Camp & COVID-19 (Updated 4/21/2021)
We are looking forward to an amazing summer of 2021! Please see below for an overview of our COVID safety plan. This page provides a summary of the plan. You can see our full COVID Safety Manual using the link at the bottom of this page.
Our safety plan has three primary components:
- Creating a Bubble: We will keep COVID out to the extent possible through appropriate screening and double-testing prior to the summer, with the ultimate goal of creating a bubble in the camp community.
- Limiting the Spread of Germs: To limit the spread of germs within camp, we will regularly clean and sanitize the facility, require frequent handwashing, maintain camp families/pods so each bunk is its own self-contained unit within the larger camp community, and require masks during unstructured transition times and other periods where germs may spread.
- Reacting Appropriately: If a camper or staff member tests positive for COVID, then they will go home until the symptoms resolve, they have a negative test at home, and they have a subsequent negative rapid test at camp.
DISCUSSION OF STRATEGIES
Screening, Testing, and Creating a Bubble
A key part of our safety plan involves creating a bubble in the camp community. This means that every camper and staff member will receive a test at home prior to arriving to camp, and then they will receive a rapid test at the entrance of our facility before entering camp.
Every person who enters the facility, such as our food delivery drivers, will also answer screening questions and receive a temperature check prior to being allowed in.
Moreover, our staff will stay on camp for their days off this summer. Of course, they will have time off as they always do, but their time off will be spent in camp rather than outside of the camp community. This will ensure the integrity of our camp bubble throughout the summer.
Social Distancing Outside of Camp Families
Each unit within camp will be its own pod that travels together throughout the day. In the first week of camp, each bunk will start as its own pod. We will administer a COVID test on day five of camp. Once we have the results, the pods will become the size of one unit (typically four bunks). Within pods, campers will not need to maintain social distancing. However, distancing will be very important to maintain between pods. One pod will always stay distanced from others, and campers who are not in the same pod will maintain distance at all times.
Cleaning and Sanitizing
We will have enhanced cleaning and sanitizing around the camp facility throughout the summer. High-touch surfaces will be cleaned frequently throughout the day, and all parts of the facility will be disinfected regularly using EPA-approved disinfectants. We will have a dedicated cleaning and disinfection team all summer.
We will also eliminate high-touch surfaces when possible. This means doors will be propped, garbage cans will be foot-actuated or lid-free, and water fountains will be turned off. Athletic and other shared equipment will either travel with each camp family or be fully disinfected between each family’s use.
Safety at Meals
We will eat in shifts, which will enable us to separate tables in the dining room and ensure adequate distancing between families. We will also have our dining room ventilation running at all times and windows and doors open at all times.
Meals will be served by our kitchen staff from behind fiberglass partitions. Campers will be called by bunk to be served, and they will wear a mask whenever they walk across the dining room to get their food. We will not have drink or condiment dispensers available to minimize common touchpoints. Also, no flyers or decorative objects will be placed on tables to facilitate thorough cleaning and disinfection between each meal.
All campers and staff will follow a number of key hygiene rules, on which everybody will be trained before and during the summer. These include the following:
- Campers and staff will frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds each time.
- Campers and staff will frequently use hand sanitizer between handwashings. Sanitizer stations will be available around camp.
- Campers and staff will cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, throw out the tissue immediately after use, and then wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Campers and staff will maintain appropriate distance from others who are not in their pod.
- Campers and staff will avoid touching frequently-touched surfaces such as handles, doorknobs, tables, and counters whenever possible.
- Campers and staff will not share clothing or other personal items.
- Campers and staff will immediately let their counselor or supervisor know if they feel sick.
- Campers and staff will wear masks whenever they are around people outside of their pod.
Following All Relevant Guidelines and Best Practices
As we finalize our written COVID Safety Plan, we are committed to following all relevant guidelines, regulations, and best practices. We are taking a number of key materials into account:
- CDC guidelines for overnight camps;
- the American Camp Association Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance; and
- Pennsylvania regulations.
In addition, we have closely followed the few overnight camps that did open in 2020 to assess which safety practices worked.
