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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Hooper — Education Specialist, Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park