MEI Academy’s COVID-19 Protocol

We will create a travel bubble with our group of students by requiring that all students on a travel program be tested for COVID-19, 72 hours prior to meeting in Toronto. Students are required to submit documentation that shows a NEGATIVE test result prior to our ‘meet-up’ date. Our goal is to minimize the chances that our crew will be exposed to the virus by creating a safe ‘travel bubble’ while we are in the field and following COVID protocol when in cities.

For more information click here for Government Guidance for schools.

Cancellation during the program, due to COVID

Although we spend approximately half of our time together in national parks, we will reside in apartments, when exploring the Eastern Townships, Montreal, and Quebec City. In these locations we expect students and staff to comply with the location’s COVID-19 protocol. MEI teachers will monitor students throughout the program for COVID-19 symptoms, and test temperatures daily.

MEI’s goal is to responsibly conduct a program that promotes good health and a positive learning environment. Although there is no certainty that you will not contract COVID-19 or any other virus, cold, or flu, we will do everything in our power to uphold the highest regard for risk management both in the field and in cities.

What if a student shows symptoms of COVID-19 in the field?

Although students are tested 72 hours before the trip and will practice the highest level of COVID safely, there is a remote chance that a student could contract the virus. When a student on our program shows symptoms of the COVID virus, they will be immediately quarantined and brought to the nearest testing centre. We will be in contact with parents during this time while waiting for the test results. An MEI staff member will be with the student at all times to guide them through the process and be there for moral support. Due to the small number of cases in the northern area of Quebec, the results will most likely be negative and the student will rejoin the group and continue on with the program. However, If the results are positive, the parents will be responsible for attending to their child as soon as possible, and the student can finish the academic portion of the program online over the remainder of the term.

In the unlikely event that a member of our group of 20 tests positive during the field portion of the program, all other students will be tested. Any student who tests positive will be quarantined and an MEI staff member will chaperone the student until a parent or guardian arrives. The other students will continue with the remainder of the program if it is deemed to be safe.

Backcountry Field Safety Overview

During our time in the backcountry, students are expected to be aware of risk management and respond to changes in weather and any hazards that may arise. Preparation before going out on our first excursion will include swimming tests, basic first aid training, and a foundational knowledge of camping.

Quebec weather in September is usually very pleasant and mild, however, conditions can change quickly in the backcountry. You need to be prepared for cool and rainy conditions, and MEI provides a comprehensive checklist of gear to bring. We provide a thorough packing list on our website, and we will review this in detail during our online preparation sessions.

Our hikes will be challenging, but we will not be bushwhacking into uncharted territory. There will be challenging terrain, over rocks, while carrying backpacks and gear, so waterproof, supportive footwear is a must.

When it comes to wildlife, our staff will teach you basic practices on how to avoid bears, and maintain a clean and safe campsite with proper food storage. Mindfulness and being safe are constant themes in your program and this more than anything will ensure the success of the program.