Participant Responsibilities Regarding COVID-19
New Requirements to Help Prevent Infection During the Pandemic
Updated November 1, 2022
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, American Alpine Institute (AAI) has developed a set of operational guidelines to minimize the risk that you, other climbers, and our staff will become infected with COVID-19. Like many of the hazards that we encounter in the outdoors, exposure to COVID-19 will always be a possibility. Because of the character of the disease and the intimate nature of many aspects of mountain recreation, AAI can only mitigate the risks, not eliminate them.
Just as we work as a team to reach a summit, we must work as a team to minimize both our chances of exposure and our chances of spreading the disease to others while on the trip and thereafter. As a participant in an AAI program, you will make choices that affect others, and you share a responsibility to help mitigate the risk that COVID-19 poses to yourself, your fellow participants, the AAI community, and society at large.
AAI has made substantial changes to its operating plans to manage the risks of COVID-19. Integral to these operational changes is the assumption that program participants understand the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic and will abide by AAI’s new policies and procedures.
The following document has been incorporated by reference into AAI’s Acknowledgement of Risk and will be presented to participants before commencement of their program either as a paper document for physical signature or as a digital document for e-signature. Please read this document carefully and make sure you understand its contents and agree to it before you sign your Acknowledgement of Risk.
Acknowledgement of Additional Risks and Responsibilities
Before joining AAI on a trip, you affirm that:
- You have had no known or suspected exposure to someone with symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive COVID-19 test result in the last two weeks; and that you are not prematurely leaving a CDC-recommended quarantine or isolation period.
- You feel healthy; believe you are free from any infection, including COVID-19 but also including colds, flu, “stomach flu”, or any other contagious disease; and are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 as described by the CDC.
- Participants in AAI trips that include overnight camping or in-person classroom time are asked to take a rapid Covid test within 24 hours of the start of their trip, unless they have recovered from a case of Covid-19 within the previous 90 days. Participants are asked to bring documentation of their negative test result (paper or digital image) to the Rendezvous. Those who have not tested will be asked to test at Rendezvous before departure.
- Rapid Covid antigen tests are typically packaged two to a kit and can be bought at most drug stores. AAI recommends that participants take both tests in the kit, the first during the two days before the trip and the second on the morning the trip starts, immediately before the Rendezvous.
- AAI reserves the right to require participants to take a rapid Covid test before or during any trip in order to respond effectively to new symptoms, cases, and outbreaks.
In preparing for the trip, you agree to bring the following additional required items added to all AAI trip equipment lists:
- Hand sanitizer (at least 2/3 oz per day, or about 2 small bottles for a 3-day trip).
- At least two clean N-95 or comparable face masks, to be used in case of infection, exposure risk, or if requested by your guide.
While on your trip with AAI, you affirm that you will:
- Follow the directions set out by AAI staff to help minimize contact within our facilities and in the field;
- Participate with honesty and integrity in daily health checks;
- Use exemplary hygiene practices at all times. This includes frequent hand washing/disinfecting, covering all coughs and sneezes, bringing adequate hygiene products, and minimizing sharing of personal belongings and unnecessary contact.
By agreeing to participate in a program with AAI, you acknowledge that:
- AAI continues to offer activities that, by their very nature, require close proximity and/or contact with others. Social distancing to lessen the spread of infection, therefore, can not always be maintained.
- There is a possibility that you will contract COVID-19 on an AAI trip, and that you may be infected, and/or infect others, without knowing it.
- According to the CDC, while anyone can develop severe infection, persons with certain conditions or risk factors are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Those conditions and risk factors include, but are not limited to: asthma; chronic lung disease; diabetes; serious heart conditions; chronic kidney disease; severe obesity; liver disease; people aged 65 or older; those who are immunocompromised.
- The risks and consequences of severe COVID-19 infection, while not necessarily applying to you personally, may be borne by members of your household, by those close to you, or by those in your care.
- You may be asked to leave your trip and/or your trip may be terminated early to prevent or curtail the spread of infection.
- Failure to abide by AAI’s Covid policies may result in limitations on your participation and/or expulsion from your program.
- You may need to self-quarantine after leaving the trip.
- You are responsible for any additional expenses incurred due to self-quarantining or becoming ill, including but not limited to: additional nights of lodging; flight or reservation change fees; transportation costs; and medical testing costs.
If you have to leave your program early due to illness or suspected illness, you agree to follow up with AAI and inform us whether or not you have been confirmed to have COVID-19.
First Aid/ CPR
Traditional Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) requires a rescuer to place his/her mouth over the patient’s to provide rescue breaths, while also providing chest compressions to keep the heart beating. This places the rescuer in harm’s way if the patient has COVID-19, or any other communicable disease.
In accordance with American Heart Association guidelines, AAI guides are not required to provide rescue breathing during an incident that requires CPR due to the risk associated with this activity. Chest compressions will still be provided as dictated by their first aid training.
A printed or digital form incorporating this agreement will be presented at or before the beginning of your program for your review and signature. Please call our office at (360) 671-1505 if you have any questions or concerns about the contents of this document.