*UPDATED APRIL 28, 2021*
DID YOU KNOW? About 30 overnight camps ran in New Hampshire & Maine in summer 2020 without COVID outbreaks, and we continue to learn directly from them. We are busy working to implement plans regarding 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
SOME REQUIREMENTS TO KNOW ABOUT:
- COVID testing: campers must take a PCR-based Covid test just before camp and participate in only low-risk activities between the time they take the test until they arrive at camp. Some places have test results back in 24 hours, and some take several days, depending on your area. You will have to be aware of the timeline so that you can produce a negative result before the camper departs home to come to camp. Camper will then receive further testing on arrival day and, for those staying 7 days or longer, weekly after that.
- Campers must travel to camp in the most direct way possible. That means driving directly from home to camp, or, if you live very far away, that might mean a flight and then taking camp’s bus or a rental car (if you are accompanying your child on the flight).
- Every camper must have an emergency contact who can come to camp within 48 hours in the event that a camper tests positive for COVID.
WHAT WILL BE THE SAME AS ALWAYS AT OUR CAMPS IN 2021?
- Friendship, community, and confidence-building
- 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
- Delicious food
- 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 OUR 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, and then, for our multi-week camps, 2 bunks may cohort together once cleared by further negative testing of campers and staff
- At family camps, 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
*We aren’t 100% sure yet, but it is good to expect these changes as of this update.
MAIN AREAS OF COVID READINESS & PREPARATION**:
Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs):
- Pre-screening, including PCR COVID testing
- Outdoors/well-ventilated spaces
- Hand hygiene
- Masks when not in cohorts
- Physical distancing
- Camp healthcare team (increase in size)
- Communicable Disease Plan: updating for COVID with help of experts, including isolation, quarantine, and communication plans
**subject to change as more information becomes available
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.
HOW MIGHT THE NEW STRAINS OF COVID AFFECT CAMP?
- The new strains of COVID are certainly concerning. However, at this time, the new strains do not change our detailed plans and safety measures. We will be keeping up to date.
- These new strains underscore the need for our families, campers, and staff to commit to staying safe and vigilant prior to camp.
REGARDING NEW HAMPSHIRE REGULATIONS:
- We expect the State of New Hampshire to come out with additional updated regulations in the early spring and we will update enrolled families as well as this page.
- Though vaccines will likely not be available for children by summer, we are glad to have been cleared to give letters to our staff so that they can get a COVID vaccine when childcare workers are eligible in their home state (some have already gotten it).
- We urge our CITs/older campers ages 16+ to get vaccinated prior to camp if at all possible (Pfizer vaccine is cleared for ages 16+)
CAN WE GUARANTEE A COMPLETELY COVID-FREE CAMP?
- 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 our COVID-readiness plans, email Director Nick Teich at email@example.com.
NEW CAMPERS: APPLY TODAY
RETURNING CAMPERS: REGISTER TODAY