Awosting & Chinqueka 2021 Covid Update – May 27, 2021
As we have all learned from this past year, Covid19 is a moving target. Here is what we know so far:
Awosting and Chinqueka were not allowed to operate in the summer of 2020, but our two day camps were. They were two of the only day camps to operate in our area in 2020, and did so safely and successfully. As summer 2021 approaches, we look forward to having our campers back at our resident camps to enjoy a fun-filled summer while keeping our campers and staff safe.
We anticipate that many of these guidelines and restrictions will be changed, relaxed or eliminated entirely in the coming weeks/months. The following is a list of restrictions and program adaptations that will be in place, along with what changes we intend to make if restrictions are relaxed. These policies will most likely remain the same for the duration of the summer. If and when guidelines are updated then we will make changes accordingly.
Our overall goal this summer will be to keep the kids outside, keep facilities and equipment as clean as possible, and limit close contacts. And of course we are going to have fun!
Dates of Camp
Prior to Camp:
Everyone will be required to provide proof of a negative PCR Covid19 test which was completed within 72 hours prior to arrival at camp. This remains unchanged, whether the camper is vaccinated or unvaccinated, per our camp physician.
Our health center, kitchen, and all other camp staff members will be thoroughly trained in the latest Covid19 protocols and the importance of our safety and wellness measures.
Travel During the Summer & CT’s Travel Advisory
Parents should refer to Governor Lamont’s travel advisory at https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus/travel before traveling this summer. A quarantine upon return to the state is no longer required but is recommended. All air passengers (regardless of vaccination status) arriving in the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States. More information on the international travel requirement here.
We encourage families to follow the guidelines in place. We are relying on our families to make informed and cautious decisions when making their plans for this summer. If engaging in high-risk activities or traveling by air, we urge families to follow the recommended testing and quarantine protocols.
We will not be providing any transportation to/from camp this summer. Parents/guardians are expected to bring their camper to camp. We are currently working on the pick up and drop off schedule, which will be published and emailed to you by June 10. We are asking that parents and campers be prepared to do a “kiss and go” type of drop off – parents will be asked to stay in their vehicles and say goodbye to their camper in the car. Staff members will remove the camper’s trunk and other belongings from the car, campers will exit the vehicle and be given a covid health screening, then will follow the staff member to the cabin. Parents will not be allowed to accompany their camper to the cabin.
When at Camp:
While at camp: All campers and staff will be tested upon arrival and once a week thereafter. Testing will be provided by Back to Work Solutions, which bills through your health insurance. Awosting and Chinqueka will be sending you a link provided by the testing company. You will create a login and complete a telehealth visit and authorize your camper to be tested while at camp. The tests are PCR tests and we expect results back for the entire camp in 24-48 hours. Many questions/concerns have arisen regarding insurance companies covering “surveillance testing” while at camp. The medical director of the testing company has assured us that since the testing being done at camp is being done as a prescription from a physician, this is not considered surveillance testing, but is considered like any other laboratory test and should be covered by insurance plans. Whether your plan pays or not you will not be out of pocket for these tests. Funding is provided by insurance companies, the federal government, and Ebner Camps. A video explaining billing in detail will be sent to parents with the telehealth link.
We will also be providing free PCR tests from Quest, for campers or staff with suspected Covid19 symptoms while at camp.
While we are doing everything we can to have no COVID cases at camp this summer, we do also recommend you get your campers tested the day you pick them up and again 4-5 days after returning home from camp to be sure.
The State of CT can not require staff to receive the vaccine. We encourage our staff to be vaccinated prior to camp.
Now that the FDA has allowed for children aged 12-15 to be vaccinated prior to camp opening, it is our recommendation that all 12-15 year old campers get vaccinated.
As current guidelines require continued limited indoor dining, We will be modifying how we serve meals to facilitate mostly outdoor dining, seated in cohorts/pods. We have procured tents for both camps where a majority of our campers will be able to sit outside for mealtimes.
Meals will be served cafeteria style by our amazing kitchen staff. The campers will come into the service area by cohort and walk through the cafe line, then go to their assigned cabin table. While we will not be able to enjoy our copious salad bar as in years past, we will have salad bar options available on the buffet line, Salad bar will be available but served by our kitchen staff instead of self serve, as well as our popular pasta station. We will still be able to accommodate dietary restrictions as noted on camper medical forms.
