Program Policies

Program policies are subject to change without notice. 
Updated: March 24, 2022

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COVID-19 POLICIES & PRECAUTIONS

Mount St. Helens Institute has implemented the following policies and precautions to ensure the safety of our employees, volunteers, program participants, and guests. These policies are continually evolving in alignment with federal, state, and county guidance.

If you have questions or concerns about Mount St. Helens Institute COVID-19 policies and precautions, please email us at info@mshinstitute.org

ALL PROGRAMS

  • Whenever possible, Mount St. Helens Institute events and programs will take place outdoors. When programs must occur indoors, there will be improved ventilation including open doors, windows and air filtration, where possible. 
     
  • MSHI employees will regularly clean and disinfect surfaces and encourage good hygiene. 
     
  • Face Masks. MSHI follows the CDC’s Community Level County Data guidance. In Low to Medium risk counties indoor masking will no longer be required for employees, volunteers or participants; social distancing will be encouraged. MSHI will follow the most conservative policy for any incoming youth groups or schools. Additionally, for youth programs and rental groups, MSHI and participants will follow guidelines from whichever county is the highest risk. Depending on the community transmission level, face masks may be required when traveling in MSHI vehicles. If MSHI will require face masks, we will notify participants in advance. 
     
  • Symptoms Screening. All employees, volunteers and program participants shall screen for COVID-19 symptoms prior to a MSHI program; this may include completing a medical form upon arrival. 
     
  • Employee Vaccination. As a Washington State youth service provider and US Forest Service contractor, the Mount St. Helens Institute is required to follow state and federal orders requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, unless exempted based on medical ground or seriously held religious beliefs. Employees with an exemption are required to quarantine for 72-hours prior to arrival and receive a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72-hours of the program start date.
  • Programs may be modified or canceled based on COVID policies, procedures, or staffing levels. 
     

OVERNIGHT GUIDED ADVENTURE, RENTAL & CAMP PROGRAMS

This includes Into the Crater, Base Camp Mount St. Helens, Family Adventure Camp, Sky & Star Party, Overnight Outdoor School, GeoGirls, and any overnight rentals.

Proof of Vaccination/Negative Test. All overnight guided adventure and camp program participants are required to 1) show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination at check-in or 2) quarantine for 72-hours prior to arrival and show proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered no more than 72-hours prior to the program start date. Children two years old and younger are exempt from this policy. If a program participant arrives without proof of vaccination or a negative test result, they will be unable to attend the program. MSHI is not responsible for costs associated with testing or with travel.

If a program participant arrives without proof of vaccination or a negative test result, they will be unable to attend the program. MSHI is not responsible for costs associated with testing or with travel.

  • Proof of Vaccination. Program participants are required to show proof of their vaccination at check-in. Please do not email MSHI this information. Acceptable proof of a COVID-19 vaccination includes a CDC vaccination card, a photocopy of the card or a photo of the card on a mobile device. MSHI strongly recommends a printed copy or ensuring that you can access the documentation without cell service or internet access. Cardholders must be at least two weeks past receiving their first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the second dose in a two-dose series vaccine (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna).
     
  • Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test.  Program participants who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered no more than 72-hours prior to a MSHI overnight/multi-day program at check-in. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is preferred. If appointments are unavailable, MSHI will accept a rapid antigen self-test, purchased from your local pharmacy. MSHI requires two negative rapid antigen test results, spaced 30-hours apart. A test result must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy).  The documentation must include: 1) test result, 2) type of test, 3) entity issuing the result, and 4) specimen collection date. MSHI strongly recommends a printed copy or ensuring that you can access the documentation without cell service or internet access. 

Lodging. When lodging is provided, sleeping arrangements will be such that there is a 6-foot physical distance from participants' heads.

OVERNIGHT VOLCANO OUTDOOR SCHOOL & YOUTH RENTAL PROGRAMS

  • Per Washington state guidance, all students and staff must: 1) be fully vaccinated; 2) or, receive a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to outdoor school site arrival and remain in quarantine between the test and start of outdoor school; 3) or, receive a negative rapid antigen test onsite at school before getting onto the bus on travel day to the outdoor school site. Here is additional information on rapid antigen testing in schools and resources to conduct rapid antigen testing.
     
  • If a program participant arrives without proof of vaccination or a negative test result, they will be unable to attend the program. MSHI is not responsible for costs associated with testing or with travel.
     

