The SIP Fellows Program is looking forward to hosting you this summer. ESA, a SIP Fellows partner, wants SIP Fellows to have a safe and productive summer experience with the program as the nation gradually opens doors in the midst of the SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic. We recognize that conditions are continually changing and therefore program participants should use the available data and evidence to make decisions regarding their own personal risk.

In order to minimize risks, ESA will follow federal, state, local, and building guidelines and policies as recommended. If selected to participate in the SIP Fellows program, please note that you must comply with the following:

  • Be fully immunized against COVID-19 at least 14 days before arrival at the internship site. All selected SIP Fellows will be required to submit documentation of vaccination during the hiring process.
  • For anyone who does not receive a vaccine for COVID-19 due to medical or religious reasons, an exemption form and a negative Covid test within 72-hours before arrival to the internship will be required. Please notify ESA staff immediately if you require a vaccination exemption form by emailing
  • Unvaccinated individuals, those with suspected contact with a COVID-positive individual, or anyone experiencing COVID-like symptoms is asked to delay their start date and immediately contact their hiring manager.   
  • All SIP Fellows will be asked to comply with social distancing and wear a mask when required.

Protocols to Manage Covid-19 Risks

Below is the protocol for participants in the SIP Fellows program during the Covid-19 Pandemic 

Does ESA still allow exemptions given the changed conditions with the new variants? ESA will continue to allow exemptions from vaccinations for medical and religious reasons as required by law. Exemption requests must be emailed to at least two weeks before the start of the internship. 

Do we require testing before arrival? Testing is only required for those who are unvaccinated. Selected SIP Fellows that are unvaccinated will be required to show proof of negative test within 72 hours prior to their arrival to the internship site and will have to follow any federal protocols put in place including but not limited to wearing a mask, social distancing, and routine covid testing.

Do vaccinated persons need to wear face masks while working? Face masks may be required to be compliant with CDC and/or federal guidelines and policies. While participating in the SIP Fellows program, consult with your mentor or supervisor to determine whether masks are to be worn since policies may change during your internship. 

Do we require testing if someone has some potential symptoms of covid? Anyone who shows any symptom typical of covid-19 will need to be isolated and tested immediately.

What is our policy on isolation/quarantine if a SIP Fellows participant tests positive? Interns who test positive will be immediately isolated and required to report to the SIP Admin team, the SIP Fellows mentor, and local public health officials to make arrangements for medical attention or extended stay according to the protocols that are in place within the national park unit and/or local public health regulations. 

Do we require testing/quarantine if participants are exposed to a participant who tested positive for covid? Following contact tracing, everyone in close contact with the participant who tested positive will also be required to follow local public health regulations for testing and quarantine as recommended. Those who are fully vaccinated may not be required to self-quarantine. 

What is ESA staff’s responsibility for a participant who tested positive and is away from home?  ESA staff responsibility is limited to ensuring that impacted participants receive the information so they can get tested, report to public health officials, and access local medical care providers. ESA cannot provide any medical advice. 

What is our policy on participants’ expenses for isolation/quarantine? SIP Fellows who are living in park housing will be required to isolate according to the park unit’s quarantine protocols. If housing is needed during quarantine, the SIP Administrative team will support lodging through the duration of the quarantine period.

If you have any further questions or concerns about ESA’s Covid-19 policy, please email