Program Safety

The health and safety of our students and staff is always our top priority.


In accordance with the CDC guidelines for operating youth camps, the Washington State Department of Health, Pierce County Health Department, and the University of Washington Environmental Health and Safety, Mount Rainier Institute has implemented an extensive COVID-19 Prevention Plan aimed at creating a safe and healthy environment for all students, staff and visitors. These safety policies and procedures are summarized below.


Staff Vaccination, Masks, and Physical Distancing

  • All Mount Rainier Institute staff are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccination unless they receive a medical or religious exemption.
  • All staff wear masks and physically distance when interacting with the public.
  • All participants will be required to wear masks except when eating/drinking, or taking a mask break. All education activities will be held outdoors. Participants will only go inside designated buildings for bathroom breaks, extreme weather, or other emergencies.
  • Cohorts or "trail groups" will be used to minimize large group gatherings. Cohorts consist of no more than 15 participants and one staff member.
  • All participants in day-long programs will be required to complete a medical form prior to the program and complete a health attestation upon arrival or before boarding the bus to depart for Mount Rainier Institute.


For Overnight Programs

  • All overnight participants (students, chaperons, teachers, etc.) must either: 1) be fully vaccinated, OR 2) quarantine for 72 hours prior to arrival at camp and receive a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to arrival at camp. Mount Rainier Institute can assist with finding rapid tests.
  • No outside visitors (non-program participants) are allowed on site. Parents or guardians are allowed to enter the site only in the case of medical emergencies or when needed to bring home a participant early. Under these circumstances, arrangements must be coordinated with the Mount Rainier Institute Director.
  • Space in cabins and dormitories is limited. All participants must have at least 6 feet physical distance from other participants heads in sleep facilities (beds, bunks). Bedding is arranged head-to-toe.
  • Meals will be served outdoors or in a well ventilated dining hall. Dining hall space may be limited which could alter the program schedule.
  • Bus or shuttle transportation within the program follow the childcare transportation guidance. Masks are required of all people, regardless of vaccination status, when using public transportation.
  • Daily symptom health screenings are required for all participants and staff.


Other Logistics and Considerations

  • Several traditional activities may be modified or discontinued due to COVID policies such as physical distancing requirements.
  • Due to staffing limitations, schools/program leaders may be required to assist with evening activities.
  • Ventilation guidelines may require windows to be left open in some buildings, including cabins and dormitories, regardless of the outdoor temperature. Extra warm sleeping bags, or beding is suggested.


John Hayes


Phone: (253) 692-4161

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Mount Rainier Institute

The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations.  Mount Rainier Institute is honored and grateful to provide programs that take place in the ancestral homelands of the Nisqually, Puyallup, Muckleshoot, Yakima, and Cowlitz.


Mount Rainier Institute provides outstanding nature-based education experiences that are rooted in science and nurture the next generation of environmental stewards and leaders.