our participants is our top priority, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To ensure safe and effective program implementation, First Descents is working closely with an infectious disease specialist, nationwide healthcare partners, and local officials to confirm all program protocols. First Descents adheres to local and state health guidelines when developing programs. All programs require COVID-19 screening and adherence to program control measures, including masking, hand hygiene, social distancing and more. Additional information will be provided to you during the application process but please review our frequently asked questions below to learn more about our health and safety protocols for all healthcare worker programming.
With input from an infectious disease specialist and other experts, First Descents created a 40-page Communicable Disease Plan to ensure your well-being before, during, and after the program ends. If you’re interested in reviewing the entire CDP, please contact [email protected].
What happens when I arrive at a program? Is there a health screening?
Upon arrival at the program, all staff, volunteers, and participants will complete a health screening consisting of a temperature check and a COVID-19 symptoms screening.
Are COVID-19 vaccines required to attend a program?
Given the current rise in the Delta variant and First Descents' work with immunocompromised individuals and healthcare workers, FD strongly encourages all Parties (e.g. Participants, Staff, Visitors, and Volunteers) to obtain full vaccination against SARS-CoV-2. For the remainder of 2021, all Parties must submit proof of 1) full vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 or 2) submit proof of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours of the individual’s departure to an FD program. This policy is effective immediately.
In 2022, all Parties will be required to submit proof of full vaccination against SARS-CoV-2. FD can make accommodations for individuals that can provide proof of exemption. Those individuals will be required to submit proof of a negative PCR test or NAAT test in the timeline outlined above.
What are First Descents’ pre-program procedures?
Every participant will be required to sign our Pre-Program Health Agreement and complete a general medical application (consisting of background medical questions). Please review this document as it covers many of our screening and health safety measures: https://firstdescents.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Pre-Program-Health-Agreement-7.9.2020.pdf
What precautions will be taken at the lodge?
FD takes great care in the selection of lodges to host programs. Our team takes into account criteria such as hygiene, social distancing, ventilation, more individual rooms, activities/outfitters on site or close to the program site, and the use of personal protective equipment. Additionally, increased cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be followed on programs.
What will the sleeping arrangements be like?
FD will provide single-occupancy rooms at this time.
What are FD's protocols regarding face masks?
Cloth face coverings (at minimum) should be worn at all times, unless otherwise specified. Masks should fit the face well and should not be valved. People will be asked to bring their own masks to the program but FD will provide some as well. For more information on what is an appropriate face mask, review the CDC guidelines at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html
Should I provide my own face covering/mask?
Yes, participants are encouraged to bring their own face covering/cloth masks.
Will FD observe social distancing on programs?
Yes, FD will encourage social distancing (6 feet between each person and minimum of 36 square feet per person) while indoors. FD will observe social distancing at programs by: limiting group size, selecting venues with enough social distancing space, minimizing room/bathroom sharing, staggering scheduling, including arrivals, drop offs, transportation, meals, etc.
How many participants will attend a program? What is the group size?
FD refers to state and local guidance regarding capacity. FD will aim to limit group size to 10-15 individuals, not including staff.