COVID-19 Response Plan

COVID update as at Wednesday 12 August:


Outward Bound will implement the following Level 2 guidelines from today, Wednesday 12 August:

  • All staff and students will be required to follow 2m social distancing from the public
  • All school gatherings exceeding 100 will be separated into smaller groups e.g. 1/2 marathon, meals, school concert
  • Students on kitchen service will wear disposable face masks
  • Any students displaying COVID symptoms will be isolated and tested. Medical guidance following testing will be followed.

We take our role as a member of New Zealand’s team of 5 million very seriously and have solid procedures in place to be able to respond to changes in alert levels. Be assured that we are keeping up-to-date on all government advice and will contact you promptly should the current situation change. Should a change to the current alert level affect the return travel of a current student, we will be in contact with families directly to discuss plans. 

For students enrolled on courses starting at the end of August and in September 2020, we are awaiting guidance from the NZ government.

In the meantime, if you have any questions please do contact our team on 0800 688 927 or

Our Response plan has been developed to manage the risk, to students and OB staff, of contracting COVID-19. This plan works in conjunction with Outward Bound’s existing health and safety processes. The Response Plan will be revised if government and sector guidance for these levels change over time.

Please note: we are currently unable to accept bookings for participants living outside of New Zealand.

Before your course starts

Prior to starting your course, our enrolments team will work with you and/or your parents/caregivers to ensure your current situation meets the requirements of our COVID-19 Response plan.

Pre-enrolled students will be reminded of the government guideline ‘If you’re sick, stay home’ and informed of the following:

1. If you have had any of the COVID-19 symptoms listed below in the 2 weeks prior to your course start date and have:

  • recently travelled overseas OR
  • been in contact with recent travellers,

then you must seek and follow advice from a GP or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

2. If you have had any of the symptoms listed below in the 2 weeks prior to your course start date, but not travelled overseas or been in contact with travellers, please contact Outward Bound and speak with one of our medical screeners

COVID-19 symptoms:

  • ongoing cough
  • a high temperature of at least 38°C
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • sneezing or runny nose
  • temporary loss of smell
  • ongoing headaches, diarrhoea or vomiting
  • unexplained rash, muscle pain or bruising
  • unexplained chills, confusion or feeling unwell.

In your conversation with a GP or Healthline please ask if you should be tested, and ask if you should come to a place like Outward Bound, that involves close contact with people from all over New Zealand.

Medical advice should be documented and provided to Outward Bound if possible. If medical advice is not to attend, then our Enrolments staff will work closely with you (the enrolled student) and your next of kin to find a suitable course in the upcoming months. We will also assess people for the listed symptoms on arrival at Outward Bound.

3. If you have been in contact with a suspected or confirmed case in the 4 weeks prior to your course, you are unable to attend Outward Bound at this time.

4. You should also bring:

  • Refillable pocket-size hand sanitiser
  • A minimum of 2 reusable cloth face masks, preferably cotton. For ideas on how to make your own, search 'DIY fabric face mask'.


If you are at all unsure of any of the above, please call the Outward Bound office on 0800 688 927.

Travel to and from Anakiwa

At level 1, students are able to travel domestically without any restrictions. Our usual travel information applies. Should this change, our enrolments team will be in touch directly with enrolled students.

Please be aware that due to COVID some travel timetables have changed. The Bluebridge and Interislander ferry timetables to and from Picton remain unchanged however Air New Zealand has reduced the number of its Blenheim connections. Sounds Air flies directly to Blenheim from Christchurch, Wellington and Hawke's Bay. Please do call us if you are concerned about travel to Picton. We can discuss options with you.

As per government guidelines for travel at Level 1, we strongly advocate the following advice:

1. If you have cold or flu symptoms DON’T TRAVEL

2. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.

3. Sneeze and cough into your elbow, and regularly disinfect shared surfaces.

During your course


On arrival at the Interislander ferry terminal in Picton, students will be asked if they have any COVID symptoms. Students will be asked to speak with a staff member immediately if they have any symptoms. They will be assessed on an individual basis. They may be asked to return home if they are experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above.


Level 1 & 2

Each watch will consist of up to 14 students plus 2 instructors. Gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 100 people.

Physical Distancing

Level 1 & 2

Where possible and practicable, physical distancing is encouraged.


Students and staff are required to wash hands regularly throughout the day. The standards for handwashing will be prompted with students by their instructors. Appropriate hand washing technique is outlined on posters placed above the hand basins. There are handwashing locations at all equipment, bathroom and catering touch points around the school.


Where possible the number of shared surfaces will be reduced by having watches stay apart and use their own facilities and shared surfaces will be cleaned on a regular basis. For example, for watch houses this will occur daily in the morning and for dining areas this will occur after each meal.

Contact tracing

The nature of our comprehensive enrolment process allows for satisfactory contract tracing.

Visitors and members of the public to the school

Members of the public are discouraged from visiting by signage. The visitor register and contractor briefing outline the hygiene and physical spacing standards, as well as capturing contract tracing details. Regular visitors such as contractors and couriers will be provided with a copy of this plan.

A COVID tracing app QR code is displayed at both the Anakiwa and Wellington offices.

How we’ll manage illness on your course


Students will be monitored daily for symptoms by their instructors, particularly during the first 2 weeks of the course.

Instructors will be briefed to watch for:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing and runny noses
  • Shortness of breath

Students will be reminded to report experiencing the symptoms above, as well as:

  • Fever or chills
  • Sore throat
  • Temporary loss of smell

Anyone presenting with outlined symptoms will be isolated and assessed as soon as possible.

During this process, the person will be isolated as much as is practical. In the field eg tramping, this would mean:

  • maintaining at least 2m physical separation (including while sleeping)
  • the person wearing a face mask and following good cough/sneeze practice
  • the person not participating in any close group activities or food preparation
  • everyone in the group following a regular hand washing regime
  • leaving the field as soon as safe to do so
  • where possible, transporting the person in different vehicle/vessel from the rest of the watch

If a person is advised to undergo a COVID-19 test, they will be isolated until the test results have been returned. If the result is positive, the person will remain in isolation for 14 days and OBNZ will seek further advice from the Nelson Marlborough Medical Officer of Health. If the result is negative, we will accept medical advice on when the person is able to return to their course or work.

Anyone who has mild symptoms, which have been medically assessed as not requiring a COVID-19 test, will be considered on a case by case basis.


If a person is identified as a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, they must self-isolate for 14 days. If a student is required to self-isolate beyond the end of the course, Outward Bound will liaise with the Nelson Marlborough Medical Officer of Health about the possibility of the student travelling home. If this is not practical, Outward Bound will continue to support them to self-isolate at Anakiwa


If an isolated person requires medical care, this will be planned in consultation with the Outward Bound screening nurse or local medical centre. The medical centre will be able to advise what treatment is appropriate and if the person should be brought in or remain at Outward Bound.


Still have a question?

Our enrolments team is available 8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri on 0800 688 927 or to answer any questions you have with regard to our COVID-19 Response plan.