Covid-19 Protocols

The Safe Way Forward in 2021

Safety always has and always will be our guiding principle as we welcome campers each summer.  This plan is a ‘living’ and evolving document that will change as our understanding increases and the Summer ’21 recommendations from the NY State Department of Health, The American Camp Association, and the CDC guidelines for camp develop. The approach below is based on what we know now and what we can start to plan for.  While we hope things will greatly improve for Summer ’21, we have created our initial plan based on all the knowledge we have acquired from countless resources, including camps that were permitted to operate last summer.

Updated as of February 17, 2021

Communication

We know it is critical to keep you, our camp community, updated on what we are learning and implementing as we continue to educate ourselves about COVID-19. We want you to understand and feel confident in the steps we are taking to minimize risk this summer.

Our plan will be to continue to communicate pertinent and timely information to you as we know it in preparation for the safe opening of camp this summer. With that said, things change quickly, so please understand that we will be transparent with you in our ongoing communication and partner with you in order to provide our entire camp community a safe season ahead. This webpage will be updated as changes to our protocol are made, please be sure to check back here regularly.

Enrollment

We have almost reached our capacity and will be closing enrollment shortly for 2021. Our full attention is now completely focused on programming, staffing and operations for the 2021 camp season.

Pre-Arrival & On-Site Screening & Testing for Campers & Staff

Campers and staff will be asked to be smart and cautious in their connections outside their homes and schools as camp approaches. At this time, we anticipate requiring all campers and staff to limit their exposure for 7-10 days prior to arrival at camp and to fill out a daily health questionnaire. The exact timeline will be determined based on public health guidelines with specific details provided closer to the start of our camp season.

A key part of our safety plan involves creating a “controlled environment” in the camp community. This means that every camper and staff member will be required to take a COVID-19 PCR test at home approximately 72-hours in advance of arriving to camp and submit their results to our online portal. On arrival day, they will receive a COVID-19 test at the entrance of our facility before entering camp.  A third COVID-19 test will be performed on all campers and staff approximately 3 – 5 days after arrival on day 1.  The goal of this strategy is to receive 3 negative tests from all members of our community in a 10-day period.

Training & Education

Opening day at camp always includes a welcome meeting with group leaders, head counselors and directors to introduce campers to staff, general camp rules, and important guidelines.  This summer, the following items will also be communicated:

  • What camp is doing to protect everyone from being exposed to COVID-19
  • Ground rules for operating in smaller groups
  • Hand washing protocols
  • Physical distancing guidelines and policies for when masks will be necessary
  • Dining hall procedures
  • What symptoms to look out for and when to report them to a nurse
On-Site Monitoring & Protocols

Iroquois Springs is fortunate to have a full-time doctor and multiple nurses who will help us through the summer and be present at camp 24/7.

On a daily basis, campers and staff will complete a health questionnaire and have their temperature taken each morning. Hand washing/sanitizing will be performed often and thoroughly throughout the day. We will remain in regular contact with our local hospitals and urgent care as well as the local office of the NY Department of Health throughout the summer.

Will Campers & Staff be Required to Wear Masks?

While we do not have clear guidance to this question just yet, here are some of our assumptions based on what we know currently and what worked at many of the camps that operated successfully in 2020. We will be using the phrase “mixing and masking” at camp. This means that when you interact (mix) with someone outside your pod (bunkmates) you mask. When social distancing cannot be achieved, especially during the first part of the summer, masks will be required.

Masks will be worn when entering any indoor space other than their own cabin (health center, dining hall, office, etc.) and when physical distancing is not possible with someone in another pod.

Cleaning & Sanitation

To limit the spread of germs at camp, we will increase our regular cleaning and sanitizing protocols in an effort to mitigate risk.  Below are just some of the protocols we will follow in order to achieve a safe communal living environment this summer.

  • We have hired additional housekeeping staff for the season
  • Require frequent handwashing and sanitizing throughout the day
  • High-touch surfaces will be cleaned frequently throughout the day
  • The use of electrostatic sprayers / misters / foggers will be increased in high-touch areas
  • All surfaces will be cleaned using an EPA-approved disinfectant
  • Kitchen and Dining Hall will be cleaned and disinfected after each meal
  • Additional hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed throughout camp
  • Additional portable hand-washing stations will be installed throughout camp
  • Wherever possible, we will try to eliminate contact with high-touch surfaces (ex. propping a door open or lid-free garbage cans, etc.)
Dates & Sessions

We continue to plan for opening day on June 26th to welcome our Session 1 and full season campers.  We are still exploring the viability of welcoming our 2nd session campers to camp on July 17th, but are considering having only one arrival date for all campers on June 26th.

Visiting Day

While we LOVE to see our parents and siblings and grandparents, there is a strong likelihood that we will not be able to host an in person Visiting Day this summer. In lieu of our traditional Visiting Day, we would host a “virtual visiting day” for campers and their families.  The plan would be to come up with a few fun surprises to keep our campers connected with families back home, and enjoy some of the special treats they enjoy at visiting day each summer. More to come on that idea!

