This is your central resource for our latest communications regarding the BYM Camping Program’s operations, policies, and guidelines for COVID-19 safety and prevention for campers, staff, and families.
In just a few short weeks, BYM Camps will reopen. Campers will start arriving to Catoctin, Shiloh, Opequon, and Teen Adventure, ready for an incredible and necessary summer. All spring we’ve been considering new information about the pandemic, listening to communicable disease experts, speaking with trauma-informed educators, and receiving detailed guidance from the American Camp Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Guided by this advice and expertise, we have created a comprehensive Health & Safety Plan, which establishes a number of new protocols and makes a few changes to our camp program that will help protect against a COVID-19 infection, and reduce the spread of any disease at camp. Our goal throughout this process has been to take reasonable precautions, with an eye toward retaining the core elements of the BYM Camps experience. Our aim is to balance safety with joy to allow for the healing summer that we all need.
Below you’ll find the full and updated BYM Camps Health & Safety Plan for the Summer of 2021. Please click on it and read it over.
Below the plan itself, you’ll see some highlights we want to make sure you read, and the answers to some questions that we know you’ve been asking.
If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to:
Brian Massey, Program Manager
May 31, 2021 – BYM Camps Family Update
May 21, 2021 – BYM Camps Family Update
May 14, 2021 – BYM Camps Family Update
May 2021 Update – BYM Camps Reopening Task Force
April 2021 Update – BYM Camps Reopening Task Force
BYM Camp Family Town Hall, 4/7 – Presentation
BYM Camp Family Town Hall, 4/7 – Video Recording
March 2021 Update – BYM Camps Reopening Task Force
February 2021 Update – BYM Camps Reopening Task Force
January, 2021 – Update: BYM Camps Reopening in Summer 2021
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BYM CAMPS’ HEALTH & SAFETY PLAN
What do I need to do before arriving at camp?
All families will be asked to be intentional in their behaviors for the weeks leading up to arriving at camp, to minimize possible exposure to and transmission of COVID-19.
A letter containing a statement of community agreements and collective responsibility will be sent to all families in the weeks before camp. Families and staff will be asked to sign the statement, indicating their understanding and affirmation.
Testing Requirements for Campers
With the exception of those who are fully vaccinated, all campers will be required to have documentation of a negative COVID-19 molecular test performed within 72 hours of arrival at camp. Persons who fail to provide this documentation will be sent home.
We will also share as many resources as we can, so that all families have access to testing that is as convenient as possible. We have partnered with Anywhere Testing and Phi Life Sciences to provide at-home PCR test kits for families who request them. If interested, please submit this form.
BYM Camps are committed to supporting families and staff with this requirement, if necessary. Please reach out to the Program Manager (email@example.com) if you need logistical or financial assistance with regards to getting tested.
Vaccination for Campers
Campers who are 12 years old or above are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage, but do not require, that eligible campers get vaccinated.
If a camper is fully vaccinated by the time they arrive at camp, they are exempt from the requirement to bring proof of a negative COVID-19 test, and they are exempt from any on-site testing that may happen at camp.
To qualify for this exemption, campers must digitally submit proof of full vaccination to the Program Manager beforehand, or they must show their CDC Vaccination card to camp staff upon arrival.
To request assistance, or ask questions about this policy, contact the Program Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) immediately.
How will Arrival Day work?
Proof of Negative PCR Test or Full Vaccination
When you arrive at camp, it is essential that you have evidence of your camper’s negative COVID-19 PCR test or full COVID-19 vaccination.
We will ask that you either submit a paper copy or a digital record of the test result or vaccination card. If you unable to provide a paper copy, please send a digital copy to the Program Manager, Brian Massey (email@example.com).
Expect that you will not have cell coverage and Wi-Fi at camp, so if you are planning to show staff the negative test results on your phone, please have that document sent to us and/or downloaded to your phone in advance of arrival.
Our standard procedure in any year is to screen all campers and staff upon arrival. In addition to our normal intake process, we will screen for symptoms of COVID-19. If a camper does not pass the screening, they will not be allowed into camp, and must provide proof of a negative COVID test before returning.
Arrival Day Rules
Arrival Day will look differently than normal during Summer 2021. We ask for your patience and compliance with these new rules, as we work to ensure that every session gets off to a safe and joyous start.
First, anyone coming to camp to pick up or drop off a camper must wear a mask, and maintain physical distancing, while on camp property.
Second, to prevent crowding, we will stagger arrival times by age. Each family will be given a specific drop-off window, along with other necessary details, at least 7 days in advance of your Arrival Day. If you need specific arrival time, please reach out to the Program Manager, Brian Massey (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we will do our best to accommodate your request.
Third, once you arrive at camp, there will be a new “drive through” check-in procedure that will include stops for meeting the directors, in-camp staff, and medical personnel. We ask that all family members stay in their car during this process.
Fourth, after checking in, you will then drive into camp to a clearly defined “unloading zone”, where you’ll meet your camper’s counselors and unload your camper’s belongings. This will be the last stop, and will be the time to say your goodbyes.
We know that this may be a difficult time for families, but rest assured, our counselors will take extra care helping your camper get settled into their cabin and start having fun and making friends right away.
When will masks be required during camp?
Campers will not need to wear a mask when they are exclusively with their Cabin Family or Unit Family. This means that for long stretches of time during the day, they can be mask-free: anytime inside their cabin, at mealtimes with their Cabin or Unit Family, during activities held exclusively for their Cabin or Unit Family, and when swimming or taking a shower.
