--- Updated as of April 2021 ---
Our Supportive Community During the Year of Covid-19
After the impact of COVID-19 on our decision to suspend operations for summer 2020, we are bracing ourselves for one of the most memorable and reinvented summers ever at camp in 2021. With the acquired knowledge and support from the CDC and American Camp Association, camp will be in a much better position to operate within the guidelines of these agencies, and the guidance of medical professionals, and we recognize that we can open safely, with some practical changes, reasonable modifications, and common sense procedures that we carefully implement to keep everyone healthy.
We will still be the same camp, with the same enthusiasm for what we do. We will cultivate kindness and care in our community of campers and staff, we will not be short of fun, and we will have plenty of program opportunities for all campers to engage and enjoy. WE ARE OPEN for 2021!
Things to expect this summer:
Masking/face coverings. We know that there will be at least some masking times during camp when we will ask you to use face coverings. Our packing list will ask that you send campers with at least 10+ washable cloth masks, and 50 disposable masks (per Two Week Session). Campers can expect programmed activities during the day to be masked for participation where the risk is considered high.
Testing. Final details of our testing plan will not be released until mid-late Spring, however we will ensure you have ample time prior to your campers start date to source a timely and appropriate pre-camp test. For now, prepare to provide proof of a negative PCR COVID test taken between 3-5 days prior to campers’ departure for camp.
PLEASE NOTE – if a camper has tested positive for COVID at least 10 days prior but not more than 90 days prior to camp - in lieu of a pre-camp test, we will want to see that positive test result, and a note from the camper’s physician indicating the camper is symptom free. (Current CDC guidance dictates a COVID test should not be taken within 90 days of a positive COVID test). No campers will be allowed admittance to camp without either the negative test result or physicians note.
PLEASE NOTE – if your camper tests positive in the 10 days prior to camp arrival day, they will not be admitted into camp until they have completed the CDC recommendations for self-isolation https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html. You must call camp to speak with the camp health staff before you will be allowed to travel to camp.
Upon arrival, campers will be tested (test #1), and then tested again 3-5 days after arrival at camp (test #2). Both will be PCR tests. If both tests are negative, we will have established our camp “bubble” and be able to expand our cohorts, relax some of our distancing requirements, and implement fully elective programming.
We will also be using Abbot BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests for screening symptomatic individuals, as well as those considered “close contacts” of presumed positive cases.
Our PCR tests will be analyzed by one of New England’s largest, longest established and most reliable laboratories, Quest Diagnostics.
While we are hoping to offer all testing without additional charge, if circumstances change we may have to institute a testing “surcharge” in the range of $50-125 charged to families to help cover the costs of keeping our community safe.
Sanitation. There will be increased sanitation protocols around camp, on top of our regular cleaning routines. We will be using electrostatic sprayers to help ensure maximum sanitation of communal spaces and bathrooms.
Temperature Checks/Symptom Screening. We will institute daily health screens for the duration of the summer as a community health measure.
Extra Handwashing Stations. We will be setting up additional handwashing and hand sanitation areas around camp.
Large Tents. You will see several large event tents and canopies around camp in spaces you may not have before. We will be using tents for added outdoor space.
Outside Activities. All activities will be done outside in open air as a first choice every time whenever possible. We will aim to have evening activities in the open air most nights, and lots of the activities we have already are done outside. We will increase covered outside spaces using tents.
Vaccines. We know every family must make a choice around vaccines for themselves and for their older, 16+, age-eligible children. We believe strongly in vaccinating for COVID-19 and we have encouraged our staff to obtain a vaccine as soon as they are eligible.
Physical Distancing. Physical distancing requirements will vary throughout the summer, with several considerations (how far we are into a session, activity type and choice, population test status, etc.) dictating physical distancing.
Assigned Seating when Eating. We will ask that when eating (a “high risk” activity), that cabin groups or groups of staff may be assigned to specific tables at meals, and with physical distance between each other.
Cohorting in the first few days of camp. We will be implementing a 5-day cohort model at the start of each session. After the five days and a second round of testing, we will revert to more regular, individual/elective schedules.
Camper Numbers. At the current time, we, like almost all camps, will be lowering enrollment numbers for each session by about 25%.
Health Center. Our health center will be re-configured to optimize space for COVID protocols, and additional space will be reserved for isolation/quarantine if it becomes necessary.
Positive Case of COVID – in the event a camper or staff exhibits symptoms of COVID, or tests positive for COVID, they will immediately be isolated, and CDC guidance followed. Those considered close contacts will be subject to increased screening, including testing and potentially increased distancing. Parents will be encouraged to arrange for private transportation home for the duration of the self-isolation period for positive individuals, but if this is not possible, MTC is fully prepared to isolate positive cases at camp safely.
Arrival/Departure Days. At this time, we have revised our drop off for parents who are driving their campers. We are now permitting parents who drop off their camper a SHORT visit to walk the grounds, and bathroom break. PARENTS MUST BE MASKED AT ALL TIMES for their ENTIRE DROP OFF or PICK UP REGARDLESS OF VACCINE STATUS. Anyone not wearing a mask on arrival day will be asked to leave camp premises immediately. We request that parents/family members (including siblings) who have recently tested positive for COVID or have a recent confirmed contact with someone who is positive for COVID do NOT accompany their camper to camp.
