December 4, 2020
Ever since the completion of our Off The Mountain programming during summer 2020, we have been 100% focused on getting back to Camp for summer 2021. During this time, we are learning (and re-learning) constantly! We have:
– Spoken with Counselors who worked at camps that ran in 2020.
– Worked with our other AIJC (Association of Independent Jewish Camps), ACA (American Camp Association), and FJC (Foundation for Jewish Camp) members to discuss summer 2021.
– Been working very closely with the Maryland Department of Health as they prepare regulations for summer 2021.
– Started a Medical Advisory Committee (composed of two physicians, four nurses, and a virologist) to assist our team in preparing for this unique summer.
– Removed Short and Rookie Sessions from the available summer 2021 sessions.
As a result of these discussions, we have determined that – as you would guess – there is much unknown about summer 2021.
However, we are currently making plans for summer 2021 with the current knowledge and guidelines from the CDC, ACA and State of Maryland, assuming that COVID is still in the picture. We have fielded many phone calls around summer 2021 planning and want to share a few common questions we have received with our greater community. All of these answers are subject to modification as we approach summer 2021.
Will we need to quarantine prior to arrival at Camp?
– Pre-camp behavior changes may be required. Some camps in 2020 had pre-camp changes required for two weeks; others for one week. We will be working to better define the time period as we get closer to camp. Changes may include not eating at a restaurant (outdoor or indoor), no unmasked or non-distanced interactions outside of your household, and more.
What testing will be required prior to Camp?
– We expect the options for testing to increase by summer 2021. With the current knowledge, we would likely ask families to have their camper tested with a PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival and bring the negative test result to camp. Additionally, we anticipate performing a rapid test upon arrival at camp (in your car) prior to the camper entering camp.
What will opening day look like?
– While we have not ironed out the details of opening day, parents would likely be given a time window of arrival – to assist in spreading out the arrival of campers. Check in of your camper, including their rapid test, would likely occur at your car window. After your camper has checked in and tested negative, the camper would come into camp with their counselors assisting in unpacking and setting up. To limit the number of people and risk in camp, parents would not be allowed into camp.
How will we ensure counselors are safe to be in a bunk with our children?
– Counselors will arrive at camp two weeks prior to campers. Counselors will be tested upon arrival at camp and again at least once prior to arrival of campers.
How will Camp operate in a “bubble” for each long session?
– Canceling short sessions allows us to reduce the ins and outs of campers during each session. Note that camp will be in a “bubble” for staff as well. Staff will have time off – however most will not leave camp during time off. The very few who have the ability to leave camp will be our drivers – assisting camp by doing local pickups as needed. These drivers will be masked and only have safe interactions during these brief moments out of the bubble.
What will we be doing to monitor campers and staff through camp?
– Each camper and staff member would have their temperature checked and logged daily as well as go through a symptom checking process. The Health Center would follow up with anyone requiring additional review. Additional COVID testing would likely take place during camp as well.
Does a vaccine change anything at this point?
– At this point, it is too early to say. In planning for summer 2021, we are putting the necessary structure in place to help make our campers and staff as safe as possible.
Next summer – more than any other summer in the past – our campers need camp. They need time with their friends, time outside, time away from home, and time away from screens. Thank you for partnering with us to ensure a safe and successful summer for us at Camps Airy & Louise.
We recognize that this subset of frequently asked questions is just a starting point of what you may be asking. While we continue to make preparations for camp, we anticipate emailing again with additional questions/answers mid-February. And – if you have additional questions that you would like to discuss, please feel free to reply to this email and one of us will reach out. We hope your family has a nice start to Hanukkah next week; look out for a newsletter on Tuesday with some activities from Camp!
Jonathan Gerstl, Executive Director, Camps Airy & Louise
Alicia Berlin, Director, Camp Louise
Marty Rochlin, Director, Camp Airy
Neil Berlin, Director of Operations, Camps Airy & Louise