- Masks will be required when we are in large group settings, shared spaces, indoors (except cabins) and climbing the
- Masks will not be required while outdoors, swimming, eating, drinking, sleeping, and
New CT guidelines state that all staff are no longer required to wear masks outdoors. Saff will be asked to maintain social distancing guidelines; when they cannot, such as when harnessing a camper in the ropes activity, they will be asked to wear a mask. If this mandate for staff is lifted, they will follow the same mask policy as stated above for campers. Campers should come to camp with at least 14 washable masks labeled with their name. Masks must have ear loops or ties behind the head. Bandanas & gaiters are not permitted. We will have disposable masks available if needed.
We will be implementing wellness checks at meals each day by cohort. The wellness check will consist of a temperature check and standard Covid wellness questions, administered by our health team. Staff will undergo the same screening process daily.
Social Distancing & Cohorting
Social distancing will continue to be encouraged at camp. Our activity instructors will generally maintain a 3’ distance from all other staff and campers whenever possible. A cohort system, keeping campers in the same groups as much as possible, will be in place. The current cohort limit is 20 campers. State of CT guidelines no longer have a limit on group/cohort size. However, in order to keep our campers as safe as we can, we will still combine 2 cabins of 10 or less into a cohort for swimming and other activities. For morning activities, camp will run the same as always with cabins going to assigned activities with their cabin group. We anticipate that regulations may allow for larger cohort groups and some mixing between camper groups. Examples of this include shared free time space and limited elective periods. We do not think all-camp games or special events are likely for 2021, including events between Awosting and Chinqueka, unless noted below. If our camp physician believes it is safe to visit, we will explore opportunities to bring the camps together safely during the summer.
Handwashing & Personal Hygiene
Campers and staff will be required to sanitize or wash their hands before and after each meal, upon arrival at every activity area, when leaving each activity, before entering the bathroom and after using the bathroom, and after coughing or sneezing. New hand washing stations have been installed outside of each dining hall and each activity area will have a hand sanitizing station. CDC recommendations regarding covering coughs and sneezes will be followed.
Cleaning & Sanitizing
High touch surfaces will be cleaned periodically throughout the day. This includes railings, door knobs, bathrooms, etc… We will limit the use of shared equipment to the extent possible based on the activity. For example, markers will likely be necessary for art projects and will be sanitized after each use. However, community costumes & props in performing arts will be very limited or not used at all. In some activities, sanitizing “low touch” items like a climbing harness is not possible between users. In this case, the camper will be required to sanitize their hands immediately before putting on the harness and again before entering the ropes course. They will then sanitize again before removing the harness.
Specific policies regarding every piece of equipment at every activity are in place and the staff are trained on these policies. These examples are meant to give you an idea of the various methods we will be using to prevent the spread of germs.
Campers will be allowed to swim in the lake with their cohort. Multiple cohorts will be using the lake at the same time but involved in different activities to maintain proper physical distancing. At the lake, high touch surface will be cleaned between groups. Towels will still be provided.
Activities & Electives
We do not anticipate offering traditional electives in 2021, however, we are planning to implement some choice into the camper’s schedules and will be offering a modified elective schedule. We will be focusing on outdoor activities this summer. We have a few activity areas that cannot be run outdoors where campers and staff will have to wear masks, such as woodworking at Awosting and photography at both camps. All activities will be run with guidelines in place for reducing touch points, limited use of shared equipment, and additional cleaning and sanitation.
Our elective program will evolve/adjust to provide the best camp experience for all campers.
We anticipate that gathering inside will still be strongly discouraged. With that in mind both camps have adequate space for cohorts to continue camp activities safely. In light or short periods of rain, activities will proceed as usual as we have done in previous years. Campers and staff will wear masks while inside. During very heavy rain or thunderstorms, campers and staff will report to their cabins.
Offsite Trips & Visiting Day
To better protect our camp community, we will not be offering large scale trips off camp for the summer of 2021. This includes senior trips, Lake Compounce, and all-camp socials. We are going to have socials, just by age groups, outdoors and masked up, so we limit the number of campers interacting. We are planning small off campus activities, like hikes to Mt. Tom State Park or other state parks and campouts.
