Although the public health emergency has officially ended, COVID-19 still poses a risk to the well-being of communities and individuals worldwide. The risk of contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, like other risks, cannot be eliminated. However, all team members can take steps to help reduce the risk of their team being negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Based on our experience with fielding teams over the last three years, we ask all team members to abide by the following safety measures. Every individual has a responsibility toward maintaining the well-being of their team.

Pre-fielding screening call: We will be in touch shortly before your team to go through a set of COVID screening questions, to clear you to join.

Please test for COVID-19 before traveling to your expedition.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, do not travel to your Earthwatch expedition or program and call Earthwatch right away for the next steps.

Earthwatch is maintaining flexible transfer options to encourage responsible participation. In the event of a cancellation due to a documented positive test for COVID-19 before travel, you will have the option to transfer to another expedition or transfer your contribution into an Expedition Fund for use toward a future expedition.

At this time, Earthwatch does not require participants to be tested or vaccinated prior to fielding. Participants should discuss vaccination with their health care provider to decide what is appropriate for them. Participants who are vaccinated will still be required to comply with all COVID-19 safety measures as directed by project staff, as well as applicable rules and regulations.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is required for participation on all expeditions through December 2023. 

Earthwatch strongly encourages you to stay up to date with your vaccinations, including receiving booster doses as available.

Earthwatch has put a plan in place for each COVID Ready expedition, that will make COVID testing available to participants in time for results to be used for homeward travel requirements.

You may be asked to test upon arrival at your expedition.

During the team, you may be asked to test and/or wear a mask if you or another person on site displays symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.

Team Leaders have the right to require testing for COVID-19 and/or face masks, either for individuals or the whole team.

You must bring a supply of face masks for your personal use. You should also bring 2–3 at-home COVID-19 test kits in the event of exposure or symptoms. Participants are expected to self-monitor and report any COVID-like symptoms throughout the expedition.

Earthwatch is adapting our programs to make single accommodations available wherever possible.

Adapted Logistics: Meals and activities will take place outdoors whenever possible. Where practical, physical distance will be maintained between individuals and ventilation will be increased indoors and in vehicles as much as possible.

New fielding guidelines will require face masks during field work and physical distancing whenever possible during research activities, lectures, and meals. When maintaining physical distance is not possible, face masks will be required.

Protecting local communities: To avoid posing additional risks to the communities where we work, interactions with local community members (outside of the research team staff) may be limited.

Earthwatch has added a communicable disease response plan, including plans for quarantine and patient care, to our expeditions’ Emergency Response Plans, which are made available to all participants on site.

Contingency Planning: We have added a communicable disease response plan, including plans for quarantine, testing, and patient care, to our expeditions’ Emergency Response Plans, which are made available to all participants on site.

Please note: If you must isolate or depart from a program due to COVID-19 or other illness, you will not be entitled to a refund of the contribution for the program nor any expenses incurred by participation on the program. We strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance that will cover this eventuality.



Our COVID-19 Response

Earthwatch’s experienced risk management team, in close partnership with our scientists and field staff, continues to refine our COVID-19 safety protocols in line with current public health guidelines. Earthwatch is committed to using sound, science-driven decision-making to guide this important process. 

For teams fielding from January 1, 2024, Earthwatch will no longer collect proof of vaccination against COVID-19 from participants or project staff.* 

*However, individual programs may keep the proof of the COVID-19 vaccination requirement in place due to the potential risk of transmission to the research subjects, local regulations, field staff preference, or other reasons. Programs requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination before fielding will be clearly marked on the project webpage and Online Expedition Briefings. 

Because the impacts and understanding of COVID-19 are constantly evolving, and rules vary in different locations across the world, it is essential that you refer to public health authorities, such as the CDC, WHO, or the website for your embassy within the project country for entry requirements and the most recent COVID-specific guidance for your destination.



More information on the increased safety responsibilities of Earthwatch, project staff, and participants can be found in our COVID Disclosure Form.


Effective September 1, 2021, in an effort to protect our volunteers, field staff, and members of the communities in which we work, Earthwatch will require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for participation on all expeditions. 
Earthwatch will not require Face masks outdoors, except when required by local regulations or requested by project staff.
New Earthwatch fielding guidelines will require face masks during field work and physical distancing whenever possible during research activities, lectures, and meals.


Because Earthwatch holds health and safety as a high priority for the field programs, your organization provides a gold standard for us to strive for, not just for our Earthwatch teams but for all groups that come to our campus for safe and inspiring experiences...We are so grateful for the time, thought, and effort you have put into your COVID-19 protocols and your site visit.

Sarah HooperEducation Specialist, Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park


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