Covid-19 Updates for Camp

We are excited to be planning for the opening of our Residential and Day Camp programs at Hidden Valley 4-H Camp. This year we shifted away from our traditional tri-fold brochure to provide thorough information about our camp programming and operations. As you look over the pages in our brochure you will notice that we have marked an * next to several programs as we are uncertain what our guidance will be from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). We anticipate that recommendations from the NYSDOH will arrive in March.

We are working to protect the safety of campers, staff, and communities as we operate during the Covid-19 Pandemic. We take camp safety seriously and have been intentional in planning on how to manage Covid-19 and will follow the protocols of the American Camping Association (ACA) as the standard for our camping industry. We are fortunate to be active members with ACA as they have provided access to experts such as Dr. Laura Blaisdell who has provided a video in the resource list below on how camps can successfully plan during the Covid-19 Health Pandemic. We will focus on non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI’s) as part of our camp routine that will include:

  • Hand washing
  • Cleaning and Disinfection
  • Masking
  • Cabin Cohorts
  • Pre-Camp Health Screening, Initial Screening at Camp and Ongoing Screening throughout the week
  • Modified Layouts and Physical Distancing
  • Food Service

The  American Camp Association (ACA) and the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) are engaged together to provide educational resources to both day and overnight camps, state and local health departments, and parents/guardians and campers. The educational resources are being developed by an independent expert panel being coordinated by Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EH&E), a Boston-based consulting firm specializing in environmental health. This expert panel has convened specialists in pediatric medicine, camp medicine and nursing, epidemiology, infectious disease management, biological safety, industrial hygiene, organizational design, and other technical specialties. These educational resources will be shared with CDC and state and local health departments so that all parties can be informed. Information will be available on the ACA and Y-USA websites as it becomes available.
(Field Guide for Camps | American Camp Association (acacamps.org)

We also will be working closely with our local New York State Department of Health officials as we have for many years in the development of our Resident and Day Camp Health and Safety Plan along with our local Schuyler County Public Health Department. You may have questions about testing and vaccinations and we would expect guidance to come from our local DOH on this matter. We have a tab on our www.hiddenvalley4hcamp.org website labeled Covid-19 Camp Updates where we will post updates, resources and our Covid-19 Health and Safety Plan. Our complete Covid-19 Health and Safety Plan will be available as a pdf link within our 2021 Parent Handbook. 

Resources

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Resources for Camps (updated for 2021 camp operations)
Field Guide for Camps | American Camp Association (acacamps.org)

New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Children’s Camp Guidance (not updated with 2021 documents yet)
Children's Camps (ny.gov)

CDC and Covid-19 Resources
Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps | CDC

Dr. Laura Blaisdale highlights successful planning for summer camps amidst the Covid-19 Health Pandemic
2021 Looks to Be Another COVID Summer on Vimeo

Environmental Health and Engineering
Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) on Vimeo


Covid-19 Fast Facts:

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March 1, 2021

Face Masks: Face masks will be worn by campers, camp staff and volunteers. We will have activities where campers will be in their Cohort group where they will be allowed to take off their mask as it has been deemed safe and appropriate by campers and staff maintaining 6 feet physical distance. No campers or staff will wear masks while eating or sleeping.

Hand Hygiene: We will have handwashing stations set up throughout camp for all campers, staff, and volunteers. Handwashing or disinfecting of hands with hand sanitizer will be done before eating food, upon entering the cabins, after touching frequently touched surfaces and shared items, after using the restroom, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. We will provide training on proper handwashing.

Reduced Cabin Capacity: For our upcoming summer season we anticipate reducing our overnight camper capacity by 50% so that we can adequately space out sleeping in our cabins to maintain physical distancing.

Camper Cohorts: To help limit the potential spread of Covid-19 we will use a camper cohort model. We will limit our camper cohort to not more than 20 campers and 5 adults. Our campers will stay with their cohort for the camper week although there will still be evening activities, all camp activities and flagpole that include everyone on camp – campers and staff will stay within their cohort group and physically distanced from other cohorts.

Health Screenings: We will implement a three- phase screening process to include pre-screening, initial health screen and ongoing screening while at camp. Our initial pre-screen will be sent to camper families, staff, and volunteers prior to arrival at camp. Upon arrival to camp an initial health screen will be completed before the camper, staff or volunteer enters camp. The questions asked will be like the pre-screening and the results of the initial health screening will determine whether an individual is permitted to enter camp, or if they require additional screening. Ongoing screening will be conducted for all campers, camp staff, and volunteers daily.If a camper, camp staff or volunteer exhibits any symptoms associated with Covid-19 they will be directed to our onsite Health Manager and we will follow our Covid-19 Operations and Mitigation plan.

Vaccinations: At this time, we do not have guidance from the New York State Department of Health on whether a vaccine will be a requirement for campers and/or camp staff. Once we have received any updates from our local Department of Health, we will post an update.

Testing: We are not requiring a negative Covid-19 test to attend camp although we are reviewing the guidance from the American Camping Association on pre-screening, on-site screening, and mitigation through usage of RT-PCR testing.

Campers and Staff from outside of NYS: At this time, we have not received guidance from our local Department of Health that would have us limit campers from outside of NYS. We will follow all state and local guidance and will direct anyone coming to Hidden Valley 4-H Camp from outside NY to read, review and follow the recommended travel guidance put forth by the NYS Department of Health https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory

Last updated March 3, 2021