When encountering or interacting with anyone from another Cabin or Unit Family, we will follow the 2-of-3 rule. This means that we will make sure two out of the following three conditions are always met: outdoors, distanced, and masked.
Outdoors + Distanced = No Mask Needed
Outdoors + No Distance = Mask Needed
Not Outdoors + Distanced = Mask Needed
In other words, campers will need to wear a mask only when distancing between campers in other Cabin or Unit Families is not possible, or when in an enclosed space.
To be specific, masks will be required in all indoor spaces: the dining hall, kitchen, lodge, infirmary, bathhouse, etc. They will also be required at the fire circle, if campers are not sitting with their Cabin / Unit families, and when doing chores with campers from other Cabin / Unit Families.
Free choice programming and inter-age friendships are fundamental to the BYM Camps program and culture. For these to be safe and possible this summer, we must ensure that masks are worn at the appropriate times.
Campers should arrive at camp with at least 10 masks labelled with their name. Cambers will be asked to keep a mask on hand at all times. BYM Camps will provide a sufficient stockpile of extra masks for when one might be needed.
What about activities and trips?
To the greatest extent possible, all activities will be outside. Activities involving single Cabin or Unit Families will be emphasized, especially at the beginning of each session.
When a Unit Family is on a trip and not interacting with persons outside of their group – while hiking on the trail, canoeing on the river, cooking and sleeping at their campsite, etc. – there will be no restrictions. It will be as if they are in their cabin.
What if my camper feels sick while at camp?
As always, we will do our very best to keep your camper healthy and safe while at camp, and will be ready to care for their medical needs if they feel ill. If your camper needs medical attention for any reason while at camp, we will have health personnel on-site and on-duty at all times.
We will proactively check for COVID-19 symptoms each day. The Health & Safety Team will be on the lookout for these symptoms throughout the session, and we will also encourage campers and staff to self-monitor and let the Health & Safety Coordinator know if they are experiencing any of the following at any time:
- Fever & chills
- New and severe cough, sore throat
- Shortness of breath & difficulty breathing
- Fatigue & muscle aches
- Severe headache & nausea
- Vomiting & diarrhea
- The new loss of smell or taste
If a community member has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, our Health & Safety Team will assess their health, and we will contact their parents and family immediately. If it is determined that the symptoms cannot be attributed to an illness other than COVID-19, they will be placed in a designated isolation location, separate from other persons, with a mask on.
If it is suspected that a camper has COVID-19, we will conduct a PCR test and send it immediately to a lab for analysis. They will remain in isolation until the test result is returned.
We will notify the family of any camper who has displayed symptoms or is otherwise suspected of having COVID-19. Once we have the results of their test, we will notify their family immediately.
If the test result is negative, the person will remain in isolation until their symptoms have improved, per existing policies – typically 24 hours without fever and no use of fever-reducing medication.
If the test result is positive, the person will be sent home to isolate immediately.
Generally, we reserve the right to ask parents to come pick up their campers at any time, if we feel that we cannot adequately care for them. We ask that parents be prepared to pick up their camper within 12 hours of being notified.
What if someone in my child’s cabin gets sick?
If we suspect that someone in your camper’s Cabin or Unit Family has COVID-19, we will contact you right away.
If there is a suspected case of COVID-19, we will begin monitoring those in the Cabin and Unit Family with greater frequency, take greater care to isolate that Cabin and Unit Family from the rest of camp, and increase mask wearing and outdoor programming within the Cabin and Unit Family.
If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19, our Health & Safety Team will immediately evaluate everyone in that Cabin or Unit Family. They will take extra care to remain in their Cabin and Unit Family, separate from others at camp, but will be able to remain at camp. We will diligently screen for any symptoms or signs of illness for seven days, and we will arrange for a PCR test for each camper. If the test result is negative and they are no symptoms, they will be able to return to the previous level of interaction with the rest of camp.
Counselors and staff will be prepared with plans and activities to ensure that they still have a fabulous time at camp, while taking these extra precautions.
In all decisions, we will consider our operational guidelines, alternative programming, scope of exposure, presence of symptoms, assessment by our medical staff, and the use of testing, before sending anyone home.
If we do have a positive case of COVID-19, we plan to let the greater BYM Camps community of families know as well. Without discussing the specific camper affected, we will identify the Cabin or Unit Family exposed, and any other specific contact tracing information.
Our decision to organize campers into Cabin and Unit Families and to have clear mitigation policies that would prevent spread between cohorts should make this information clear, and give us all confidence that a positive case is limited to a single cohort. If your camper is not within that specific cohort, it is very unlikely that they would have been exposed.
In the two weeks following a camper’s return home, we request that you notify BYM Camps if your child is suspected of having COVID-19.
Wow! That’s a lot!
Yes it is! Reuniting as a camp community while still grappling with a pandemic requires us to be cautious. At the same time, we are working to do everything we can to recreate the special feeling of camp we all need, now more than ever. This summer will still mean time in a beautiful natural setting, lots of fun activities to try, and the freedom to relax with friends in a caring and supportive community.
Thank you again for the support and confidence you have shown in us as we prepare for a summer unlike any other. We’re excited to reopen BYM Camps, and to see everyone back at Catoctin, Opequon, Shiloh, and Teen Adventure!
If you have any remaining questions or concerns, please reach out anytime to Brian Massey, Program Manager, at email@example.com.