Deer Hill Expeditions Coronavirus Updates

This page is updated as new information becomes available.


In preparation for our season, we’ve spent countless hours working with local and national organizations, as well as consulting with industry leaders to ensure our risk management protocols meet and exceed industry standards. Safety is a primary concern at Deer Hill and we have continually developed and improved our risk management practices over 36 years of operation, Covid-19 is no different. In response to Covid-19, Deer Hill Expeditions has established and implemented protective measures to stop the spread of communicative disease on all of our programs. The proactive steps we are taking are aimed at protecting all of our participants, staff, and the communities where we travel.

We are so grateful for the support of the Deer Hill community during these times and look forward to the new opportunities that lie ahead.

Covid-19 Policies & Protocols at Deer Hill

Program Information

Please review the following COVID-19 (CV19)  information in detail. To create an environment that allows Deer Hill Expeditions (DHE) to operate enriching and well-managed programs, we have myriad of updates to our normal operations based on guidance from the Association for Experiential Education (AEE), Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), along with industry leaders like the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), The Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC), and others.

These reinforced health and risk management practices have been designed with the health of our participants in mind. DHE is confident that our programs create impactful, enriching, experiential opportunities. Now more than ever, these experiences are poised to inspire the participants we serve, reconnect them with themselves, and their communities.

How You Can Help By Doing Your Part

Know Before You Go

DHE’s commitment to sound risk management practices have guided our operations for the past 36 years. The health and well being of our participants, our Native American partners, and DHE employees remains our highest priority.

DHE has a long history of operating in environments with risks. These inherent risks are critical to our mission “to empower the individual to create authentic connection to self and community through wilderness and service experiences”. CV19 is a new risk DHE is prepared to manage, and like the risks associated with river rafting and mountaineering, cannot be eliminated.

Potential Program Risks

Throughout the course of a DHE program, participants will be in close physical contact with each other, and with their Field Staff.

Even with the most intensive screening procedures, and program policies, there remains a potential of illnesses on DHE programs.  Communicative and other infectious diseases such as diarrhea, respiratory infections, and other serious conditions including CV19 may occur.

The wilderness areas that DHE operates in are very often remote. Communication and transport, while essential and efficient, can be challenging. Evacuations and definitive medical care may take time. 

Sound risk management practices and decision making in the best interest of DHE field staff and participants is the responsibility of DHE Field Staff. Appropriate environmental and activity-based risk management will hold precedence.

Conditional Program Operations

Up to date information regarding CV19 changes quickly. DHE is prepared to adjust and reevaluate operational procedures as new information and recommendations emerge. DHE will ultimately decide how and under what circumstances a DHE program will operate using the best information available.

Preparing for Your Program

Prior to the group’s arrival at DHE, each participant and field staff is expected to follow these guidelines to prevent the spread of CV19.

  1. Incubation: Please begin self-quarantine 7 days prior to your CV19 test date.
  2. Testing: Please complete a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) CV19 test 5 days prior to program start date. Contact DHE for testing support and guidance.
  3. Quarantine: Please continue to self-quarantine until your DHE program begins.
  4. Test Results: Please provide negative CV19 test results to DHE prior to traveling to DHE.
  5. CV19 Questionnaire: Complete the DHE CV19 Questionnaire form prior to traveling to DHE.
  6. CV19 Better Together Agreement: Please review, sign and return the CV19 Better Together Agreement prior to traveling to DHE.
  7. Daily Screening: Please be prepared to self-monitor for CV19 related symptoms by participating in Daily CV19 Screening.

* DHE administrators and interns will follow pre-program test protocol, and those in direct contact receive weekly CV19 testing.

Traveling to Your Program

  • Wash your hands! Often, with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially in public places.
  • Make every effort to keep six feet of distance from others.
  • Wear a face covering when in public places.
  • Carry and use sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer after entering public places.
  • Cough and sneeze outside, and into your arm, as opposed to your hand.
  • Avoid sit-down restaurants.

Important Considerations

Do not travel to DHE if you have CV19 related symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or a new loss of smell and taste. 

Do not travel to DHE if, in the last 10 days, you’ve had close contact with someone suspected or confirmed as having CV19, or if you suspect you could be a CV19 carrier.

For individuals at higher risk for severe illness from CV19 as defined by the CDC, please consider, in cooperation with your doctor if DHE is a good fit for you at this time. 

DHE has a flexible CV19 refund policy. We would be happy to work with you to understand these considerations. Contact DHE to learn more.

What We’re Doing to Minimize Risk on All Programs

Daily Health Checks

Participants and Field Staff are health screened immediately on arrival, and daily for the duration of the program. The screening process includes a one-on-one check-in with Field Staff to determine if they have any CV19 related symptoms, or if they have had any close contact with a CV19 carrier. If a DHE participant starts to experience symptoms, we will isolate the individual from the group and seek immediate medical consultation.

Face Masks

All participants and Field Staff must provide their own washable face mask. Buff’s are insufficient, and N95 masks are discouraged as they should be allocated for health care professionals and higher-risk individuals.

This does not mean that your student will have to wear a face mask at all times. We simply want them to bring a face mask that is most comfortable for them, so that they have one to wear when needed.

Expedition Procedures

Expedition procedures will remain in-line with traditional DHE programming with an added commitment to thorough sanitation and hygiene practices. This is only possible through the DHE pre-program requirements including isolation, testing, and quarantine as described above.

CV19 Symptoms or Exposure

If a participant experiences CV19 related symptoms, the individual will be isolated from the group as soon as possible. DHE Administrators will seek medical advice from the DHE Physician Advisor and follow our CV19 guidelines. This may include evacuation from the field. In the event of an individual, or group being removed from the field for CV19 concerns, it is unlikely they will return to their program due to the logistics and time required for CV19 testing and quarantine.

CV19 is a reportable condition under the DHE Colorado Child Care License.

Individual Tests Positive

If a participant tests positive for CV19, they must quarantine for 10 days from their last symptoms. This recommendation from the CDC prevents most individuals who test positive for CV19 from returning to their DHE program. In the event these criteria are met, DHE will return the participant to their program as soon as possible.

Participants Traveling By Plane

A CV19 positive participant to return home via plane will require a 10 day isolation without symptoms in accordance with CDC recommendations. DHE manages this quarantine period at our remote Basecamp facility. The additional costs, logistics, and support required is considered case-by-case.

Participants Traveling By Car

Participants testing positive for CV19 that are ineligible for reentering the group, will return home as soon as possible. Legal guardians or chaperones are required to pick-up participants in this case. In the event that a participant cannot be picked-up, DHE is equipped to transport CV19 positive participants home via DHE vehicle. 

Deer Hill’s Commitment

Since 1984, DHE has pioneered opportunities that allow young people the chance to be themselves. Participants develop authentic connection with their own true self, their community, and the greater world around them. Now, more than ever, reconnecting youth to their own experience is an opportunity to rise above the challenges of CV19, and offer opportunities to flourish in challenging times. With a reinforced approach to the security and comfort of the DHE participants, the DHE staff, and the communities we serve, Deer Hill is proud to continue to set high standards in risk management, and human development.


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