Program Protocols

COVID-19 Program Protocols

The Hurricane Island Outward Bound School is committed to responsibly provide programming in the age of COVID-19. See below for the practices we are implementing and the required adjusted behaviors that all participants and families need to be aware of. These adapted practices and requirements are designed with several goals in mind:

  • To keep participants and staff healthy.
  • To mitigate the spread of communicable disease as much as possible.
  • To keep our local community healthy.
  • To allow participants to experience an Outward Bound course with the same outcomes as they would have had before the pandemic.

Please review the details below and get in touch with us if you have any questions. 

This is an evolving situation, and our practices may change as we gain new information or as recommendations change, which may not be fully reflected in the details you find on this page. HIOBS will decide when and under what conditions any courses will operate using guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other state and federal requirements, as well as our safety protocols and best judgment.

For exact information on your course, please be in touch with your Course Advisor or email [email protected], and we'll be in touch!

HIOBS reserves the right to request any student to undergo COVID-19 testing (antigen or molecular) if they become symptomatic or have been deemed a close contact to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. While adults and guardians of minor students have the right to refuse testing, understand that refusal will result in that student’s dismissal from course.

Prior to Course Start

  • From 72 hours prior to the course until the course start, participants are to be COVID-19 symptom-free. Symptoms include fever over 100.3°F, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, and fatigue. Some people may have chills, a headache, a sore throat, or may lose their sense of smell or taste. If any of these symptoms appear, you must contact your Course Advisor immediately.
  • We highly recommend that ALL students take a rapid COVID-19 test (antigen or molecular) 24 hours prior to traveling to course start to ensure you are not COVID-19 positive. If a positive result is received, contact your Course Advisor immediately. We recommend purchasing Tuition Protection Plan, as a positive COVID-19 test upon arrival at your course will, in most cases, result in a removal from course and forfeiture of your tuition.
  • If you are traveling internationally or entering the US within two weeks of your course start, be sure to follow the guidelines outlined by the CDC: U.S. Citizens, U.S. Nationals, U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, and Immigrants: Travel to and from the United States
  • If a participant has had a positive test result for COVID-19 within 90 days of the first day of their course, we require a copy of the positive test result and a physician’s note documenting recovery. This documentation must be submitted by one week before the course starts.
  • Vaccinations: Starting January 1, 2022, all students on overnight, expedition-based courses will be required to be up-to-date on vaccinations for COVID-19 (this includes initial vaccine plus eligible boosters). If you are currently enrolled or thinking about enrolling on a HIOBS expedition, please check in with your course advisor for the most current information on our Covid-19 protocols. To inform HIOBS of your vaccination status, please email a copy of your vaccination record (including all three shots) to your course advisor no later than two weeks before your course start.
  • Acceptable Vaccines: If you are in the United States, HIOBS will accept all of the vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). As of today, the three approved vaccines are Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson. If you are outside of the United States, HIOBS will accept vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) with an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). As of today, the five approved vaccines are Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Sinopharm.


All participants should follow the CDC's best practices for limiting exposure to COVID-19 and protecting themselves and others for 10 days prior to the course start date.


Participants on courses may travel to/from their course by personal vehicle or commercial transportation. In either case, participants must comply as closely as possible with physical distancing and hygiene precautions while in transit to course start. We highly recommend the use of an N95 or KN95 (with NIOSH certification) during commercial travel or anywhere you will be in contact with the general public.

Please reference the CDC recommendations for Protecting Yourself When Using Transportation and Considerations for Travelers.

Please refer to What to Do If You Are Sick for more information on what the CDC recommends in case of having to leave course early due to COVID.

Course Start

  • All participants will have a COVID-19 rapid test (antigen or molecular) upon arrival on Day 1 of their course.
  • If any participant exhibits any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 illness at the start of the course and receives a positive result to the antigen test, a molecular (Nucleic Acid Amplification Test - NAAT) will be administered. If the molecular test affirms the positive antigen test result, the participant will be required to depart the course. 

During Course

  • For overnight and expedition courses, all participants will undergo antigen testing on Day 1 and Day 5 of their course. 

  • All participants will practice enhanced personal hygiene. Daily health checks and logs will be kept.

  • All participants will use enhanced hygiene practices for reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19, such as frequent hand washing, sanitizing, and regular symptom checks. Participants may be asked to wear approved personal protective equipment (including a KN95 or surgical mask) and must comply if requested to do so. If they are unwilling to use these practices, they will be removed from course, and no refund or course credit will be offered.

  • In the case of a participant exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms while on course, the participant will be isolated from the group and given a molecular/NAAT test. If the test results yield a positive result, the participant will be removed from the course. We recommend purchasing Tuition Protection Plan insurance to protect your tuition in case this happens.

Our Staff

All HIOBS instructional and support staff are required to be fully vaccinated and boosted.

While on course, they will be subjected to the same protocols as students. HIOBS Base Camps have a weekly antigen testing schedule, applicable to all staff members and base site volunteers.

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