Since March of 2020, Wilderness Medical Associates International (WMAI) has been creating guidelines to help inform sponsors in methods to help decrease the risk of running courses in alignment with state and local mandates. For learners who are new to a WMAI course, these changes will probably feel seamless and the new procedures will be the norm. WMAI certification graduates will be cognizant of course changes and recognize them as clear extensions of “scene safety” and “proper PPE use”. Whichever category you are in, we want to share some information on this topic.
Any learner who is experiencing or has in the 14 days prior to the first day of their course experienced any COVID-19 symptoms as defined by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), including but not exclusively: fever, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, or any flu symptoms should not attend a course. Those who are unvaccinated and have, in the 14 days prior to course, had contact with a COVID-19 positive or suspected positive person or received instruction from a public health authority to self-observe, self-isolate, or self-quarantine should also not travel to the training site. Vaccinated individuals with an exposure as described immediately above should consult the host and instructor and determine if they are able to attend the course if they present negative tests prior to the course start. This decision will be made on a case-by-case basis for each class.
For those attending a course, we would like to remind you of the importance of your actions prior to arriving on course. As much as possible, practice social distancing, mask wearing, and proper hygiene during the14 days preceding your start date, including your travel to the course. None of these guarantee absolute protection but ignoring any or all could notably increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.
COVID policies and practices are determined by: state and local regulations and restrictions, course host policies and practices, and the course instructor. For information on measures in place for a specific course, please contact that course’s host or registration contact available on that course’s scheduling web page. Please note that refusal or repeated failure to comply with health safety procedures may lead to dismissal from the course with no tuition refund.
CDC defined COVID-19 Higher Risk Individuals should consult with their primary care provider and make a thorough assessment of all current factors to determine if they should travel to and attend a WMAI medical course or postpone to a future course. These risk factors include age and comorbidities like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, conditions that compromise the immune system, and obesity.
Our intention remains to provide meaningful training in wilderness medicine. The current COVID‐19 pandemic has made this more difficult, but not impossible. In order to minimize risk, it is important that there be a cooperative understanding among WMAI, sponsors, instructors, and learners. We hope this overview provides a foundation for that communal awareness.