Yes, we're still planning on operating camp this summer! However, we have had to delay our opening to June 28 and reschedule our Session 1 campers into later Sessions and are not accepting additional enrollments at this time. We are still planning to operate Sessions 2-5 and all Explorer sessions during their original dates.
On May 18, 2020, a the American Camp Association and its public health experts published a “Field Guide” for summer camps that provides a set of protocols to make camp a safe place and to give our local health department confidence in our operation. We submitted our own 60-page COVID-19 Adaptation Plan based on that Field Guide to our local health department three days later on May 21st. As of May 25th, we are waiting for a response from out Health Department.
Because of the delays and the timing, we found that the decision about opening on schedule was made for us, which was the reason for rescheduling Session 1 campers.
Notwithstanding this setback, we are are still optimistic about camp this summer. The Health Department had indicated that assuming they continue to have two or fewer cases in the county they could move into the next stage of reopening as soon as June 14. As of May 25, 2020, the county had not had a single case. (See https://www.sierracounty.ca.gov/582/Coronavirus-COVID-19.) And several other states (including Maine and Arizona) have received the go-ahead to operate overnight summer programs.
Pre-Camp: Limiting Your Camper's Exposure to the Virus
Based on the guidance we've received, there are a number of health-related requirements we will implement to keep all our campers and staff as safe as we can. We want to let you know now what those will be in the event that may influence your decision on whether to attend camp this summer.
To minimize the risk of bringing the virus into what we want to be a safe, virus-free bubble, we are going to require everyone, campers and staff, to get tested. Tests are much more available now and becoming more plentiful every day and we understand an at-home kit has recently been approved. (We’re seeking advice on when the test should be taken in relation to your camper's arrival at camp and which tests may be preferred. Stay tuned.)
Sheltering, Limiting Social Contact & Continuing Good Hygiene
Your camper will need to continue to shelter with members of your household for 14 days before arriving at camp. If contact with people outside your household is necessary, minimize that contact (meet outside, stay socially-distanced). If your camper must go out on an essential errand, they should wear a mask and limit any time spent indoors. Practice frequent hand-washing, use gloves if/when needed and use hand sanitizer when hand-washing is not available. Specific guidance can be found at CDC.gov. In essence, continue what you've already been doing for the last couple of months.
Best practices this summer indicate that all campers should avoid public transportation during the two weeks before arrival at camp. Health professionals view public transportation as a substantial risk of importing the virus. This means that everyone will need to drive to camp or, for those who need to fly, must fly to the general area and shelter in place for the two weeks prior to completing their trip to camp by car. We understand that this likely means that several campers will not be able to attend camp this summer and we feel terrible about that fact. But we believe this is the best course.
Symptom Monitoring and Temperature-Taking
Your camper’s temperature will need to be taken and recorded for 14 days prior arrival at Camp. We'll provide a form for you to make note of it each day.
Balance Due Dates and Refund Policy Adjustments
Given the uncertainty that the coronavirus has created in terms of businesses being able to operate and the financial impact on everyone, the Camp has revised its Refund Policy for summer 2020 to help reduce the economic risk of sending your child to summer camp and to provide some peace of mind. Read our updated Refund Policy.
If you have questions in the meantime, feel free to write or call and we’ll reply as soon as we’re able.
Thank you for the trust you’ve placed in us thus far and your remarkable patience! We appreciate this community of campers, families, and staff this season more than ever!