Our COVID-19 Response Plan

Kia ora!

New Zealand continues to respond to and manage active cases of COVID-19 in the community and Outward Bound takes its role in that response and management very seriously.

Your part in our response is also vital. We urge you to please read our COVID-19 response plan so that we can keep our students, our staff and New Zealanders safe.

An Outward Bound course brings people together from all over the country into situations where prolonged close contact is inevitable. This will happen in your accommodation and during activities, like gatherings, sailing a 10-metre boat with 13 others or sleeping under a communal fly in the bush.

Therefore, it is vital that you follow the necessary steps so you arrive for your course in good health. This will help ensure everyone has a safe and positive experience. 

Our response plan works in conjunction with Outward Bound’s existing health and safety processes. This plan will be revised as government and sector guidance changes over time.



Talk with our Enrolments team

Prior to starting your course, our Enrolments team will work with you and/or your parents/caregivers to make sure you understand our requirements for you to safely participate in an Outward Bound course. It's also a great chance to ask us any questions you may have about your course.


Read our response plan below

We encourage you and/or your guardian to read the information on this webpage to ensure you follow all the necessary steps so you arrive healthy and ready to participate in your course. Contact us on 0800 688 927 if you'd like to discuss any aspects of our response plan with us.


If you're sick, stay home. 

We know it's tempting to try and shake off a cold or runny nose, but we all need to be mindful of the wider impact that can be caused by spreading COVID-19. Please contact us ASAP if you're feeling unwell within the four weeks before your course and we will chat through the best options for you.

You cannot attend your course if:

  • you have tested positive for COVID-19 within 7 days of your course;
  • you contracted COVID-19 within the month* leading up to your course and our medical screeners have deemed you not well enough to thrive on course. Please refer to note below. 
  • you are awaiting a COVID-19 test result, for any reason;
  • you are a household contactor spent at least 8 hours at a residence with of a positive COVID-19 case, within 7 days of your course start. You are required to immediately self-isolate for 7 days from the same time the positive household case is confirmed. 
  • Further information on isolation is available here: https://covid19.govt.nz/isolation-and-care/

*If you contract COVID-19 before your course but have completed your 7 day isolation in time for your course start, you need to have approval from the Outward Bound medical team to come on course. We want you to thrive at Outward Bound so please contact us if you test positive up to 4 weeks out from your course at the start of your isolation so we can work with you to be ready.

The above requirements may prevent you from starting your course. Please contact us as soon as possible so we can discuss and reschedule.

These guidelines are regularly reviewed in accordance with COVID-19 government updates. 

COVID-19 symptoms:

  • a new or worsening cough
  • a fever
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • temporary loss of smell or altered taste.

Less common, but other symptoms are:

  • fever
  • diarrhoea
  • headache
  • muscle pain or body aches
  • nausea and vomiting
  • confusion and irritability
  • malaise - a general feeling of discomfort, illness or unease.

Medical advice should be documented and provided to Outward Bound if possible. If the medical advice you receive 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.

  • If you have already tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of when, we ask that you please have a copy of your positive RAT registration on your MyCovid record and bring this with you on day 1. A screenshot including your name and NHI is suitable. This will provide proof of transmission.
  • As per government guidelines, if you have had COVID-19 within 28 days of your course, you will not be required to test pre your course, Day 1, or on Day 4. You will also not be required to isolate while on course, unless you have common cold symptoms.
  • If you have had COVID-19 within 28 days of your course start, please email us the registration of your positive RAT test so that our team has this on record. 
  • If you have COVID-19 within 28 days of your course and are outside of the 7 day isolation period, you must contact us to be signed off by our medical team.
  • If you test positive between now and your course, contact our team as soon as possible. Please ensure you contact us at the start of your 7 day isolation period so we can help you best prepare for your course once you have fully recovered.
  • Purchase a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) from your pharmacy or retailer (e.g. The Warehouse) or take a test via a community testing site.
  • Take the test the day before your course and email a photo of your positive OR negative test result to testresults@outwardbound.co.nz by 3pm, the day before your course starts. If you produce a positive test result, we also ask that you call us immediately. We will be checking all test results before your course commences.
  • You can follow the instructions on how to undertake a RAT here.
  • Have a photo of your test result on your phone for reference.
  • We encourage you to minimise exposure to any activity that brings a higher risk of exposure to COVID for two weeks prior to your course start date e.g. large indoor events.
  • Please note: if you test positive on Day 1 or later in your course, you are only eligible for your 12 month unconditional course transfer if you took your pre-course RAT test and emailed the results to testresults@outwardbound.co.nz

Some domestic travel timetables may change due to COVID restrictions. Please contact us if you are concerned about travelling to Picton or Christchurch Airport for our Journey / Te Waiau Toa participants.

As per government guidelines for travel, you must:

  • NOT TRAVEL if you have cold or flu symptoms.
  • Wear a face covering.
  • Wash and disinfect your hands frequently.

Please ensure you bring the following items with you:

  • Refillable pocket-size hand sanitiser.
  • Please bring a minimum of 5 disposable surgical face masks. An example of a surgical face mask is here. You will be required to wear a mask for a number of activities while on course. The masks can be rotated throughout your course.

If you have any cold-like symptoms, please take a RAT or PCR test immediately and inform us. Please note that you will undertake a rapid antigen test (RAT) on arrival in Picton so we strongly encourage that you please minimise close contact/risky exposure situations leading up to your course.


