Dear Camp Families,
Happy New Year! We have a lot to look forward to in 2021 and hope the coming year brings health, happiness, and all good things to you and your family. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Summer 2021 will be WORTH THE WAIT! Thank you for making camp such an important part of your family’s life.
Soon you will be receiving the parent newsletter with lots of suggestions and reminders about getting ready for camp.
We’ve learned and continue to learn a lot from camps and schools in 2020. We also remain up-to-speed with each Covid-19 development, the latest on testing, vaccination and best practices. Health and safety updates like this one will be shared on a regular basis, “The Trail Ahead.” They will be brief, but include new, pertinent information, plans and protocol. As we get closer to camp, we’ll also include more detailed logistics and any relevant camp modifications or developments.
In this first communication, we’re proud to introduce you to our medical team. In addition to our outstanding nurses, many returning with extensive experience from past summers at camp, here are our excellent camp doctors and expert advisors. We remain in close contact with them as we implement plans for the health and safety of our community this summer.
Thank you for your patience and partnership as we navigate the lead-up to camp together. We move ahead with optimism and good cheer and look forward to keeping in touch on this road to camp 2021!
Warmest wishes for a happy, healthy new year,
The Black/Morin Family
The 2021 Medical Team
Camp Medical Doctor-in-Residence:
Leigh Marcus, M.D.
Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Adam C. Steinberg, DO, MBA
HHC, VPMA Hartford Hospital, Associate Professor, University of Connecticut School of Medicine & Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine
Amanda Levin, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Tracey Jubelirer, M.D.
Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
Noreen Sakowitz Cohen, M.D.
Anesthesiology, St Joseph’s University Medical Center, New Jersey
Andrew N. Cohen, D.O.
Emergency Medicine Physician, St Joseph’s University Medical Center, New Jersey
Julie Whitney, D.O
Pediatrics, Medical Director, Advocare Pediatric Urgent Care
Tara Berman, M.D.
Nemours Pediatrics, Philadelphia. Clinical Assistant Professor, Thomas Jefferson University
Eric Fornari, M.D.
Associate Professor, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine,Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Co-Director, Division of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery,The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore
Andrew Rosner, M.D.
Family Medicine, Hatboro Medical Associates
Michael Weinstein, M.D.
Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Delaware County Memorial Hospital, Drexel Hill, PA.
Tom Nash, M.D.
Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center
Eric Yecies, J.D., M. A., Molecular Biology
Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel, Conversion Labs, Inc.
Aimee Goodman, D.O.
Pediatrics, Director of Health Services, The Peddie School
With still five months until camp, we believe that the world will change for the better, and our plans will change accordingly. By camp time we hope that the world will be a much better place for campers, staff, parents and grandparents, but certain safeguards will still be needed. Following the advice of our own experts (The Trail Ahead, #1) and the guidelines developed by the American Camp Association, in partnership with the CDC, as well as the Pa. Department of Health, protocols and procedures are constantly improving.
Our intention is to be as transparent as possible at all times, so please never hesitate to contact us with your questions and concerns.
We write to share our thinking as of today:
1. What will a day at camp look like?
There’s no question that the great outdoors are the best, safest place to be these days, and that’s always been true at camp! We expect a day at camp to look pretty much the same as always, having fun with camp friends all day, activities open, and great counselors leading the way. There will be a phase-in after the initial days of camp and at least one at-camp Covid test, before we mix larger numbers of campers or age groups. At the beginning of camp, any mixing between bunks will be masked, outdoors. All activities will take place outside.
2. Will meals be different?
We are planning on serving family-style this summer and with all of the choices, quality and quantity we’ve always had. Special diet chefs, healthy choices, salads galore and, of course treats still abound. Barbara Black, who takes pride in setting the gold standard of camp cuisine, promises to go above and beyond, as usual! And we’ve secured serving carts for each table and large dining tents to spread out a little more and enjoy more al fresco dining!
3. Will campers be going on trips?
At this time, we do believe that campers will go on out-of-camp trips that do not involve mixing with the general public. We’re planning exciting outdoor adventure trips: white water rafting, tubing, backpacking, camping, and beach trips. Whether these are day trips or overnight will depend on age groups, destination, and summer infection rates. We’re staying flexible!
4. Will campers be wearing masks?
Campers will not need masks in their own cabin or with their bunkmates, but they will wear masks when mixing with other groups. Groups will grow over time and in phases. If we mix groups, we’ll mask.
5. Will there be testing?
The good news is that testing is changing and improving constantly. We expect more user-friendly, accurate tests right up to camp-time. At this time, we are planning for testing right before camp at home and at camp during the first week after arrival. Local testing will be available for any symptomatic campers or staff. We will also perform regular health checks and surveillance testing as needed and recommended.
6. What will be different in the health center?
We expect the health centers to operate as usual with many returning nurses and doctors. And we will be utilizing the regular “Campmed” program for distributing daily medicine as we have in the past. However there will be extra layers of precautions for campers exhibiting COVID symptoms and camper-friendly isolation rooms if needed. Following our regular get-ready-for-camp calendar, look for additional health center specific emails in the spring.
7. How will campers travel to and from camp?
Camps that opened last year were able to welcome campers safely who arrived by plane and other modes of transportation. For campers within driving distance, we encourage parents to drive to camp for a quick drop-off. There will be regular bus service for campers going home FROM camp. Buses TO camp are under consideration and will depend on the advice of our experts and infection rates in the spring.
8. Will there be Visiting Day?
We are planning for camp in every scenario. From today’s vantage point, it seems highly unlikely that a completely safe Visiting Day would be feasible, but we are keeping all options open. If it’s not in person, we will Zoom, Facetime, and more. There will be special festive food and maybe we’ll even lift our no-package policy to make Visiting Day a party! Of course, we’ll share more ideas and information in the event Visiting Day does go virtual, but we’re committed to making it a GREAT day (or days) for all no matter what.
