Looking for meaningful work in the
field of nature connection? Start Here


Updated: September 20, 2021  

Throughout the summer we have been monitoring the state of the virus and the new Delta variant. When we opened summer camp on July 5, the positivity rate in York, Maine was under 1%; today we find ourselves at a rate of 6% (view source).

In addition to considering published CDC data, our protocols take several other data points into account. 

  • We will be serving approximately 400 families per week this fall.
  • Program families hail from over 30 communities across three states.
  • Masking and distancing protocols vary widely from one town to another.
  • The vast majority of our participants are under 12 and cannot be vaccinated.
  • We have families in our community with significant and difficult health challenges who are at high risk of dangerous, potentially fatal, complications if exposed to COVID-19.

Importantly, we considered how important human contact is in the work that we do. Observing the wings of a butterfly under a magnifying glass, teaming up to build a debris shelter, huddling beneath a tarp on a rainy day or comforting a child missing their parent or guardian — these are all essential elements of our programs and happen in close physical proximity. The decisions we make about COVID protocols affect hundreds of families and the collective health of that community weighs heavily for us.

After consulting local community health experts, at this time, we have made the decision to make masks optional for staff and participants when outside and distanced more than 3 feet apart.  However:

  • Every participant will be required to wear a mask during program check-in and departure (due to the close contact of getting children in and out of vehicles) and when indoors or in a shelter (tarp, debris, etc.). 
  • Every participant will be required to have a mask with them at all times.
  • Masks may be requested to be worn if participants exhibit signs of respiratory illness.

These protocols align with the policies of our local school department (in York, Maine), which is required to follow State CDC, National CDC and Maine DOE guidance. Like the school district, our guidelines will be reviewed weekly and, at any time, could change to include universal masking or other precautionary measures. 

All Staff will be required to follow all local, state, and CDC guidelines; this includes quarantine, inoculation and travel guidelines. Program adaptations within this document are based on the latest Maine CDC Guidelines for Child Care Providers and Schools.

Our detailed COVID-19 guidelines, including information on pooled testing and close contacts, are available here.

Note: All decisions regarding attendance at programs for staff and participants are at the discretion of White Pine Programs.

Thank you for supporting White Pine Programs during this crazy time. We are working hard to meet the needs of all participants, their families and our greater communities at large.