Visitors. At this time, will be having a “NO VISITOR” policy this summer. While we will have some travel to/from camp for select, regularly screened staff who commute or perform camp duties off site, outside of this, there will be no general visitors without exception to keep our “bubble” as safe as possible. We ask your understanding in keeping camp safe.
Pre-Camp Risk Management. We are mentioning this point last, as we know the last point is the one that stands the best chance of being remembered. We will ask that prior to camp families quarantine by remaining in their “bubble” in the 7-10 days leading up to camp attendance. Your bubble is the safety measures you have been following for the last 12 months to keep yourselves and your families safe. We will ask that you do not stray from that bubble and refrain from expanding your families bubble or attending high risk activities in the 10 days prior to camp. High risk activities for COVID exposure include weddings, funerals, indoor graduation ceremonies, indoor concerts/performances, sporting events, and parties. This is the single most important COVID safety measure for our community this summer, and we would ask any families who cannot follow this request contact us immediately to make alternative arrangements for this summer.
With ever changing guidelines, we are staying very much on top of the latest requirements and we have every intention to keep your camper and our community, safe and healthy for the whole summer.
Along with the vaccination rates for the adult population, we are optimistic as we survey several other metrics we use to judge our readiness to re-open:
Testing is now widely and cheaply available. More details below.
Additional data on the transmission rates of COVID among pediatric populations.
Increased demand for summer camp programs places the financial future of the industry on solid footing.
Schools returning to full time instruction.
Calls from national bodies for kids to return to camp and other child focused settings (https://services.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2021/aap-offers-updated-guidance-on-summer-camp-safety-for-children/).
Programming at Camp
Camp programming will take place outside wherever and whenever possible. There are some limited activities that may not be able to operate safely and if this is the case, we will not be utilizing these activities this summer. The majority of our typical camp programming will be done as usual with increased sanitation and precautions. We anticipate a reduction in the capacity of trips out of camp, and will remove some of our trip options for this summer if they cannot operate safely.
Alterations in our elective schedule will take place in the first 5-6 days of camp, with cohorts being the safest option before testing on the fifth day.
We know that there will be a focus on safe socialization of teens and we will pay particular attention to protocols with regard to necessary face coverings, sanitation, and social distancing where appropriate.
Our program offers a variety of shorter sessions, considering the often busy schedules of teens and their families. We will review what is needed to keep campers safe, requiring face coverings, sanitation, and social distancing if we cannot meet CDC guidelines around quarantining in a camp “bubble”.
Our program has a uniquely wonderful international population and with that, come travel struggles to the USA. We do anticipate entry will be possible with negative COVID test and/or vaccination.
ACA Standards, Risk Assessment, Emergency Preparedness, and Wellness
ACA and Risk Management: As always, we are an accredited camp facility, with regular standards visits, and certifications. We operate with care and caution always, and with attention to our ACA standards every summer. We are constant risk assessors, who take care to evaluate our entire facility and program to keep your campers safe. We consult annually with our insurance company and state inspectors to meet and achieve high standards of care for our community.
Staffing Our Camp: We interview and reference check all new staff. We perform full background verifications on all staff annually. We have a 10 day staff training prior to the summer for all staff and continuously provide feedback and evaluations of staff in specialized areas. We hire more staff than we need, to retain only the best staff we can offer your campers. We have many staff who hold expertise and certifications in outdoor education, teaching degrees, healthcare degrees, and other professional organizations. Staff must be at least 21 to drive our camp vehicles and are driver tested for safety. We keep high staff ratios to make supervision of our upmost importance.
Emergency Preparedness: Each summer we have a “Crisis Team” on staff, who evaluate and assess, and practice emergency procedures. We host an Emergency Preparedness Consultant, whose job it is to train our staff on situational awareness and risk assessment. We review our procedures and policies annually to keep up to date on changing conditions in our own community, but also in the larger community outside of camp. We have a full-time EMT on staff, who also maintains important community relations with our emergency medical services of fire, police, and ambulance. Our healthcare “standing orders” are reviewed each year by our local health center physician, and our policies and procedures are reviewed by a consulting team of physicians.
Medical Safety Consultants: We will take care in selecting our team of medical consultants, from local area physicians, to our own camp nurses, everyone will be taking an active role in prevention and keeping our community safe.
Community Wellness: Our healthcare team will run seamlessly to welcome your campers on opening day with temperature and wellness checks. We will ask families to quarantine their campers in their “bubble” just prior to arrival and provide negative results of a pre-camp COVID test, with careful vigilance around signs and symptoms of infection. We will increase efforts to sanitize and pay special attention to general camper hygiene. Handwashing stations will be in abundance and regular cleaning of communal spaces will increase.
We will focus also on tick bite prevention, reminding our community of routine “tick checks” and application of tick and mosquito prevention products. We will focus on other wellness aspects of camp life, including emphasis on adequate sleep, healthy food choices, hydration, exercise, and healthy social interactions. We always encourage and facilitate good mental and physical health at camp.
Links to Best Practices for your Consideration:
These best practices provide guidance and recommendations for protocols, policies, and other “non-pharmaceutical interventions” (NPI’s) shown to be effective in preventing the spread of COVID in residential summer camp settings. This guidance covers all aspects of the camp operation – food service, infirmary, programming, transportation, cabin life, emergency procedures, and staffing.