We have spent the better part of the last year building what we believe to be the best possible plan for protecting against and managing COVID-19 should it enter camp. It is important to understand that there is never a guarantee when it comes to this virus. We are implementing all sorts of safeguards and redundancies to keep COVID-19 out of camp, but we are operating this summer with the understanding that we could very well have one or more positive cases. We definitely believe that the summer of 2021 will be a successful one, but what success looks like could mean different things to different people. To us success is not exclusively about having zero cases of COVID-19 in camp this summer. Success is recognizing positive cases and managing them in a way that keeps the vast majority of the camp community from contracting the virus. As it happens, the vast majority of the camp community will be vaccinated, so some safeguards are already built in. Having said all of that, we have a fluid and developing playbook that has grown into a seventy page manual. Where this content will be of significant value to us internally, we felt that it would be best to sum up some of our plans in a digestible Q&A format for our families and staff. If your questions stretch beyond the data and info outlined below, please feel free to reach out to us at any time to discuss.
How serious of a risk does camp believe COVID-19 to be at this point?
We believe that COVID-19 still poses a risk under certain circumstances. In a congregate living environment like camp, where many people are still going to be unvaccinated, it’s important that we not let our guard down. We understand that the majority of our community will be vaccinated, we also understand that the majority of those unvaccinated are in a low risk demographic, but we would obviously rather keep this and all other viruses out of camp this summer. That is why we are being aggressive about our plans and policies surrounding the pandemic.
The only way to get our campers back into the woods, is to recognize that we are not yet out of the woods.
Will camp be a “bubble” this summer?
We will be operating this summer in as traditional a way as possible. That said, in order to do our best to prevent the introduction or spread of COVID-19, we will need to make some structural changes to our overall operation. Camp as a whole will be in a “bubble.” Essentially what this means is that individuals from outside of our immediate camp community (be they vaccinated or not) will not be allowed into camp under almost any circumstance. Obviously we will need such people to deliver our food, collect our trash and fill our gas tanks, but there will be conditions placed on these individuals, and they will have no contact with campers. They will have limited contact with select staff (eg our caretaker). There will be exceptions to where Chippewa staff will leave the bubble (clinic visits, time off permissions, etc…), but those circumstances will be handled on a case by case basis, and safety measures will be implemented to limit risk exposure. The bubble will remain in place for the entirety of the 2021 camp season, but this factor should not really impact our campers at all!
How long will our daughter be in her gateway cohort?
Cabins will remain in their cohorts until the day six tests have been completed, and providing we are “in the clear,” the plan will be to cautiously lift many of our internal restrictions. Meaning that campers will then be able to be with other campers and staff in a much more familiar fashion.
What if my daughter’s pre camp shield test comes back positive?
If your daughter tests positive for COVID-19 before camp, we will reach out (likely late that evening), to notify you of this outcome. From there we will discuss her options for getting to camp. As of now this will include following the CDC positive case guidelines- ten days of isolation from the start of her symptoms OR from the date of the positive test, and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications, and with improvement of other symptoms. Plus we would need a note from her doctor indicating that it would be appropriate for her to enter our camp community. The best way to prevent this from happening would be to quarantine for the full seven days leading up to camp. If your daughter is close to the end of her vaccination cycle at the time of her positive result, we will likely use a multi test approach to verify accuracy (the “2 out of 3” method).
What will happen if a camper or staff member experiences symptoms associated with COVID-19 while at camp?
Should a camper become symptomatic during the summer we will isolate her in our COVID-19 Screening Center (traditionally known as “The Doctor’s Inn”), where she will go through our testing protocol and be treated according to her symptoms. Her cabin mates will also be isolated until we have her test results, and if necessary they will be tested as well. Proper isolation and sanitization steps will be taken, and parents will be notified and kept up-to-date.
What will happen if my daughter tests positive from the day 3 or day 6 test?
Should this happen the same precautions will be taken as in the previous question, however, in this case she will be considered definitively positive based upon the strength and sophistication of the Shield PCR test. Full positive test protocols will be initiated.