The Camper Experience

We know that so much has changed for our campers over the course of the last year, but our goal is to make camp FEEL the same! You will make friends, gain independence and resilience and create life-long memories, we can assure you of that!

Pods:  Your “pod” is your camp “family.” It includes your entire bunk, and in some cases, depending on numbers, may include another bunk. Just like at home, when you are with your family, you will not need to physically distance or wear a mask.

When campers interact with other pods, they will need to wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible. It is very easy to maintain physical distance when we are outdoors.

At the start of camp, campers will operate in smaller pods. Interactions with campers in another pod will be limited to outdoor spaces and with physical distancing measures in place. Camp pods will have activities scheduled together. Outdoor programs can be done with friends from outside your pod while maintaining a physical distance or putting on a mask.

We will increase pod sizes after approximately 10-days when initial testing results are complete, and we have reasonable assurances that camp is COVID free. Activities and electives will be varied, and the vast majority enjoyed in open-air or outdoor situations.

The Staff Experience

Staff are a key component to any successful summer, and ensuring their success while maintaining our strict safety protocols is a delicate balance we face this summer. While it’s still too early to make a final decision, the possibility of creating a “protected environment” is one consideration for our staff this summer.  If this is the case, our staff will stay on camp for their days-off this summer. Of course, they will have time off as they always do, but their time off will be spent in camp rather than outside of the camp community. We are exploring opportunities for the staff to be able to get off of camp grounds as a group to a local state park or other outdoor experience under camps supervision.

We will continue to monitor this very closely and evaluate the best protocol for staff moving forward.  Requiring all staff to be vaccinated prior to camp, assuming the vaccine is available to our population, will be something we strongly consider.

In either case, building in a quarantine period for staff and requiring at minimum the same level of testing we will require for campers will help to ensure a safe camp community.  We are committed to providing our staff the same life changing experience they have come to know from Iroquois Springs, even while instituting the necessary changes that will be required to keep our camp community safe this summer.

Will Camp Create a Protected Environment This Summer?

We like to think of camp as a “protected environment”, one in which we can limit who comes on and off campgrounds.  Campers and staff likely will be required to remain on campgrounds throughout the summer, it’s still a little too early to know with certainty. We are continuing to explore safe options off-camp such as hiking and camping trips and will keep you updated.

While certain deliveries and services are required for camp to run successfully, we will require any staff who interact with vendors are wearing the proper PPE and maintaining physical distance.

Our goal of course will be to limit our exposure, both for campers and staff, ultimately that may lead us to limiting any off-campus access, but we will make that decision in the spring.

Transportation / Travel to Camp

We have not yet determined if we will be transporting campers to Iroquois Springs by bus or will require parents to drop-off their campers. As this becomes clearer, we will communicate our decision and provide specific details regarding arrival to camp.

If you plan to drive your campers to camp, here are some important details to know:

  • Campers and parents will be required to stay in their car until instructed by camp staff.
  • Parents will be asked to remain in their car during drop-off, campers will be escorted by camp staff.
  • Assigned times, and specific locations on camp, will be provided to all families dropping off their campers on arrival day.
  • Families should take their child’s temperature before getting in the car. Do not send your camper if he/she has a temperature or displays any other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Upon arrival at camp, we will take campers’ temperature. Any camper with a temperature will not be permitted to enter camp.
How Will Meals Work This Summer

Meals will look and feel as close to “normal” as they have in the past, with some notable exceptions.

  • Groups will be spread out 6+ feet apart, utilizing the expanded outdoor patio/picnic grove between the dining hall and theater
  • Additional table seating may be available under large open-air tents or the theater (garage doors open) adjacent to the dining hall
  • Use of single serve condiments will be utilized wherever possible
  • The salad bar will be eliminated and replaced with a suitable alternative salad option
  • Any buffet service will be served by catering staff, campers and staff will not be permitted to serve themselves
  • Use of disposable utensils and service ware will be utilized as necessary
What Happens if a Camper Tests Positive for COVID-19 PRIOR to Camp?

We will follow current CDC guidelines to determine the required quarantine period for your child, and work with your family to create a plan for late arrival, if possible.

Read more about current CDC guidelines here by following this link.

What Happens if a Camper Tests Positive for COVID-19 WHILE AT Camp?

If a child tests positive while at camp, we will isolate that individual in our satellite health center until a parent/guardian is available to pick up their child within 24 hours. We will help make arrangements with the camper’s family for a safe transport home. Our policy, which is subject to change per CDC guidelines, is outlined below:

  • Immediately isolate the camper who tests positive
  • Test and screen every person in the pod
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect the entire cabin and any other areas of use
  • Separate the pod from the rest of camp (dining, activities, etc. for 72 hours)
  • Begin twice-daily screenings of the pod (temperature checks and symptom screening)
  • REPEAT testing of the pod 72 hours after the first test
  • Continue daily temperature and symptom screening
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate with families!
Moving Forward

Prepare your children for an incredible summer with us! While we can’t, of course, absolutely guarantee a COVID-free season, we are committed to making camp as safe, exciting and fun as possible. Now it’s time to continue the work of fitting two years of fun into the summer of 2021. 

Resources for Families