CANCELLATION & REFUND POLICIES

  • Mount St. Helens Institute reserves the right to cancel, postpone or change the venue, date and time of a program should unforeseen circumstances occur, such as severe weather, unhealthy air quality, or other circumstances. 
     
  • In the event that Mount St. Helens Institute must change the date and time of a program, MSHI will provide program participants with as much advance notice as possible. In the event that MSHI must cancel a scheduled program, participants will receive a full refund.
     
  • In the event that a program participant cancels their registration, the participant will be held to MSHI's program-specific cancellation policy below:
     
    • Guided Adventures, Volcano Naturalist, Base Camp, Summer Camps, & Family Programs
      Program participants will receive a full refund minus credit card processing fees when MSHI is notified of the cancellation 30 or more days prior to the start of the program. Refunds are issued to the original payment method. Refunds are not issued for cancellations received fewer than 30-days prior to the start of the program.
       
    • Volcano Outdoor School & Facility Rentals
      Mount St. Helens Institute will retain a non-refundable booking deposit in the event a Group cancels their program. Should a school/group schedule within 60-days of the program start date and not submit a booking deposit, and the Group cancels, the Group is still responsible for 50% of the program quote. Cancellations must be submitted in writing.
       
    • Online/Virtual Youth Programs 
      No refunds will be provided for a cancellation or no-show. Date exchanges require at least 24-hours advance notice by email (learn@mshinstitute.org).
       
  • In the event that a program participant has tested positive for COVID-19, please stay home and contact MSHI to cancel the registration and receive a refund. MSHI may ask for test results. For guided adventures contact explore@mshinstitute.org and for youth and rental programs contact learn@mshinstitute.org
     
  • If a program participant arrives at a program without proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result, they will be unable to attend the program.
     
  • Mount St. Helens Institute shall not be liable for any direct, or indirect, consequential or special costs (damages) that may be incurred due to a program cancellation or dismissal, including, but not limited to, airfare, hotel expenses, cancellation penalties and any other private expenses.
     
  • None of the following will result in a refund of any program fees: homesickness, change of family/school plans, dismissal from the program, inability to complete the program and/or personal schedule conflicts/changes.


PARTICIPATION POLICIES

  • Mount St. Helens Institute programs proceed in rain and unpleasant weather unless it compromises the safety of the group. Appropriate gear, clothing and footwear are very important for ensuring comfort.
     
  • Due to changing weather and terrain conditions and the pace/skill of a group’s program participants, Mount St. Helens Institute cannot and does not guarantee programs will be completed as advertised.
     
  • All program participants (or their parent/guardian) must complete and return a Participant Agreement & Information Form before the beginning of the program.
     
  • Program participants must abide by the rules and instructions given either verbally or in writing by the Mount St. Helens Institute or its designated employee(s). Violation of any of the following participation policies are grounds for dismissal.
     
    • Unlawful conduct is prohibited. Participants must abide by the rules and regulations of the US Forest Service.
       
    • Alcohol is not allowed during programs unless otherwise approved by MSHI.
       
    • Any and all illegal or recreational drugs including, but not limited to, cannabis are not allowed on federal land or during an MSHI program at any time, for any reason.
       
    • Smoking and vaping are not permitted during programs.
       
    • Weapons including, but not limited to, handguns, rifles, shotguns or other firearms; knives, butterfly knives, switchblade knives, daggers; martial arts weapons or implements; explosives; and stun guns or Taser devices, are prohibited. Possession or use of any weapon is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.
       
    • Inappropriate conversation or personal conduct; bullying, assault or inappropriate physical conduct; offensive behavior or remarks toward other participants or Mount St. Helens Institute employees and/or volunteers, including use of racial, religious or sexual slurs and/or intimidation are strictly prohibited.
       
    • Theft or vandalism is prohibited.
       
    • The majority of MSHI programs operate within a No Drone Zone. Please contact MSHI for more information.
       
  • Pets are prohibited on Mount St. Helens Institute programs. Service animals are permitted, in designated areas and/or as otherwise permitted by controlling law; please communicate with MSHI about your needs.
     
  • All program participants are responsible for their own health and accident insurance
     
  • Program participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the program site, unless otherwise provided by MSHI.
     
  • Mount St. Helens Institute shall not be held liable for any direct, or indirect, consequential or special costs (damages) that may be incurred due to a program cancellation or dismissal, including, but not limited to, airfare, hotel expenses, cancellation penalties and any other private expenses.
     
  • The Mount St. Helens Institute or US Forest Service and their employees and volunteers are not responsible for the storage, care, custody, or control of equipment, materials or furnishings owned by participants.