To Our Students, Families, Program Partners and the Outward Bound Community,
As the coronavirus pandemic impacts the U.S. and the world, Outward Bound USA and our 11 regional Outward Bound Schools have faced what seem to be insurmountable challenges. Over the last few months, we have continually asked ourselves: how will we move forward in the face of adversity? With the utmost concern and respect for the well-being of our students, staff and our organization, we have made very difficult decisions.
In a joint decision with regional Outward Bound Schools across the U.S., the majority of our summer programming was cancelled. This included all Classic and Intercept courses with start dates through the end of August. Many regional Outward Bound schools have resumed limited custom programs and new virtual programming with some of our community education partners.
Currently, we are preparing to resume in-person expeditionary programming on September 8, 2020, as local conditions allow. We are offering Classic, Intercept, Semester, Pathfinder and Outdoor Educator expeditions to the many students who are looking for in-person, multi-day courses. As we have all learned over the course of the past five months, the severity of the COVID-19 outbreaks varies greatly by location. Each Outward Bound School made decisions regarding fall programming based on many factors including the status of COVID-19 in their region as well as their ability to secure resources to resume operations. We are excited to resume these in-person programs for those students who are ready to get back outdoors with Outward Bound.
Outward Bound USA will continue to assess the evolving situation and adapt and prepare for delivering our educational programs. We look forward to welcoming our fall students on Outward Bound programming and continuing to serving our communities.
Our summer 2021 schedule will be posted on September 3. Please continue to check with us as we plan for summer 2021. While we anticipate COVID-19 related challenges to persist into next year, we are hopeful that we will be able to resume programming at a larger scale.
To our Outward Bound Community—above all, know you are not alone. United, we are resilient together.
Josh Brankman Executive Director Outward Bound USA
August 27, 2020
Outward Bound USA Official Position - June 25, 2020
For the remainder of 2020, Outward Bound in the United States will offer limited programming that meets strict pandemic response requirements established by OBUSA in coordination with regional Outward Bound Schools and aligned with the regulations and public health guidance at local, state and federal levels.
In light of the numerous and significant challenges of managing the threat of COVID-19 to students, staff and our communities, Outward Bound summer programs have been significantly reduced.
This decision has unique implications for each regional Outward Bound School. We acknowledge and empathize with those shouldering the impacts and repercussions: our Schools, our staff, our communities and our organization as a whole. There have been reductions in operations and students served, community impact and further reductions in staff. We made this decision together, knowing it is the right thing to do and with the utmost regard for the safety and well-being of those affected.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic is the very definition of uncertainty in the face of significant challenge. While a great deal remains unknown about the virus itself and how communities across the country will continue to be impacted and respond, what is abundantly clear is that it has never been more important for Outward Bound to demonstrate leadership in assessing, mitigating and managing risk.
Outward Bound is ideally positioned with teaching locations in diverse and remote areas across the U.S. and a range of program types where the number of students, days in the field, types of activities can vary widely. With the guidance of Outward Bound USA Safety and Risk Committees, working in partnership with Outward Bound Schools, those courses, activities and locations that meet or exceed a risk management threshold will be offered.
International Programs & Future Course Cancellations
All international programs offered by Outward Bound in the United States are officially suspended through the end of 2020. This is due to the higher risks presented by international travel. While the landscape is changing daily, we are preparing to run fall courses in the U.S. Check back periodically for updates as we continue to re-evaluate.
If you are concerned about the possibility of future cancellations due to potential COVID-19 related travel restrictions, or if a COVID-19 illness is impacting your family, please know that we have updated our cancellation policy. We’ll be happy to explain it; please contact us at 866-467-7651.
Information for Staff and Supporters:
To our staff, we are humbled and inspired each day by your dedication and passion for the values and positive impacts of Outward Bound. With the changes to our programs this year, we recognize that there will likely be downsizing across the Outward Bound network. Each of our Schools has rushed to secure critical loans and funding to keep as many staff employed as possible. We are so grateful for each and every one of you who have given so much as a part of our organization.
Outward Bound is a community, and our community events are also impacted. Currently all gatherings and events are cancelled or postponed; many have been re-created as virtual, online events. This precaution includes all Staff, Alumni and Fundraising events, and is in alignment with CDC guidance.
In our workplaces, we have eliminated in-person meetings and non-essential travel in favor of online or teleconference meetings. We are following the guidelines set by local governments and school districts and requiring all employees to work from home.
COVID-19 is unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes. We will continue to monitor the situation and take proactive steps in support of the national and local efforts to slow the spread of this disease and to reduce the risk of significant impacts to our future students, our staff and our communities.
For reliable information on the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to the resources below:
The Outward Bound Community is resilient. We will continue to tap into our values, our strengths and lean on one another, with compassion, in the coming weeks and months. We will face this challenge as we teach our students to approach the unknown, with careful assessment, preparation, courage and commitment to the goal and to each other’s success. We are incredibly grateful for your understanding and support.
Please check this page for updates.
DONATE TO THE RECOVERY FUND
Today we need you, because tomorrow the world will need Outward Bound. Please help us raise critical operating dollars to ensure Outward Bound’s future in the United States.