On the first day of your course, all students who did not email us their RAT result by 3pm the day prior to the course start will take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) at the meeting point e.g. Picton Interislander Ferry Terminal. If you receive a positive RAT result, as per Ministry of Health (MOH) guidelines, you will be required to isolate for 7 days. We strongly recommend you have a self-isolation plan in place before coming on course eg having a parent/caregiver/family member collect you from Picton if possible. If you are unable to self-isolate independently, Outward Bound can provide basic isolation facilities and care.


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

Physical Distancing

Where possible and practicable, physical distancing will be enforced.


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 touchpoints 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. 

Visitors and members of the public to the Outward Bound school

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


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 or taste


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

During this process, the student/staff member will be isolated as much as is practical. In the field, e.g. 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 a different vehicle/vessel from the rest of the watch
Falling sick or being exposed to COVID-19 while on course in Anakiwa: 
  • We ask that you put in a place a personal isolation plan prior to your course start e.g if possible have your parents/caregiver collect you from Picton/Anakiwa should you need to isolate.
  • Outward Bound will support you to isolate at the school in Anakiwa if needed. There is a cost of $50 per each isolation night to cover food, accommodation and supervision. Please refer to the isolaton cost & refund section of this email for more details.
  • On the first day of your course, all students who did not email us their RAT result by 3pm the day prior to the course start will need to take a RAT at the course start meeting point e.g. Picton Interislander Ferry Terminal. If the RAT returns a positive COVID result, as per Ministry of Health (MOH) guidelines, you will be required to isolate for 7 days immediately.
  • Only students on a 21 day course will take a second RAT test on Day 4 of course.
  • If you develop cold-like symptoms while on course, you will take another RAT. If the RAT is positive, you will be required to isolate for 7 days from that point. If the RAT is negative, you may still be asked to self-isolate until symptom-free to prevent the spread of the cold.
  • As per MOH guidelines related to group accommodation, anyone in the same watch (group) as a positive COVID-19 case will be monitored and tested if symptomatic. They will be able to continue with their course and won't be required to isolate.
  • You may be required to isolate at Anakiwa beyond the scheduled end of your course e.g. you return a positive test result 2-3 days before course completion. Please be aware of this and bring extra medication if required and advise your work/family of this possibility. Outward Bound will continue to ensure the wellbeing of our students, and will do so for as long as official guidance requires it.


What does isolation look like?

  • Isolating at the school is an option if you don’t have a personal isolation plan. There is a cost of $50 per night when isolating at the school. Please refer to the 'isolation costs + refunds' section of this email for further details.
  • The school in Anakiwa is not able to function like a MIQ facility or hotel.
  • Isolation will be in bunk-bed in a watch-house or a tent at our school in Anakiwa.
  • We will ensure that people are fed and cared for and an exercise space will be available.
  • Numbers allowing, we will provide separate bathroom facilities.
  • When we need to isolate multiple people, we will use spare watchhouses – we have allowed for this in our student threshold for each month. In some instances, we will be required to use tents.
  • We will be ready to transport people to medical care if the need arises.
  • If you are isolating due to COVID, you will be able to access your digital device. However, the WIFI network in Anakiwa is quickly overloaded, so personal mobile data is needed.
  • Where students are required by the Health Order (or other legislative rule) to isolate themselves, we will inform them of their responsibilities and support them to comply with the rules. If students decide to implement their own self-isolation plan, we will only intervene if it affects other OB students/staff/or the wider community in Anakiwa, or if they are minors. We can not enforce any particular behaviour, but minimising risk to staff, students and the wider community is our priority.


Can I resume my course?

  • Due to the MOH 7 day isolation requirement, COVID related isolation may mean the end of your course. This will be assessed on a case by case basis by the team in Anakiwa including our medical staff. Please refer to the refund section of this email for the 12 month course transfer eligibility criteria.
  • If you isolate due to a standard cold or other illness for 2-3 days, in most circumstances you will be able to continue with your course.


Travelling home if you test positive:

  • We do encourage you to have a personal isolation plan in place prior to your course should you need to isolate.
  • Legally, public transport (ferry, bus, plane) home is not allowed for positive COVID cases. For South Island students however, family members are able to transport you by private car so you can isolate in your own home. North Island based students will be supported to organise isolation with their personal isolation plan or to isolate at the school in Anakiwa if necessary.
  • OB staff will support isolated students to change their travel arrangements to return home on completing the isolation period. Should you isolate at the school, transport home (and any associated costs due to transport changes) is at your cost.
  • In the event you complete less than 50% of your course due to isolation, you must have completed your pre-course RAT and emailed your results to us to be eligible for a 12 month unconditional transfer of your course.
  • If you test positive for COVID or are identified as a household contact within 7 days of your course start and are unable to attend, you will be eligible for a 12 month unconditional transfer of your course.
  • If you complete less than 50% of your course, then test positive for COVID and choose to isolate at the school, you will be charged $50 per night for your 7 day isolation period. This fee covers food, utilities and supervision. You will need to have paid your 7 day OB isolation fee to be eligible for your 12 month course transfer.
  • If you test positive on Day 1 or later in your course, you are only eligible for your 12 month unconditional course transfer if you took your pre-course RAT and emailed the results to testresults@outwardbound.co.nz
  • Please note a separate COVID isolation cost and refund policy applies if you have received funding towards your course or if you are participating on a course designed specifically for your organisation. Please contact our team for further details.


Our Enrolments team is available 8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri on 0800 688 927 or info@outwardbound.co.nz to answer any questions you have with regard to our COVID-19 response plan.