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OMFS Memorandum of Understanding 

Covid-19 continues to present a risk in our community and while there is a lower-risk presented within an outdoor setting, it is important that we all take appropriate measures to ensure that we prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. 

Children/Staff/Volunteers who have, or live with someone who has, an immune-compromising condition or other medical complexity should discuss the safety of attending forest school/camp with their health care provider. 

 

The policies outlined in this document are meant to provide a safe environment for participants, their families, and staff/volunteers while staying as true to our values and quality of programming at OMFS as possible. 

This Memorandum of Understanding must be signed by all families, staff and volunteers before participating in our programs. Please read it in its entirety. 

Please note: This is a living document that will be updated as the COVID-19 situation changes. The most up-to-date version of this document can be found on the Parent Portal: www.oromedonteforestschool.ca/current-families

Last updated June 2022

 

OMFS COVID-19 Specific Policies

The following policies are temporary in nature and are designed to keep children, staff and volunteers safe during this current pandemic. Some of these policies will take the place of others contained in the OMFS Parent Handbook. Please ensure that this content is read carefully.

1. Health & Safety Policies Related to COVID-19

OMFS staff and families will work together to ensure that the policies listed below are followed. It is our collective duty to create a community of trust, and to mitigate risk where possible. 

1.1 Screening For COVID-19

  • Families/Staff/Volunteers will be asked to complete an online Covid Screening each day, prior to arrival, and either show this to an Educator (families) or record that it was completed (staff/volunteers) upon arrival
  • All families will be greeted by an OMFS staff to ensure the completion of the online screening. If the online screening was not completed this must be done on site, prior to accessing the OMFS program
  • Screening must be done by an adult who spent time with the child/ren prior to attendance at OMFS (ie. a parent or guardian, not by a person who has picked a child up in a carpool)
  • The answers to your screening will be recorded and kept on file
  • Any staff, volunteer, or child who does not pass the screening will not be able to attend forest school/camp until the isolation period or adequate testing is complete
  • No child, parent, volunteer or staff will be permitted to visit the Cedar Grove or the inside of the chalet during program hours until this screening has been completed

1.2 Mask Use

  • All children, staff, and volunteers are strongly encouraged to wear masks when inside (unless eating) 
  • Mask use in the outdoor environment is optional but OMFS remains a mask friendly environment
  • Children, staff and volunteers may opt to wear a mask outside, at any point during the forest school/camp day
  • Any individual exhibing Covid-19 symptoms will be asked to put on a mask
  • Masking may be required based on your answers to the provincial screening (eg. if a family member is positive for covid -19, travel)
  • All children must bring at least 2 labelled masks to forest school/camp each day and be comfortable with their proper use
  • Masks will be worn by all individuals preparing, and serving campfire cooking food

1.3 Hand Washing & Hand Sanitizing

  • Hand washing and/or hand sanitizing will always occur before and after eating, after washroom use, and upon arrival to Cedar Grove in the morning
  • Hand washing may be required in other situations, at the educators’ discretion
  • Hand washing stations are available both in Cedar Grove (during warmer months), in the forest, and in the chalet
  • Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content is provided by OMFS and is used after all meals, when using the washroom in the forest, upon arrival at Forest School/Camp and at other times as educators see fit
  • Please do not send hand sanitizer with children
  • Children should bring their own small hand towel for handwashing in the forest and at Cedar Grove
  • Proper hand washing techniques will be taught in a child friendly way and reviewed regularly

1.4 Tool & Surface Sanitizing

  • Tools used by children will be disinfected at the discretion of the educators on site
  • The Horseshoe Resort chalet is cleaned according to their COVID-19 cleaning protocols and OMFS staff will arrange increased cleaning if the indoor space is used
  • Please do not send tools or toys to forest school/camp with your child. They will not be permitted to use them and will create unnecessary weight in their pack

1.5 Indoor Space

  • Meals will be eaten outdoors whenever possible to avoid time indoors
  • Time spent indoors will be limited to severe weather and for warming up during cold weather

1.6 Campfire Cooking & Food

  • Campfire cooking is available when prepared with clean/sanitized hands and by individuals who are masked during preparation and delivery
  • Children are recommended to bring their own mugs, utensils and dishes for any campfire cooking.
  • As always, children are taught that food is not to be shared at forest school/camp
  • Please ensure that your children are able to open and close their own food containers and packages. Educators will be available to help, with sanitized hands, as required.

