AMG Covid 19 Special Procedures for Course Delivery and
Climbing Instruction and Guiding
As we all look for ways to get outside, it’s important to do so in a responsible manner that promotes the health and safety of both participants, guides, and the general public. Since opening in 1994, Acadia Mountain Guides has been a leader in developing principles and methods to strengthen safety practices related to guiding. Now we are faced with COVID. To that end, we have established robust Covid-19 pandemic guidelines that exceed those recommended by the CDC, the state of Maine, the ACA, and professional guide associations yet remain very workable for employees and clients.
We are opening back up to the outside world… Currently, you may travel to Maine if you:
1. Are a resident of Maine, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or Vermont
2. Can show a (-) COVID test within 72 hours of arrival
3. Have completed a 14-day quarantine per Maine guidelines.
Those under 18 who are traveling with adults are exempt from the above requirements.
BELOW YOU WILL FIND OUR COVID PRACTICES FOR CLASSES
AND FOR CLIMBING INSTRUCTION AND GUIDING
COVID PRACTICES FOR CLASSES
- Daily temperature and symptom monitoring will be done and recorded by AMG following procedures below.
- Whenever possible, classroom sessions will be conducted outside.
- If the classroom is outside and physical distancing can be maintained, students have the option of removing face masks. If during class, physical distancing cannot be maintained then a mask must be worn.
- If the class is indoors, students will be seated physically distanced (unless from the same household) and asked to maintain physical distancing as much as possible during presentations. Masks must be worn during in-class sessions.
- Frequent hand sanitization and/or handwashing should be practiced, and hand sanitizer should be readily available for use.
- Wilderness medical assessment and practical skills: If physical exams are being conducted on each other or activity requires physical contact with another student, students will wear a Tyvek suit or hospital style gown, gloves, and a face mask (N-95 masks will be available but optional). Glasses, goggles, or face shields are advised but not required.
- Any instruments such as stethoscopes will be disinfected immediately after use.
- Avalanche class field sessions: Physical distancing will be maintained while hiking or skiing. Masks should be readily available on a person should we contact other travelers or wish to come close together for teaching purposes. While doing pit work, winter gloves should be worn. Students should maintain the use of the same equipment throughout the course. Any exchange of equipment should first be disinfected.
COVID PRACTICES FOR CLIMBING INSTRUCTION AND GUIDING (Rock, Ice, Mountaineering)
Employees and clients should be in a general state of good health. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults (>60 years) and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Higher risk employees and clients may include those with the following underlying medical history:
- chronic respiratory illnesses such as COPD
- severe asthma
- Immuno-compromised individuals (often due to taking corticosteroids)
- heavy smokers
- organ/tissue transplant recipients
- BMI >40
- renal or hepatic failure,
- poorly controlled diabetes
If you meet one or more of the above, while you are not prevented from participating in an AMG activity, you must understand and acknowledge that you are in a higher risk category.
You can expect the following from us at Acadia Mountain Guides
- Guides will record health status and temperature at start of day will not report to work if symptomatic.
- Guide will have fresh clothing for each client session and guide will disinfect his/her personal gear before each session.
Our expectations of clients and guests
We expect that clients and guests will share in the responsibility of community protection and agree to the following:
- To notify us if you are in the high risk category in which case we will discuss participation risks and possibly consult our medical director for guidance.
- To honestly answer the following health related questions regarding COVID – 19 signs and symptoms and understand that you may not be allowed to participate if certain conditions are present:
Known contact with a + COVID person within last 14 days?
Onset of non-productive cough within last 14 days?
Onset of new shortness of breath within last 14 days?
If any of the above, you may not participate until having a COVID test.
Any additional signs / symptoms Fever (>100.4 F), recent chills, body
aches/ muscle pain, headache, sore throat, nausea/vomiting, new loss of taste or smell.
If 2 or more of above you may not participate until having a COVID test.
Bangor Testing Center – 844 489 1822
- To utilize face coverings, frequent hand sanitizer, and social distancing practices in as much as possible during your climb or hike and anytime within 6’ of people outside of your cohort (ie family).
- To share in tasks intended to minimize viral spread. To put sanitizer, harness, shoes, carabiners, belay tool, gloves and helmet in a washable or disposable container when session over and closed.
- To recognize that scientific understanding of COVID-19 is just beginning, is very dynamic and that AMG is making decisions based on the best information available at current time.
