Road Map to a Healthy & Safe Summer
We are excited to get back to camp this summer and look forward to welcoming everyone home on June 26th! As the countdown to summer continues, we want to keep our Camp Wayne families informed regarding our current plans for Summer 2021. Below is an overview of our anticipated COVID-19 protocols which were developed with guidance from medical professionals, the American Camp Association (ACA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. While some aspects of camp operations will look different this summer, we know one thing will remain the same – we will provide everyone with an unforgettable (and safe!) summer at camp for seven weeks.
Due to the ever-changing landscape of COVID testing, treatments, vaccines, and community infection rates, our protocols will evolve as needed and are SUBJECT TO CHANGE. If you have any concerns about the upcoming summer please feel free to call us so we can have a more detailed discussion.
Our goal this summer is to create a COVID-free environment to allow our campers and staff to enjoy ‘camp as usual.’ Reaching that goal requires cooperation from our camp families as we approach the start of camp as well as implementing non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) that proved to be successful in the resident camp setting in 2020.
Our plan is to develop specific protocols for pre-camp screening, coordinated arrivals to camp, onsite surveillance testing, cohort-based programming, the use of masks and social distancing between cohorts, enhanced sanitization protocols, and as much outdoor programming as possible. While we will continue to practice some of these NPIs throughout the summer, our hope is that we will be able to gradually expand our cohort size, unmask, and eventually come together as one large cohort within our ‘controlled campus.’
We are counting on our families to do their part in helping to keep COVID out of camp, and that begins at home. Campers and staff will be asked to exercise caution when interacting with those outside of their household, as well as monitor their daily health prior to camp. Every camper and staff member will be required to provide the results of a negative PCR test prior to their arrival to camp. Specific pre-camp protocols will be shared when it gets closer to camp.
Onsite surveillance testing will occur throughout the summer, and campers and staff displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will have access to rapid testing with a 15-20 min turnaround time (Camp Wayne is an FDA certified CLIA-Waived Clinical Laboratory) and to PCR testing with less than a 24-hour turnaround. If a camper tests positive for COVID at camp, parents will need to arrange to have their child picked up as soon as possible. We will be happy to welcome that child back to camp 10 days later as long as he/she is fever free, symptoms are improving and has medical clearance. If travel distance is a concern, please speak with a camp director to discuss an alternative plan.
We’ve always considered a bunk to be ‘a family’ at camp, and family cohorting is essential in minimizing the potential for spreading the virus and being able to contact trace if necessary. Therefore, campers will cohort by bunk at the start of the summer. They will participate in daily activities and eat meals with their assigned cohort. When campers and staff interact with anyone at camp outside of their cohort, they will either remain outdoors, wear a mask and/or maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet. We are fortunate to have hundreds of beautiful acres of campground and have come up with creative ways for the campers to enjoy most activities outdoors!
There will be a multi-phased approach to expanding cohort sizes, with the ultimate goal of having Camp Wayne for Boys and Camp Wayne for Girls operating as one ‘controlled campus.’ There will be brother/sister/cousin events and social activities as long as our campus-wide testing results remain negative. If needed, we can arrange a safe visit for campers requiring support from a sibling prior to the two camps coming together.
At the start of the camp season, meals will be served with mitigation strategies in place. We anticipate that campers will eat meals in shifts, and/or we will utilize additional dining facilities at camp (e.g. the Rec Hall or an outdoor tent). Of course, our much-loved outdoor BBQs will play a prominent role in our food service plan. We will also be improving ventilation in indoor spaces.
We are working with medical professionals and our health center team on new protocols for this summer, such as screening for COVID symptoms at a separate outdoor location. We are adding additional medical staff and are partnering with vendors to provide non-emergency x-rays on-site, as well as telehealth visits, to reduce the need for off-campus medical visits.
To minimize the risk of transfer of COVID-19, enhanced sanitization protocols will be employed throughout the summer. Electrostatic sprayers with EPA-approved disinfectant will be used throughout the day on all commonly shared surfaces and in all bunk area bathrooms. Hand sanitizing stations will be present in all buildings and high traffic areas and healthy hygiene practices will be enforced (e.g. hand washing before meals.)
For our campers and staff to feel safe and care-free while at camp, we plan to minimize our interaction with people outside of our camp family. Our usual trips to ball games, amusement parks, and restaurants will likely be replaced with outdoor excursions and exclusive rentals so campers will have the opportunity to safely enjoy activities off campus.
We know that many of our campers look forward to friendly competition against other camps. Intercamp play on a smaller scale has been discussed among camps that plan to follow similar COVID protocols and is under consideration. Campers will still have the opportunity to compete with our intracamp traditions such as conference, tribal and of course, no summer would be complete without color war and the battle between Buff & Blue.
We do not anticipate bus travel to camp will be viable due to the risk of exposure between the bunks/cohorts. Families in the tri-state area may be asked to drive their children to camp at an assigned time on the first day of camp, June 26th. We will notify you once this decision has been finalized. We are cautiously optimistic that bus transportation home will be possible.
As much as we love seeing our camp families enjoy a day together, at this time we do not expect to hold a traditional Visiting Day due to the risk of exposure to our camp community. As we learn more about vaccines and transmission rates, we will reassess the situation. We know this may cause some worry for campers, especially if it’s their first summer at Wayne, so we encourage you to call us with any concerns.
Staff will be subject to the same pre-camp COVID-19 testing requirements as the campers and will be tested again prior to the campers’ arrival. We are planning for both on-campus and off-campus zones dedicated strictly to our staff where our counselors can unwind and relax without running the risk of outside exposure to COVID-19. As essential childcare workers, our expectation is that the majority of our camp staff will have been vaccinated by the summer.
Our New Camper Get-Togethers are a great way for first-year campers to start making life-long friendships even before camp begins. We anticipate being able to host a New Camper Get-Together in the spring. Although it is typically scheduled for the end of April, we plan to move it later when we hope the community infection rate is lower and the warmer weather allows us to be outdoors.