The following Safety Management Plan has been adopted for operation of the 2022 course:
2022 WTC COVID-19 SAFETY MANAGEMENT PLAN
Vaccination: Vaccines are safe and effective and are the best way to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks that could jeopardize completion of the course for all students. Therefore, all WTC staff and students are expected to be vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. For students unable to take the vaccine, the student will be required to provide their group leader an approved PCR test taken at their own expense within 72 hours prior to each class or outing.
Symptom Self-Screening: All staff and students should screen themselves before each class and outing for symptoms. A standard checklist will be made available prior to the first class. If anyone has symptoms- COVID or otherwise, they must not attend class or outings. Students should not be concerned that missing a class or outing will foreclose meeting graduation requirements. In case of students missing class sessions or outings, efforts will be made to provide opportunities to make-up the experiential learning.
Face Masks: Face masks are e required at all times while indoors and in congregate settings when outdoors and participants are not able to social distance or requested to do so by WTC staff. Classroom lecturers will not be required to wear masks while speaking if they are at least 10 feet away from other individuals in the classroom. This plan may change based on guidance from public health authorities.
Eating or Drinking in Classrooms: To reduce mask removal while indoors, there will be no sustained eating or drinking in classrooms or auditoriums. Individual sips of water/beverage will be tolerated as long as the individuals comply with the spirit of the face mask protocol above.
Social Distancing: When possible, classrooms should be arranged to promote social distancing.
Bus Transportation: Face masks will be required while traveling by bus. At least two staff members from each group should accompany students on the bus. Group Leaders will encourage incremental staff to commute separately.
Sanitizing: Hand sanitizer and wipes will be available in each classroom. Staff and students will be encouraged to sanitize chairs and desks before using them.
Exposure Management Plan: WTC has adopted an Exposure Management Plan to provide detailed action steps in the event of a COVID-19 exposure during the course.
Noncompliance with this Safety Management Plan: In the case of student or staff noncompliance with these guidelines, Group Leaders shall inform the individual of their noncompliance and seek immediate compliance. Until such time as compliance is secured, the individual shall not participate in the WTC activity. In the event an individual is not allowed to participate in a WTC activity, the Group Leader shall alert the Area Chair and/or Vice Chair.
Notice of Potential Impacts: The course is subject to alteration, change, postponement, or cancellation based on public health considerations. Safety may dictate that in-person classes be transitioned to an online format. In the event of any alteration, change, postponement or cancellation prior to the first class, full refunds will be available. However, once the course starts, refunds are not possible. By enrolling in the course you agree to our refund policy.
Impact of COVID-19 on WTC 2021 Course
At its meeting on July 28, 2020, the WTC Management Committee unanimously voted to cancel the 2021 course. This was a difficult decision. However, safety has also been the guiding principle governing all of our activities. We determined that there were too many obstacles to offering the course in 2021.
Impact of COVID-19 on WTC 2020 Course
The COVID-19 global pandemic impacted the 2020 WTC course as follows:
- Snow Travel Day was cancelled in Orange County.
- Snow Camp was cancelled in San Gabriel Valley, West Los Angeles, and Orange County
- Final classes were conducted remotely in San Gabriel Valley, West Los Angeles, and Orange County.
- For those planning on going to snow camp, we provided notice of the availability of refunds for snow-camp related transportation costs.
- Only Long Beach/South Bay was able to complete all classroom sessions in person and all outings.
WTC management took these actions prior to issuance of statewide stay-at-home orders because the increase in community spread of COVID-19 in the Los Angeles metropolitan region made it impossible to conduct our course without creating undue risks to the health of our students and staff.
In connection with those outings that were cancelled, WTC has waived their completion as graduation requirement. We remain optimistic that there may be sufficient time for students to complete the required experience trips prior to graduation. However, should this not be possible, we will identify substitute activities to satisfy the requirement. It is our intent that COVID-19 not be a barrier to student graduation. It remains uncertain whether our graduation will be held in person or conducted virtually.
Some students have asked about the possibility of attending snow camp in 2021. Because we operate pursuant to a permit from Inyo National Forest, we are limited in the number of students we can bring to snow camp. Thus, participation in 2021 snow camp is not a realistic option for 2020 students. However, we have asked our group leaders to explore options for snow camping opportunities in our local mountains to be made available only to 2020 students. Should these be planned, your group leader will be in contact with you.
We appreciate the outpouring of support from our students when we were required to cancel snow camp. Their disappointment was transformed into care and understanding for their fellow students and staff. As the Sierra Club has noted, “in this frightening, uncertain moment, we must take care of ourselves and our beloved communities—so we are able to keep up the fight for the places and people we care about most deeply.” We all look forward to being able to return to the outdoor places we love so much. In the meantime, stay safe and stay at home.