AMG COVID Guiding Processes – updated 5/19/20
Below are our internal COVID related procedures we have implemented to help insure a safe experience with minimal risk of exposure to COVID -19 or other infectious organisms. It is shared here to help put you at ease if you are considering going out for a climb or a hike or joining a camp program as well as to provide a model for other guide services to utilize. The procedures resulted from a collaborative effort among the AMG senior guide staff. Due to my work in critical care transport medicine, many of the practices also mimic those being utilized in hospitals and emergency medical services. While most guide services are promoting the primary safeguards of social distancing and frequent hand sanitizing, we have included a number of additional practices around screening, surface contact, and regular decontamination of both equipment and guides between sessions. I hope that by paying attention to these details you can feel better protected if you choose to climb with us. We will continue to refine these procedures as we learn more.
Rock Climbing Guidelines and Procedures
- Client will be sent COVID specific material at time of reservation. All information is also available on AcadiaMountainGuides.com
- Guides make every to contact client in advance and advise them additional COVID related expectations. Attempts should be documented to include date, time and method/number.
- Plan extra time before and after guiding to complete disinfecting.
- Bring multiple sets of clothing for the day.
Procedure: If one client session you will need one additional set of clothes to change when you leave. If two client sessions you will need two additional set of clothes to change when you between sessions and when you leave work.
- Upon arrival to office, employee will take temperature and document it on COVID employee / client record.
Procedure: taking forehead temperature look for more than 99.4 F and it should be taken in a warm >50F environment for > 5 minutes without hat. If oral temperature is used look for more than 100.4F and it should be taken after being indoors for > 5 minutes in the absence of hot/cold drinks. All thermometers will be wiped between uses.
- Open windows and doors of work spaces to the extent possible to improve ventilation.
- Disinfect all surfaces, countertops, pens, tables, chairs clipboards, including the decon box, etc where clients might complete paperwork, sit down to fit shoes, etc.
Procedure: use diluted isopropyl alcohol (70%) and paper towels. Allow solution to sit for 30 – 60 seconds before wiping. Wear gloves and facemask for cleaning then discard properly
- With gloves and facemask on, enter COVID decon room and remove any gear that has met the decon guidelines of greater than 72 hours isolation time.
a. Known contact with a + COVID person within last 14 days?
b. Onset of non-productive cough within last 14 days?
c. Onset of new shortness of breath within last 14 days?
If any of the above, client may not participate until having a COVID test. Contact Bangor Testing Center – 844 489 1822 to complete a phone screening to determine next steps.
d. Any additional signs / symptoms Fever (>100.4 F), recent chills, body aches/muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
If 2 or more of above client may not participate until having a COVID test. Contact Bangor Testing Center – 844 489 1822 to complete a phone screening to determine next steps.
5. Client will be asked to then wear a mask when within six (6’) of employee, other climbers not in the same family cohort. They may use their own or we can provide one. Buffs and homemade cloth mask acceptable.
6. Each client will be given hand sanitizer if they do not have their own and will be asked to sanitize hands.
7. Explain standard waiver/Indemnity agreement and health form plus extra COVID indemnity and concerns on second page. Ask client to sign both forms using clipboard or table.
The approach to this will depend on our volume. If sporadic guiding, then a 3 day (72 hour) gear quarantine is preferred over cleaning or each guide will clean the gear use. If busy, then a guide will be assigned at end of day to do decontamination so that gear is available next day.
- Enter contaminated gear room with mask, eye protection and gloves on as a minimum. Avoid cross contamination as much as possible.
- Client dry bags will be placed in the secondary guide room. This room is sealed, except for door entry, and is to be used only for storing contaminated gear until further notice.
Procedure: Gear should be removed from dry bag, Soft goods (ropes, client harnesses, shoes) should be hung up and quarantined for 72 hours. Hard goods may be sprayed and wiped with diluted alcohol (70% solution).
Procedure: Leave contents in dry bag until end of day. One guide is assigned to clean the gear at day’s end.
Wearing gloves and mask, the closed dry bags should be taken outside and cleaning done on / within washable surface. Guide wil:
- Spray and wipe all hard goods with diluted isopropyl alcohol (70% solution) or wash with soap and water.
- Spray climbing shoes with hospital disinfectant as in past making sure to get outside surface as well.
- Guide will wash helmets and dry bag with soap and water.
- If other gear such as ropes or webbing are of concern they may be washed with soap and water or wiped with the diluted isopropyl alcohol (70% solution), allowed to sit for a minute then wiped with clean water cloth.
- All items should then be hung to air dry.
- Guide should change clothing after completing decontamination and placed used clothing in a bag to be washed at home.