Your Expedition Starts Now. The moment you decide to go Outward Bound you’re tasked with responsibilities that impact not only yourself, but also your crew. This includes taking the necessary precautions to mitigate risks, including those associated with COVID-19. 

Outward Bound is actively monitoring COVID-19 throughout our program areas, and the guidance issued from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health authorities. The wellbeing, health and safety of our students and staff is a top priority, and Outward Bound Schools are working diligently with local public health authorities and medical advisors to maintain recommended mitigation controls and procedures in alignment with current data and science. The risk of contracting COVID-19 prior to or while participating in an Outward Bound program can be reduced but not eliminated. As with all aspects of your Outward Bound course, our staff will teach you what you need to know to be active in mitigating risks.

Below are enhanced health and safety practices we ask of every student prior to arrival and while on course.


Outward Bound strongly recommends that all students be vaccinated against COVID-19 and up to date as defined by the CDC prior to arriving to their course start. For all open enrollment courses beginning on or after April 15, 2023, Outward Bound will no longer require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For questions regarding this policy please call us at 866-467-7651.


Regardless of vaccination status, all students should adhere to the following health practices prior to course start.

  • Practice physical distancing when outside your household
  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently
  • Avoid crowded places, especially indoors
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Follow current recommended guidance and requirements from the CDC regarding vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals
  • Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms

For some courses, regardless of vaccination status, students may be required to have a negative COVID-19 test prior to course start. Guidelines as to when these take place vary from School to School. Please check in with your Course Advisor for your COVID-19 testing requirements.


Do not travel to course if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, if you have been or presumed to have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or if you have tested positive for COVID-19. In these cases, please contact your Course Advisor immediately to work through your options.


Upon arriving at basecamp or your designated course start location, you may be required to take a COVID-19 test regardless of your vaccination status and be screened for symptoms.

The following field practices are designed to keep you and others healthy while on course and are to be followed until a crew can be deemed a “family unit.”

  • Maintaining as much physical distance as possible, especially when masks cannot be worn
  • Following current recommended guidance and requirements from the CDC regarding masking for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals
  • Possible distanced or individual sleeping arrangements
  • Enhanced hygiene practices, including: frequent hand washing or sanitizing, coughing and sneezing away from others, not sharing personal equipment like water bottles, and taking additional precautions when preparing and serving food

*Expeditions that are long enough for a group that has been away from other people, has tested negative for COVID-19 after an incubation period and has experienced no symptoms of COVID-19 may become a “family unit." This relaxes some of the field practices and allows students to interact more “normally” in their group. They will resume physical distancing and mask wearing when in public spaces or around others outside the group. 


  • If a student begins to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms during a course regardless of their vaccination status, they will be isolated for testing and isolated while awaiting test results.
  • Upon receiving a negative test, and with the advice of a healthcare professional, the student may be able to return to the group.
  • If the student tests positive for COVID-19, they will remain isolated and required to leave the course. A parent (or family-appointed guardian) of minor students is required to take over their care, preferably within 24-hours, but no later than 48 hours.
  • If a student on an expedition has a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, Outward Bound will consult local public health authorities to determine whether to have other students in the same group quarantined, evacuated and/or tested.


Learn about how COVID-19 is impacting our courses and more.

           BROWSE FAQS



See how the Outward Bound community is responding to the COVID-19 crisis and inspiring bold futures through responsive programming across our system.

         LEARN MORE


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