COVID-19 Policies and Expectations (Updated August 2022)

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General COVID-19 Protocols

Our COVID-19 protocols adhere to the most up-to-date guidance from the Vermont Department of Health, theVermont Agency of Education, and City of Montpelier ordinances. Our protocols may change as guidelines evolve. For more information, please see the linked resources upon which we base our protocols at the bottom of this page.  As of August 19, 2022, general protocols include:

  • Masks are optional outdoors.
  • Masking indoors will be required when CDC COVID-19 Community levels are "High" in Washington County. Masking indoors will be optional when levels are "Medium" or "Low."
  • For overnight programs, participants and instructors will be required to take a rapid antigen test on the first day of the program.
  • All NBNC staff are required to have received COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Program participants on our overnight trips are also required to show proof of full immunization. 
  • NBNC will not solicit the vaccine status of participants in any of our other program areas.

See program-specific guidance below (Forest Preschool or other youth programs) that may differ from our general protocols.

Program-specific Protocols

(Updated 8/12/2022)
Recent changes are in Orange

At NBNC we believe that being outdoors in nature provides significant social, emotional, physical, and intellectual benefits for our children. Our educational programming practices a nature-based approach to learning that builds health, happiness, and resilience. During this pandemic, we provide a safe and nurturing environment where children can engage with their peers and the natural world. Our goal is to keep each other safe and healthy, and to remain open so your child can continue to be a part of our learning community.

Our safety committee evaluates and updates our policies and protocols regularly. These protocols may be updated over the course of the school year in accordance with the Vermont Agency of Education, the Vermont Department of Health, and City of Montpelier ordinances.

Forest Preschool’s COVID protocols and requirements are somewhat different than those for other NBNC programs.

Daily Health Screenings

We require that you perform a daily health screening before dropping your child off at Forest Preschool. This includes ensuring that they do not have any of the following symptoms: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or chronic runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

If Your Child is Sick

If your child has any of the symptoms listed above, they need to stay home. Please phone us to report your child absent. If your child – or anyone in your household – has tested positive for COVID, notify the FPS Director immediately. Here is the State of Vermont’s webpage on what to do if you test positive for COVID.

Children can return to an NBNC program once symptoms have improved and a negative COVID test (of a type approved by the CDC) is confirmed. Your child needs to be fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications before returning. Consult this page for guidance on masking, quarantining, and testing.

Masking

If you would like your child to wear a mask at school, and/or when it is required per our protocols, please send your child to NBNC each day with 5-6 extra masks. Any mask should fit snugly against the face and be comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Here are three masks we recommend for preschoolers: Outdoor Research cloth masks for outdoor use | KN95s in kids size for indoor use | Baggu Fabric Masks for Kids

Masking Requirements:

  • Masking indoors will be required for students, staff, parents, and caregivers  when CDC COVID-19 Community levels are "High" in Washington County. Masking indoors will be optional when levels are "Medium" or "Low."
  • Masking is optional outdoors.
  • When inside, masks may be removed for eating or drinking.
  • Masks that are wet/frozen or unable to stay on a child’s face will be changed out for a new, clean mask.
  • When indoors, windows will remain open with the air purifier running at all times.

If we are notified of a positive COVID case, either in a child or staff member, Forest Preschool may be closed on short notice. Families and teachers will be contacted immediately.

Parents and caregivers must sign NBNC’s COVID-19 Disclaimer.


More Information

For more information, please see the resource upon which we base our protocols:

For more about our philosophy around nature-based teaching and learning during COVID times, please see our position statements:

(Updated 3/14/2022)

At NBNC we believe that being outdoors in nature provides significant social, emotional, physical, and intellectual benefits for our children. Our educational programming practices a nature-based approach to learning that builds health, happiness, and resilience. During this pandemic, we provide a safe and nurturing environment where children can engage with their peers and the natural world. Our goal is to keep each other safe and healthy, and to remain open so your child can continue to be a part of our learning community.

Our safety committee evaluates and updates our policies and protocols regularly. These protocols may be updated over the course of the school year in accordance with the Vermont Agency of Education, the Vermont Department of Health, and City of Montpelier ordinances.

Daily Health Screenings

We require that you perform a daily health screening before dropping your child off at NBNC. This includes ensuring that they do not have any of the following symptoms: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or chronic runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

If Your Child is Sick

If your child has any of the symptoms listed above, they need to stay home. Please phone us to report your child absent. Children can return to an NBNC program once symptoms have improved and a negative COVID test (of a type approved by the CDC) is confirmed. Your child needs to be fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications before returning. Consult the following chart for guidance on masking, quarantining, and testing: VT Agency of Education flow chart for schoolsIf your child has tested positive for COVID, notify NBNC immediately.

Masking 

Please send your child to NBNC each day with 3-4 extra masks (2 extra masks for after-school programming). For outdoor time, masks with 2 or more layers of washable, breathable fabric, and which cover the nose and mouth are acceptable. Any mask should fit snugly against the face and be comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Here are three masks we recommend: Outdoor Research cloth masks for outdoor use | KN95s in kids size for indoor use | Baggu Fabric Masks for Kids

Masking requirements:

  • Masks are optional outdoors.
  • Masking indoors will be required when CDC COVID-19 Community levels are "High" in Washington County. Masking indoors will be optional when levels are "Medium" or "Low."
  • Masks that are wet/frozen or unable to stay on a child’s face will be changed out for a new, clean mask.

If we have been notified of a positive case, either in a child or staff member, the program may be closed on short notice. Families and teachers will be contacted immediately.

Parents and caregivers must sign NBNC's COVID-19 Disclaimer.


More Information

For more information, please see the resource upon which we base our protocols:

For more about our philosophy around nature-based teaching and learning during COVID times, please see our position statements:

North Branch Nature Center

713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
(802) 229-6206

Hours: Center Open Monday-Friday 9-4
Trails Open 24/7