Covid-19 Updated Information
Thank you for your partnership, understanding and patience as we navigate these interesting times together. Our staff training is off to an amazing start, and our full complement of bunk counselors and specialists will be spending every moment between now and next Saturday preparing for your child’s arrival. Spirits are incredibly high at Kenwood & Evergreen right now, and everyone is counting the days until camp begins for all of your children!
As you know, we’ve spent the last two and a half years learning all that we could about Covid in its various iterations, as well as how to best care for our camp community through this pandemic. Our goal this summer is to give your children the camp experience that they all need and deserve, filled with fun, friends, exciting activities, and adventure. Covid has proven to be a wily foe, bringing new variants and waves of infection that create public health challenges for all of us, especially within a closely connected community like camp.
VISITING DAY CHANGE
We have decided that we will be shifting to a Virtual Visiting Day this year. While I had hoped to be able to return to a traditional parent’s Visiting Day, the fact that case counts are still quite high in the northeast has made me question whether this wave will really abate enough during the month of July. B4 & 5 are overtaking B2.12 in parts of the US, with even greater capacity to quickly spread and potentially reinfect those who have already recovered from Omicron. Those variants are now in the northeast as well. The risk of bringing 700+ parents and siblings to camp and sparking an outbreak that could consume the last three weeks is simply too daunting to overcome.
By now, I hope you know that we don’t make decisions like this lightly. I have run the numbers, gamed out possible outcomes, and it is only with great reluctance that we’ve come to this decision. While I know this is disappointing, I also know that preserving your child’s camp experience—all six or seven weeks of it—is of paramount importance to all our parents. We will be sharing details about our Virtual Visiting Day with all our families in the coming days, but the day will include the opportunity to send a special one-time package to your child and a video call that will allow you to visit with your child as well as meet one or both of his/her counselors. We had Virtual Visiting Day last summer, and it was a great day for all, as I’m sure it will be this summer.
To be sure, as I have shared before, this summer won’t be without its Covid risks, even with a Virtual Visiting Day. Our staff will spend some time off away from campus, for their own mental health and for the benefit of all of our campers. We are confident that they will limit contact with others outside of our community, to wear masks when they do, and to eat outdoors and spend their time together as an extension of our “bubble”. We will be testing a significant percentage of staff shortly after they return from their days off, utilizing our Cue Health molecular tests. We have administered this highly accurate screening test to each and every staff member as they have arrived on campus, even though pre-arrival PCR testing had been done by staff. We will do all that we can to minimize the chances that Covid will enter our campus, and if it does, we will do all that we can to minimize its reach.
CHANGES TO PRE-CAMP COVID TESTING REQUIREMENTS & MASKING FOR TRAVEL
We are tightening our pre-camp Covid testing policy, given the persistently high case counts in our families’ home states. Please do your best to limit your child’s interactions with others outside your family to lower risk situations between now and the start of camp. We are also now requiring that all campers be tested by PCR or rapid molecular tests (Cue Health or Lucira) as close to Saturday, June 25th as possible, as long as we receive results by June 25th. Please do not test earlier than Wednesday June 22nd, and we would strongly prefer a test on Thursday or Friday. The shorter the window between testing and departure, the smaller the probability that one of our campers will be infected by Covid before they arrive at camp. As an extra precaution, we are asking that ALL campers be tested in this manner, regardless of whether they might have recently recovered from a Covid infection. If a recently infected child tests positive on PCR, simply share the confirmation that they were infected within the 90 days before the start of camp, and they will still be able to travel to camp on time. Please note that molecular tests like Cue and Lucria do not produce as many positive results as PCR tests for those who have recently recovered from Covid, so they may be a better option for your child if he/she has recently recovered.
We are asking that all campers wear high quality masks for the bus trip up to camp, and we will take a break outside to eat the lunches you pack for them for those campers originating in NY or CT.
Once campers arrive at camp, we will conduct another round of PCR testing for all campers and staff within 24 hours and, if merited, an additional round 3 days later.
Antigen testing is simply not adequate assurance that an individual is not infected with Covid, due to the time it takes for active infections to register on an antigen test. We recently tested a visitor to our campus with our Cue Health molecular test and found an active infection that had gone undetected by antigen testing hours before. That individual had no idea they had been exposed and were potentially infectious, and we were able to avoid their introduction into our camp community. This is the nature of this confounding virus.
Please upload PCR or molecular test results by Friday night using the Campminder/Campanion system. Again, PCR or molecular test results are needed for all campers. If you have any trouble scheduling a timely test, take a moment today to order an at home testing kit from Lucira here. Of course, if you have a Cue Health testing setup at home, that will also meet the testing requirement.
If your child tests positive in pre-arrival PCR or molecular testing and did not recently recover from a documented Covid case, your child should remain at home with you for ten days and then travel to camp. Their bunkmates will welcome them with open arms and the delayed start will soon be forgotten. Please report all results to us as soon as you have received them, negative and positive.
If a child tests positive while at camp, our healthcare team will accommodate them at camp during their ten day isolation and making period, although parents will have the option to pick up their child and have them spend that period at home. In the unfortunate and unlikely event that our isolation facilities are full, we may adjust this policy and request that parents pick up their campers and return them to camp once their ten day period is over. We are hopeful that all of the layers of protection that we will utilize (vaccination, minimizing pre-camp exposures to others, pre-arrival testing and PCR testing at camp, ventilation, focus on outdoor activities and gatherings) will minimize the chances of an outbreak, but as always, we will be conservative in our planning and vigilant throughout the summer.
If you have any questions, please call the camp office at 781-793-0091 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get right back to you!