1.7 Gear and Labelling

  • Please be certain your child arrives prepared for their forest school/camp day with extra clothing items suitable for the season
  • Please refer to the section of the Parent Handbook for details on how to dress for forest school/camp
  • All of your child’s items MUST be labelled clearly.  Any unlabelled items not with your child’s pack or in their cubby will be put into the lost and found

 

2. Group Sizes

  • Group sizes will not exceed 24 children in any group on a given day
  • Groups may travel to the forest in smaller groups of 8-12 children for their daily adventures

 

3. Program Closures

  • Programs may be cancelled without notice if staff shortages occur
  • Programs may be cancelled without notice if SMDHU or the Province of Ontario deems that the site be closed
  • Program cancellation can happen prior to or during a day’s programming
  • In the event that program cancellation occurs during the day, families will be notified and asked to pick their children up immediately

 

4. COVID-19 Refund Policy

  • Refunds will not be issued for illness as per the OMFS refund policy
  • Refunds will be issued if the program requires closure due to a requirement from the SMDHU or the Province of Ontario
  • Any required closure of programs due to COVID-19 will be refunded based on days missed, noting that partial day closures will not be refunded
  • All registration fees and deposits paid for forest school are non-refundable
  • Deposits may be refunded or credited if the program cannot commence as scheduled and the entire duration of a session must be cancelled
  • The refund policy regarding illness and inclement weather cancellations remains unchanged, refunds are not available for these missed days

 

5.  Management of Suspected Cases & Exclusion Protocol 

  • Children/staff/volunteers displaying symptoms of COVID-19 at forest school/camp will put on a mask and safely isolate from the group, with an educator (for children), and must be picked up or depart immediately
  • Childrens temperatures may be taken if exhibiting symptoms
  • Positive individuals will not be permitted to return until the Ministry of Health isolation guidelines indicate. 
  • If staff : children ratios are changed due to staff needing to leave, based on symptoms, families may be required to pick up children


6. Responsibilities 

6.1 Family Responsibilities

  • Provide at least 2 clean, multi-layered masks for your child each forest school day
  • Teach your child how to use masks (covering their nose and mouth, and hold by the ear loops or ties), and provide them a safe place to store them when not in use
  • Teach your child proper handwashing techniques and hygiene strategies such as sneezing into their elbow, washing hands after touching their face, and using a tissue to wipe their nose
  • Ensure that you complete a Covid Screen of your child before forest school/camp
  • Agree to not send a child who is unwell to Forest School
  • Provide your child with a small hand towel to be kept in their backpack
  • Read and sign this Memorandum of Understanding prior to the start of the program and following any required changes
  • Communicate with OMFS if you have any concerns, if you think you or a family member may have had COVID-19 exposure, or regarding any travel your family has taken

6.2 OMFS Responsibilities

  • Ensure an Active Covid Screen of all participants, staff and volunteers upon arrival to forest school/camp each day
  • Ensure all staff and volunteers read, sign, and adhere to the Memorandum of Understanding when facilitating or attending any OMFS program
  • Provide ample hand washing and hand sanitizing opportunities for children and staff as described in the content above
  • Sanitize all tools and provocations as required
  • Teach children about maintaining their personal space, mask use, and hand hygiene in a forest school/camp environment
  • Ensure all staff are trained in and adhere to the COVID-19 policies
  • Communicate with families any changes to the above written policies
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Parent(s) or court-appointed legal guardian(s) must sign for any participating minor (those under 18 years of age) and agree that they and the minor are subject to all the terms of this document, as set forth above.
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By checking here, you are consenting to the use of your electronic signature in lieu of an original signature on paper. You have the right to request that you sign a paper copy instead. By checking here, you are waiving that right. After consent, you may, upon written request to us, obtain a paper copy of an electronic record. No fee will be charged for such copy and no special hardware or software is required to view it. Your agreement to use an electronic signature with us for any documents will continue until such time as you notify us in writing that you no longer wish to use an electronic signature. There is no penalty for withdrawing your consent. You should always make sure that we have a current email address in order to contact you regarding any changes, if necessary.


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