Travel to Camp
All campers will be driven to camp this summer. We will not be able to offer buses so that we can maintain distinct camp families (bunks) and not mix together large groups of kids. For campers who typically fly in, they must be vigilant in mask-wearing, social distancing, and good hygiene during their travels. The only airlines that should be used are those that maintain significant distance between passengers.
* * *
Ultimately, our goal is to create the safest possible experience in 2021 for our campers and our staff. Based on everything we knew in June of 2020, we were not in a position to open camp safely. Based on everything we know now, we are moving full-speed ahead with planning for a safe, memorable, and amazing summer of 2021.
Will camp be a bubble this summer?
We’re sure there’s a camp song that’s yet to be written about living in a bubble… Anyway… Yes! As much as possible, we’ll make sure camp is a bubble this summer. We plan to test everyone from home before they come to camp and then again when they arrive to camp. We will also test everyone five days into camp. We won’t have anyone coming or going from camp this summer, so we can make sure that we’re a happy, self-contained, and COVID-safe community.
Does that mean we need to schedule a test before camp?
We’ve got you covered! We’re working with a company that will send each family a test directly. You’ll take it at home, and then send it out by mail for results. This means no extra trips to a testing facility. We’ll have more details about this as we get closer to summer.
We read the tests aren’t flawless…
Well, that’s certainly true. Tests are a huge help to opening safely, but they can’t be the only thing we do to open safely.
…And that’s where pods come in?
Yes! We’re sure there’s a song to be written here too… Each bunk will be its own pod this summer. Bunk life will be the way it always has been: 12 bestest friends will sing songs together, have gaga pit showdowns, work on art projects, and have all the usual bunk bonding and fun. What will be a little different this summer is that we won’t have mixing between bunks the way we normally do.
Will campers still have choice?
Absolutely! While we won’t have individual electives when camp starts, our bunks will have bunk choice activities where campers will decide together what to focus on. And also, the pods might get BIGGER…
The pods might get bigger???
We will administer a COVID test on the fifth day of camp. Assuming all tests come back negative, our pods will become the size of a unit (about four bunks). That will allow campers to choose electives and engage with kids outside of their bunk, as we do in a typical summer, once we get past the first week of each session.
Will campers wear masks?
Campers will not wear masks when they’re in their bunks with their pods, or when doing certain outdoor activities with their bunkmates. And we’re shifting as many activities as possible outside this summer! That means lots of new open air tents. Campers will wear masks if they’re indoors, or near campers or staff from other bunks.
What will meals look like?
We know our food is a highlight of camp for so many campers and staff! We will still have the amazing menu that we always offer with a huge variety of options. Our Executive Manager, Laurie, has been creating delicious menus all year and can’t wait to wow the campers with her gourmet creations. To keep everything safe, we’ll be eating in shifts this summer and spreading tables far apart. Our kitchen staff will serve food from behind a clear partition. Otherwise, meals will be the same as always.
Hmmm, so this means no buses this summer, huh?
Yes, that’s right. Since buses mean many different campers from different bunks mixing together in close proximity, we can’t have buses this summer. That means campers who normally take the bus will need to be driven to camp. We plan to go back to our usual transportation options in 2022.
How will the bubble work for staff?
This summer, nobody will be coming and going from camp like usual. For example, that means that our amazing staff will stay on camp for their time off. They’ll have a weekly day off and night off like they do every summer. The only difference is that they’ll spend that time at camp. We will also have an extra-long staff orientation so we can establish a bubble before the first camper even arrives to camp. Of course, staff will be double tested before arrival just like the campers and we’re testing everyone again five days into staff orientation.
Will campers have to quarantine before camp starts? How about staff?
We will not be requiring families to quarantine at home prior to camp as long as they are driving to us and coming from a domestic location. A mandatory quarantine is not practical with so many families who have school and work obligations that wouldn’t allow them to stay home for 10 days. Our staff will have a strict 10-day quarantine coupled with multiple PCR tests before the campers arrive to ensure that we have established a bubble before the first camper steps foot into camp.
Will siblings see each other during camp?
Yes, absolutely! Siblings will be able to see each other and will social distance during their visits. So they can absolutely hang out during camp, but they’ll save the hugs until returning home.
Where can we see the full COVID Safety Manual?
For our precise details and processes, here is a link to our COVID Safety Manual.