Since last August, we have been busy working to implement plans regarding COVID testing and safety measures for camp in 2021.
WE ARE LEARNING THROUGH:
-Personally hearing from many overnight camps that ran in 2020 COVID-outbreak-free
-Several camp director groups and classes on this topic
-American Camp Association Field Guide in coordination with the CDC
-Personal consultation with Dr. Laura Blaisdell, who is a camp doctor as well as a pediatrician and public health expert, and author of a research study about camps that ran in Maine in 2020 successfully
-We urge all campers ages who are ages 12+ to get vaccinated as soon as possible (Pfizer vaccine is now cleared for ages 12+).
-We are glad to report that almost all of our staff members have already been vaccinated, and we are highly encouraging it for all staff.
-We urge our campers’ parents/guardians to get vaccinated as soon as possible, as this will help greatly in reducing transmission at home and into camp.
WHAT WILL BE THE SAME AS ALWAYS AT HARBOR CAMPS IN 2021?
-Friendship, community, and confidence-building with other youth who are transgender and/or non-binary
-Activities on land and in the lake: arts & crafts, field/court sports, archery, rock climbing, swimming, paddle boarding, canoeing/kayaking, tubing, drama, music, low elements
-Evening activities, including campfires
-Awesome counselors as role-models
-Device-free, face-to-face interactions, bonds, and games (KIDS NEED THIS MORE THAN EVER!)
-Being in a place where others understand you, like nowhere else!
WHAT WILL BE DIFFERENT AT HARBOR CAMPS IN 2021?
-Being together for dining and many activities with other campers in smaller cohorts:
-Cohorts will consists of 1 bunk (about 8 campers and 2 counselors) for the first 5-6 days for our multi-week camps, and then 2 bunks may cohort together once cleared by further negative testing of campers and staff
-At family camp, cohorts will consist of 2-4 families
-Social distancing/masking around other cohorts
-More handwashing and hand sanitizing
-Getting tested for COVID-19 before and during camp (we’ll keep you up to date on the testing type)
-Dining outside under tents
-Other procedures may change and will take a little getting used to
MAIN AREAS OF COVID READINESS & PREPARATION:
Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs):
-Pre-screening, including PCR COVID testing
-Masks when necessary
-Physical distancing when outside of cohort
-Camp healthcare team (increase in size)
-Communicable Disease Plan: updating for COVID with help of experts, including isolation, quarantine, and communication plans
RECENTLY, THE CDC UPDATED ITS GUIDANCE FOR OVERNIGHT CAMPS:
We had already put into place almost all of this guidance, as New Hampshire has been stricter than most states.
A couple of notable updates the CDC guidance brings up:
-CDC says to practice low-risk behavior for two weeks prior to camp. New Hampshire has included school and day camps that are following safety guidelines in the category of low-risk activities.
-CDC says to test campers after getting home, which we may recommend to families.
CAN HARBOR CAMPS GUARANTEE A COMPLETELY COVID-FREE CAMP SEASON?
-We cannot; as you are aware, no one can. COVID may even be more prevalent in younger populations than it was last year due to new strains and the inability to vaccinate kids yet. We want families and staff to make informed decisions based on as much information as we can provide, as well as their own comfort level.
For more information on travel policies and details pertaining to Harbor Camps’ COVID-readiness plans, email Director Nick Teich at firstname.lastname@example.org.