1. Do I have to have the medical consent form filled out by my doctor?
Parents or guardians may disregard the medical consent form unless your child has a health condition or injury which requires clearance for participation in activities. Examples of these conditions may include serious asthma, a recent sprain or broken bone, a prior heart condition, etc.) If you are not sure if physician consent is needed, contact the Outdoor School Nurse at 410-857-7932.
2. What if my child is a picky eater?
Meals are served family style at outdoor school. While we realize that children may not like everything that is served to them, we do encourage them to try to eat something at each meal. Three meals and a snack are served daily. It is best to notify the Outdoor School Nurse of any food allergies, intolerances or restrictions based on health or religious practices. Please do not send snacks or other food or beverages with your child. No food is allowed in the cabins and many of our students have food allergies, some which may be life threatening and it is important for all of the students to be safe.
3. Can my child call home?
Children are allowed to call home daily after dinner with parent’s permission. Some children do well in contacting parents. However, for others it increases their level of homesickness. It is up to parents to make the decision for their child to call home while at Outdoor School.
4. Can I write to my child?
Children love to receive mail while at Outdoor School. Mail is distributed daily after dinner. Children are also encouraged to send letters. You may want to send paper, envelopes and stamps with your child. Mail can to be sent to your child at Outdoor School, Hashawha Environmental Center, 300 John Owings Road, Westminster, Md 21158. Please remember to include your child's name on the envelope.
5. If my child already has an inhaler or other medication at school, do I need to fill out the medication form and have my doctor sign it?
If your child takes medication at school and the medication form is at school, a copy of it is forwarded to Outdoor School by the home school. Since your child is here all week, medications that are normally given at home, including over the counter medications require a physician’s order. Orders may be faxed directly to the Outdoor School at 410-857-7641.
6. When would the nurse call me? For every injury? For minor complaints like a headache or stomachache?
The nurse normally does not contact the parents for minor injuries or illnesses unless the parent specifically asks them to do so. Examples of when a parent may be contacted include fever, injuries which may require a physician evaluation, repeated complaints, worsening of symptoms of asthma or allergies, signs of infection or incidences when a child becomes very homesick.
7. What happens if my child gets homesick?
Please refer to website on homesickness.
8. My child is a bed wetter. How is that handled?
Your child would be placed on a bottom bunk in the cabin. The night nurse makes rounds in the cabin and checks for children who may have wet the bed. The nurse may also wake up students at specific times during the night to prevent a bedwetting incident. Wet sheets or sleeping bags are removed, replacements given and the child is assisted in changing their clothing. These items are laundered and returned to the cabin during a time when the children are in activities to avoid embarrassing the child.
9. If my child is not ready to be away from home for an entire week; can he or she do a partial program? What are my options?
Your child may elect to be a day student at Outdoor School. They can arrive anytime between 7:30am and 9am. If they arrive by 8am, they can join their classmates for breakfast. Pick up times from Outdoor School vary. Many parents pick up their children after the afternoon hike, usually between 4:30pm and 5pm. If the child wants to eat dinner at Outdoor School and participate in the journal class, parents can pick up the child at 7:30pm. If the child also wants to do the night hike, parents may pick up the child at 9:30pm. We work with the parents while including the child in as many activities as possible while they are here.
10. My child has a medical problem and I am worried about how that will be handled. Who can answer my questions?
A registered nurse is on duty at the Outdoor School 24 hours a day while the children are in residence. It is best to contact the nurse ahead of time to discuss any concerns and special accommodations that may be needed for your child. Please call 410-857-7932 to discuss questions or concerns with the nurse.
11. Who decides which kids are in which cabin?
The teachers at the home school make the cabin and hiking assignments. Occasionally these assignments are changed if the Outdoor School staff identifies issues requiring changes. There are separate boys and girls cabins and high school counselors are assigned to assist in the supervison of each cabin. Two teachers stay the night and the night nurse makes rounds and visits each cabin.
12. Can my child choose their bunk?
Children with certain medical conditions such as asthma, seizures, bedwetting or sleepwalking are assigned a bottom bunk. Other than the above conditions, children are allowed to choose their bunk within the assigned cabin.
13. I know that most of the activities are outside. What type of clothing and shoes will my child need?
It is important to pack weather appropriate clothing suitable to the season in which your child attends Outdoor School. A list of items is included in the parent packet, however some important things to remember are as follows:
• Your child will be hiking 2-3 times a day. Do not send new shoes. Socks should extend above the ankle to prevent blisters from occurring.
• Your child will probably get wet during some of the activities. Make sure they have extra clothes and socks for the week. Boots and an extra pair of shoes are needed.
• Your child may be hiking in wooded areas and will need to have long pants or jeans and long sleeved shirts or jackets to protect their skin.
• All clothing worn at Outdoor School must be appropriate school attire.
14. What precautions are taken to ensure the safety and security of my child?
The Outdoor School limits access to the grounds. Our front gate is locked during the night hours to ensure the safety of the children. All cabins are locked and alarmed during the night. Two teachers spend the night at the Outdoor School and a registered nurse is on duty 24 hours a day to provide for the care of the students. Rounds are made to each cabin during the night by the registered nurse to assess any problems and to follow up on any medically fragile students.