SCA COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

SCA member with mask on in bushes
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the safety of SCA members and staff has been paramount in our organization’s response and decision-making. As the pandemic continues to evolve and unfold, SCA continually strives to update our management strategy with an effective and relevant approach.  
We aim to inform our approach to COVID-19 with public health guidance and regulation, including that of the CDC, OSHA, state, local authorities. Our policies and protocols are further informed by SCA site-partner requirements, position-specific requirements and volunteer or employee status. SCA’s outdoor medical expert advisor is further used to support our experienced Safety and Risk Management Department. 

In Collaboration: A shared responsibility

Mitigating the risks associated with COVID-19 is a shared responsibility between SCA, our partner organizations and agencies, and the members participating in our programs. In providing the safest and most equitable position experiences we can, we ask for mutual cooperation, collaboration, and communication among these groups to help protect members, staff, and the local communities in which we serve. 

Four SCA members with masks posing outside

SCA’s COVID-19 Best Management Practices

Throughout all programs, positions, and settings, SCA’s approach to COVID-19 is underpinned by five best management strategies: 
  • Informational such as acknowledgement and planning for inherent risks, regular symptoms checks, testing for screening purposes, determining vaccination rates, and informing others of potential pathways to exposure; 
  • Behavioral & Structural such as physical distancing and cohorting practices; 
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masking practices in accordance with federal guidance and accommodations for safety critical work; 
  • Sanitation & Disinfection such as regular and frequent handwashing or sanitation, cleaning practices for high touch tools, objects, and surfaces, and PPE; 
  • Environmental such as promoting remote work alternatives, outdoor operations, and indoor meetings in well ventilated spaces. 

SCA’s policy framework includes the recognition that local context often varies. The best management strategies serve as guiding principles, which are applied local program levels as policy and practice. Partner work and living context may also vary, and further influence work and practice at the local level. SCA’s national COVID-19 Management Plan is continually reviewed, assessed, and updated as conditions, knowledge, and guidance evolve. 

Vaccination Policy

For hourly and salaried employees
Beginning on 1/18/22, all new SCA program participants are required to provide proof of up to date vaccination against COVID-19. Up to date vaccination is defined as having received a booster shot six months after the Pfizer and Moderna primary series and two months after the Johnson & Johnson primary series. 
For volunteer participants
Beginning on 1/18/22, all new SCA volunteer program participants are required to provide proof of up to date vaccination against COVID-19. Up to date vaccination is defined as having received a booster shot six months after the Pfizer and Moderna primary series and two months after the Johnson & Johnson primary series. Volunteer programs include stipend and reimbursement positions.
For minors
Program participants under 18 years of age are not required to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. However, minor-aged participants are required to undergo regular testing and symptom screening, and wear masks in all public indoor settings. 

SCA members waring masks carrying tree limbs

Before Your Start Date

Arriving well rested, nourished, and hydrated is a key component to maintaining health during a new position’s start. SCA asks members and staff to self-monitor and disclose any COVID-19 symptoms during the 14-day period before traveling to or starting a new position. Members and staff who have had recent close contact to someone with COVID-19 or present with COVID symptoms will delay travel to and position start. Additionally, avoid close contact with others during this period, and disclose any direct exposure to someone with COVID-19. 
Before a new position starts, members are required to provide proof of vaccination, disclose any symptoms or recent exposures, and review and agree to a pre-program participant form. Following these steps are crucial to helping ensure the safest position start as reasonably possible.

COVID Response Protocol

SCA’s COVID-19 response protocol is informed by CDC guidance under the direction of our medical advisor. SCA’s criterion to discontinue isolation will be met prior to any new position start, return from holiday or leave, or position resumption following a confirmed case of COVID-19: 
  • A minimum of 5 days since a test was conducted and/or symptoms first appeared, and 
  • 24 hours after symptoms are present, such as vomiting, troubled breathing, and/or fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications), and 
  • All other symptoms improve (loss of taste/smell may persist and need not delay the end of isolation). 
In the event personnel are in close contact or otherwise exposed to someone confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, or report the presence of symptoms associated with COVID-19, SCA follows active CDC guidelines. When possible and indicated, personnel will be required to test negative before returning to service or to be in the company of others. Additionally, groups may enact more strict masking protocols, such as masking in living or vehicle situations.