Most recent substantive updates: February 10, 2021
Here at Apogee, we are eagerly looking forward to running our outdoor adventure programs again in the summer of 2021. We are confident that, in the absence of a significant global deterioration in the Covid-19 pandemic situation, we will have the necessary tools and protocols in place to responsibly run many, if not all, of our programs. As always, we will continue to put the well-being of our students and staff at the forefront of every programming decision we make.
Below is a list of questions and answers with regard to Apogee’s plans to operate in 2021. We’ve learned so much in the last year; and perhaps most importantly, we’ve been reminded of the need to remain nimble and responsibly adapt to the pandemic as circumstances warrant. As the summer landscape and challenges posed by Covid-19 are clarified in the coming months, we will continue to work with our risk management team, our medical adviser, the American Camp Association, and other state and federal health agencies to update and develop practical protocols to minimize risk to our students, staff, and the communities we travel through. We will continue to update the FAQ here as the virus situation evolves.
Have you changed your 2021 deposit terms and conditions due to the uncertainties caused by Covid-19?
Yes. Apogee has extended the $795 deposit refund date for any new* applicants from December 31, 2020 to April 1, 2021, with the exception of a $100 nonrefundable** application processing fee. Please see our updated Terms & Conditions for full details regarding refunds and withdrawals.
*Families who were enrolled in our cancelled 2020 season should refer to these cancellation-specific FAQs for more information.
**The full $795 deposit is refundable for all families who took advantage of our Early Bird Discount by signing up by December 6 (the nonrefundable fee does not apply to Early Bird families).
Do you expect trip availability to be similar to years past?
No. Because the majority of 2020 enrolled families have rolled their children’s applications to 2021, and because we have reduced the number of trips we plan to run in order to build back up responsibly, we anticipate trip availability to be limited in 2021. As of January 2021, a number of our 2021 trips are full or close to capacity.
Will Apogee students need to be tested for Covid-19 before joining an Apogee trip?
Almost certainly. Because our groups will interact as an individual cohort (see below regarding face coverings and physical distancing), we will likely require all students to present to Apogee proof of a negative, molecular/PCR Covid-19 test result before leaving home to join their program, even if they have been vaccinated. The exact time window that we ask for the test to be conducted will depend on the availability of testing in June of 2021, but will likely be between 48 and 72 hours before arrival. This requirement may vary from trip to trip based on the requirements of the jurisdictions to which we are traveling. We will also publish guidelines for students with respect to their actions in the days leading up to the trip (e.g., asking students to limit exposure opportunities, particularly several days before and after they have been tested) and plan to ask students to fill out a Covid-19 questionnaire detailing any possible exposure prior to the trip.
Will Apogee students need to wear a face covering or physically distance while on trip?
Due to the small size of Apogee groups, and given that each student will be tested or vaccinated prior to trip start and screened for symptoms upon arrival, we plan to have groups operate as an individual cohort. This means that, when the group is outdoors and away from others in the community, we are not likely to require that students and staff wear masks and physically distance from each other on trip. However, students and staff will likely be required to physically distance and wear masks when interacting with communities outside their Apogee group (working with a community service partner, exploring a town, going to the grocery store, etc.). Students may also be required to take additional precautions during activities that may present a higher risk of transmission (e.g., wearing masks while in vans).
What are accommodations likely to look like during the summer of 2021?
Accommodations will look a lot like they always have, with some modifications. When camping, we plan to limit tenting to two or three students per tent. We plan to require students to wear a mask when using campground bathrooms or any other public facilities. For indoor accommodations, we will have exclusive use* of our rooms and will require students to wear a mask in any common area open to any other guests.
*Note that on our Alps Explorer and Pyrenees Mountains & Coast trips, we occasionally stay in mountain huts where we do not have exclusive use of the rooms. We will work with the huts to come up with a policy to reduce the risk of virus spread as the season draws near.
Will your staff be tested or vaccinated for Covid-19?
Yes. While this may change depending on the state of the pandemic and to the extent practicable, we plan to require a pre-summer Covid-19 vaccination and also to test our staff regularly. Additionally, we will limit staff interaction between trips.
What happens if a student or staff-member tests positive for Covid-19 during an Apogee program?
We strongly feel that with the cooperation of our families ahead of time (with particular regard to pre-trip testing and minimizing exposure opportunities) and appropriate precautions in the field, the likelihood of a positive Covid-19 diagnosis occurring on trip is small. Nonetheless, it is possible a student or staff-member will receive a positive Covid-19 diagnosis during one of our programs.
Apogee is not a traditional camp and lacks the ability to isolate or quarantine positive and/or exposed students and staff on a campus. Depending on the circumstances, a confirmed diagnosis of Covid-19 during an Apogee program may result in the cancellation of the program. In such an event, Apogee staff will monitor and supervise affected students for a limited time period to allow parents sufficient time to either pick up their child or make other quarantine arrangements that are legal in the jurisdiction where the group is operating (for example, in California if the group is in Yosemite National Park when the diagnosis is confirmed).
One of the advantages to a program like ours, however, is the variety of programming we offer in different locations. Accordingly, the right solution for a positive Covid-19 diagnosis might look very different on, for example, a seven-day Maine Coast Junior trip than it would on a 20-day Northwest Explorer trip. We will only cancel a program after it has started if that is the only way to responsibly ensure the safety and health of our students and staff.
We will pro-rate any refunds associated with Apogee’s decision to cancel a trip before its conclusion for any reason, including a cancellation due to a Covid-19 diagnosis. Families are responsible for additional transportation, supervision, and medical expenses associated with a cancellation due to Covid-19; for that reason, we strongly encourage you to take out a trip insurance policy which provides coverage for similar expenses. We are providing this information ahead of time in the interest of full transparency. It bears repeating that we feel the chances of a Covid-19 diagnosis on any given trip are relatively small.
What if Apogee cancels a trip because of Covid-19?
We don’t anticipate the need to cancel any US-based or Latin American programming in 2021, and we remain hopeful we will be able to run our European programs. However, should we have to cancel a trip before it starts, we will offer enrolled families a full refund of program payments to date or a credit towards a 2021 or 2022 trip, at their choosing. If we have to cancel a trip because of Covid-19 or for any other reason after it has started, we will offer pro-rated refunds or credits.
How do I stay informed about your thoughts and decisions with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic?
We will be assessing and making programming decisions as circumstances warrant. We will do our best to keep our enrolled and prospective families informed in a timely manner through email and with regular updates to this webpage. If you are a prospective family and would like to be included on our email list, please reach out to us at email@example.com or at 207.725.7025.