Since we first started quarantine, we have been in almost daily meetings designing a health and safety plan that works and we have many different “plan B” options on what camp will look like. We have had regular calls with both county and state health departments and honestly it appears like we are having to create the procedures on our own. The good news is that because viruses threaten summer camp every year, the safety standards we employ are done to combat just this situation. That having been said, if we operate camp there will be some new safety items as well.
As of today, we still do not know if we are going to be able to operate camp or not.
The State has indicated that new recommendations and procedures for camp are forthcoming, but they have not been issued yet. Furthermore, e
ach county will interpret the State Health Department recommendations which means we may get to run all our camp programs or maybe just a couple of our camps. As of right now our “Go / No Go” date for summer camp will be no later than June 17th.
The health and safety of our members is our number one priority. If we do not believe we can do camp safely we will not open. That having been said the COVID-19 pandemic will bring a whole host of extra precautions. Here is a partial list of the changes you should expect …
How will pre-camp preparations and check-in procedures be affected?
• Parents and adult participants will need to sign off that the campers (adult & youth) have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 and they have been symptom free for 21 days prior to attending camp. Participants who had COVID-19 will have to have a COVID test prior to attending and certify they are COVID-free.
• Parents will be asked to sign a Health and Safety agreement which will outline our entire plan but also their understanding that should their child get symptoms while at camp, he/she will be sent home immediately.
• Units will be asked to conduct individual health screenings prior to traveling to camp (including a temperature check).
• Medical Forms are required and assuming no medical issues, and the participant is under age 65, then the period to have your BSA medical form signed by a physician has been extended (forms signed after Feb 1, 2019 are acceptable). If you are over 65 and/or have a condition that makes you a high risk to contract COVID-19 (such as any respiratory condition or immune deficiencies) then you must have a current note with-in the past 30 days from a physician allowing you to participate in summer camp.
• Health screening upon arrival at camp will also be conducted by our health officers, who will also administer a temperature check.
• Should anyone in the unit not pass the arrival screening, the entire unit will not be allowed to enter camp.
• Strict limitations on camp visitors. Parents will not be allowed past the parking lot unless they are volunteering for the session.
• Everyone/anyone/all individuals will be screened thoroughly upon arrival and approved by the camp director before entry to camp during the week.
How will day to day operations of camp be affected?
• A dedicated Staff member and/or members will be assigned to your campsite, they will live and eat with your unit.
• Continuous hygiene reminders while at camp, including wearing masks (neckerchiefs will do), washing hands, and social distancing.
• Extra hand washing /sanitizer stations will be available throughout camp.
• Dedicated staff to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and shared program equipment and a limit on shared equipment.
• Units will be encouraged to bring their own tents to Sabattis (canvas tents cannot be disinfected without ruining the tent). Individual Scouts and/or Leaders to a tent is highly suggested.
• Mattresses will not be offered at Sabattis
• Meal service format is still being determined but may be a combination of individual meals and group served meals this summer.
• An emergency response plan that includes an isolation and quarantine protocol should a person at camp develop symptoms of COVID-19 or other communicable disease. All sick campers will be sent home immediately.
• Merit Badge classes and offerings at Sabattis are being reviewed. But, will be limited to no more than ten Scouts per-class and to Merit Badges that can accommodate Social Distancing. Not all Merit Badges will be offered.
• No camp wide events, no campfire, and no flag ceremonies outside your campsite. Units and campsites must remain self-contained.
• Scouts and/or Leaders that leave camp during the week for any reason (other than Treks) will not be allowed to re-enter.
Will Treks or other High adventure activities be affected?
• All the above hygiene and social distancing procedures will be in effect.
• All full week treks and other high adventure activities will be limited solely to your unit and/or campsite.
Other things to know.
• Check-ins with each unit one week and then two weeks after the unit leaves camp to determine if any participants have developed symptoms.
• Units who live in counties or states whose COVID-19 status is not equal or better than NY Phase 4 may not be able to participate.
As stated, this is just a partial list and not inclusive of any of the plan B options nor specific task force recommendations expected out some time in June. Likewise, direction from the Governor’s office and Health Department could create standards we have not considered.
If for whatever reason camp does not run, please know that we will be running some sort of virtual summer camp program. Plus, encouraging Scouts and units to take opportunities to camp when and where they can.