9. What is camp doing now to prepare?
We have already secured PPE, enough hand sanitizer for the summer, industrial electrostatic cleaners to disinfect every bunk and every activity repeatedly throughout the day and plenty of tents for additional dining and rainy-day activities. Those who were at family camp also may have noticed additional hand sanitizing stations placed in cabins and throughout camp. Right now, we’re adding additional hand-washing and water stations throughout camp. We have also consulted with engineers and ventilation professionals to improve airflow in the dining hall and in every cabin. Each cabin has been measured and beds arranged to make sure that campers’ heads are 6 feet apart. Our cleaning/housekeeping crew will be increased to ensure a higher level of cleanliness in all areas of camp. And we’ve got plenty of toilet paper!
10. Will campers and counselors be able to leave and return to camp?
Our planning is centered around the creation of a camp “bubble” this summer. Once campers arrive at camp (counselors arriving early for a safe, extended orientation), they will stay inside of our bubble. Unfortunately, this is not a summer for campers to come and go, even for team practices or family events. The good news is that we can’t think of a better place to bubble!
11. Are you confident that there will be camp this summer?
A resounding YES! Please know that we are constantly learning, studying, consulting with experts and preparing for what we feel absolutely confident will be a safe and happy summer for all.
Thank you for your confidence in us and for your continued partnership!
The best summer ever awaits!
The Black/Morin Family
March 3, 2021
We are pleased to share with you yesterday’s good news that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) explicitly listed camp staff as “essential workers” and eligible for Phase 1B priority for vaccination subject to state guidelines.
We have shared this information with our camp counselors in hopes that they will make their vaccination appointments as soon as possible in preparation for summer.
As always, we are closely following all recent developments, news and testing recommendations and will update you as we prepare for an exciting, safe camp season ahead!
Dear Camp Families,
Greetings from Greeley. As the birds start chirping and the sun lingers later in the day, we can’t wait to be back at camp together this summer. We look forward to welcoming your camper safely in just a few months. Please read on for the latest information on travel, baggage, testing and health procedures, based on recommendations from the CDC, the PA Dept. of Health and the American Camp Association. Updates will follow. We are committed to best practices all around at camp in order to keep your children safe, happy and set up for the best summer ever.
To ensure a safe arrival at camp, and to limit any exposure after pre-camp quarantine and testing, we are asking families within driving distance (PA, NY, NJ, MD) to drive their campers to camp this summer. Camp will provide transportation home from camp. Campers flying to camp will be receiving separate instructions about safety precautions and airport pick up.
All camper baggage must be shipped to camp prior to arrival. Campers being dropped off by car can only bring a small carry-on. For campers in the PA,NJ, NY, and MD areas, our recommended private baggage company is Mountain Baggage, for those in Florida it is R&B Baggage. You may also use UPS or Fedex. A note: Younger campers will have their bags unpacked and their areas set up for them before arrival. Older campers will unpack together as a first bunk activity!
1. Two weeks before camp: restricted interactions
2. Test 72 hours before camp followed by stay-at-home quarantine
3. Test upon arrival
4. Test 5-7 days into camp
5. Surveillance testing if/as needed, and testing for symptomatic individuals
1. Pre-Camp Restrictions: In the critical two weeks before camp, we respectfully ask that our campers and their families move about as conservatively as possible, even more so than usual, avoiding large gatherings, unnecessary engagements, and any new, unmasked exposure to those outside the home. Families will fill out a daily health screening during this time. We know that some campers will still be in school, and we ask that they avoid any exposure outside their usual classroom. We appreciate each family’s partnership in opening camp safely and seamlessly.
2. Test One: 72 Hours Prior to Arrival: In the coming weeks, you will be sent a link to register with PM Pediatrics, the largest pediatric urgent care provider in the country, with urgent care centers from Florida to NY. During the two-week period before camp, campers will participate in a telehealth visit with a PM Pediatrics pediatrician. Then, 72 hours before camp, on Wednesday, June 23rd, you will have your camper drive-thru Covid tested at your nearest PM Pediatrics Urgent Care. After taking that test, campers must please stay at home until their arrival at camp. *If you are not near a PM Pediatric Urgent Care, please contact our office to arrange alternate plans.
3. Test Two: Arrival. We have partnered with Genetworx, a testing company who will be administering tests to all campers upon arrival. They will also oversee subsequent testing. Genetworx has a proven record of reliability, with a number of residential communities and businesses including small colleges and boarding schools, Comcast, and NBC Universal.
4. Test Three: 5-7 Days into camp: Genetworx testing will be repeated on day 5-7 of camp and repeated as needed throughout the course of the summer.
5. Surveillance Testing/Testing for Symptomatic Cases, as determined by our medical team. We may test our population, as needed, beyond the testing outlined above. We do also have rapid antigen tests available on site which we will use for symptomatic individuals. PCR tests, with fast turnaround times, are available locally.
6. When Someone Tests Positive: If a child tests positive at camp, they will be isolated and picked up from camp as soon as possible, within 24 hours. If a child is in a bunk/cohort with someone who has tested positive, that bunk will remain isolated (together) for an additional 7 days and those parents will be notified. During this time, campers will be allowed to participate in camp activities exclusively with their bunk, and they will be PCR tested.
*Please note that a $300 covid administration fee has been added to each camper’s account.
Here is a link to past issues of The Trail Ahead about COVID preparations and, if you haven’t already, please login to your parent portal to fill out and submit all of your camper’s regular forms ASAP. Stay tuned for more information, remember to keep working on those forms, and get ready for Summer 2021 which will most certainly be worth the wait!