For those campers who will be with us for 4, 6 or 8 weeks we expect we will only be able to provide virtual visits this summer, in order to keep our camp community as safe as possible. More information regarding visiting days will be sent just prior to camp. you will be allowed to visit on our regular Sunday visiting days (7/4, 7/18, 8/1) with the following requirements:
- Parents/guardians ONLY, maximum of 2 people
- Proof of negative PCR test completed 72 hours is required before visiting for all
- Masks must be worn while you are visiting on camp
- We ask that you follow all State of CT guidelines regarding current mask protocols while outside of
If you choose not to visit or cannot make it for visiting day, alternative plans have been made for campers to have virtual visits with their families. We will also provide some awesome fun activities for the campers to enjoy that day.
In order to reduce the number of campers entering the health center, campers who need to see the nurse will knock on the door and be met outside to be pre-screened before entering. We have designated isolation areas, separate from the health center, for any camper or staff member exhibiting symptoms of Covid19. Our isolation areas are separate cabins located near each health center and will be supervised by a nurse. If a camper is required to stay overnight in isolation, a vaccinated staff member will be assigned to stay with them. Each of these cabins has lavatory facilities, including showers.
Our camp physician will be available to our camp nurses for tele-health visits, should a camper need to “see” the doctor. This will alleviate the need for campers and the nurse to actually go to the doctor’s office.
Covid Symptoms & Positive Results
From February 2020, camps are obligated to immediately report cases of COVID-19 infection to the Connecticut Department of Public Health and to the local department of health by telephone on the day of recognition or strong suspicion of the disease. At that time, we would work directly with the Department of Public Health to determine if any other campers or staff meet the guidelines for having been in close contact with the infected person in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset or the test being taken. In the event that a camper or staff member tests positive, parents of campers enrolled in that session will be notified even if that camper or staff member was not in close contact with your child.
The following symptoms are known to be associated with Covid 19: cough, shortness of breath, fever of 100 or more, chills, diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat, unexplained muscle pains or a new loss of taste or smell.
- If a camper becomes ill with only one of the symptoms listed, the camper may remain at camp in our isolation room for 24 hours. We will contact the parent/guardian for authorization to perform a PCR test immediately. If after 24 hours the camper shows improvement, they can remain in the isolation room until a negative test result is confirmed. If after 24 hours symptoms have not improved, the camper will be required to be picked up within 8
- If a camper becomes ill with two or more of those symptoms while at camp, the camper will be isolated and one of the following will happen:
- If the camper is fully vaccinated, they will be isolated and the parent or emergency contact will be contacted to give authorization for our nurse to administer a PCR test If the test results are negative and the camper is feeling better, they will be allowed back into their cohort. If they are not feeling better by then the test results return, parents will be asked to come collect their camper. If the test results are positive, the camper must be picked up within 8 hours.
- If the camper has not been vaccinated, they will be isolated and the parent or emergency contact will be contacted to give authorization for our nurse to administer a PCR test If the test results are negative and the camper is feeling better, they will be allowed back into their cohort. If they are not feeling better by then the test results return, parents will be asked to come collect their camper. If the test results are positive, the camper must be picked up within 8 hours
- Any case where the camper goes home, if symptoms remain mild, Covid19 is not suspected and symptoms last less than 48 hours, the camper can return to camp 24 hours after the last symptom resolves without the use of medication and there is a negative PCR test If symptoms last for more than 48 hours, the camper will need a doctor’s note to return to camp. If Covid 19 is suspected, the pediatrician will provide you with further details about how to proceed. If your pediatrician indicates that there is a strong suspicion that your camper has Covid 19, you must contact the camp immediately.
- If a member of a cabin cohort tests positive for Covid 19, that person will be sent The rest of the cabin will be allowed to remain at camp with the following restrictions and understandings:
- The cabin cohort will be “isolated” from the rest of camp by eating meals in a separate
- The cabin cohort will participate in all activities fully-masked and separate from other cabin groups until two PCR tests come back negative for the entire cabin
- If any remaining member of the cohort tests positive, the whole group will be sent home for testing and quarantine*. In this case, a credit for days missed due to quarantine will be refunded at the end of the summer or you can choose to roll it over to summer 2022.
- The cabin cohort will be PCR tested every other
*staff members and campers who have been fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine after exposure unless they become symptomatic.
It is recommended that all campers returning home from summer camp be tested 3-5 days after returning home. If your camper tests positive after camp, please call the camp office as soon as possible. If we get a report that someone in your camper’s cabin cohort has tested positive after returning home, we will contact you immediately.