January 5, 2022

Summer 2022 and COVID-19

By Aaron Cantor

Summer 2022 and COVID-19

(updated March 17, 2022)

Greetings from Camp –

With each passing day, EKC 2022 gets closer and closer to becoming a reality. We are excited for both how “normal” Camp has the potential to feel this summer and the plans we have in place to keep our entire Camp Community safe. We also recognize how quickly the pandemic has continued to evolve. While our COVID-19 Playbook represents an appropriate set of protocols for where we believe the pandemic will be when Camp begins, we will continue to monitor and adapt our plans based on the information available to us. Our full “COVID-19 Playbook” can be found online on your Camper’s CampMinder Forms Dashboard, which is the same account you used to sign up for Camp this summer

In preparation for building our Playbook, we carefully reviewed the guidance and resources available to us, consulted with medical experts in the field, and participated in many learning sessions with others from the Jewish Camping Field. The most important guidance we have received has centered around utilizing a tool that wasn’t as widely available to us last summer – COVID-19 vaccinations. At EKC, all campers and staff will be required to provide proof of being fully vaccinated and up to date on the COVID-19 vaccine, including a 3rd dose if eligible.

We ask that you take the time to read through our playbook and to reach out directly to Aaron Cantor, EKC Camp Director, with any questions you might have. Some of the notable components of our plan for this summer, many of which come directly from recommendations made to us and best practices in Camping, are provided below.

As we shared with our families in December, all campers and staff are required to be fully vaccinated and fully up to date (including a 3rd dose) with their COVID-19 vaccinations to attend Camp.  This updated decision to include the 3rd dose for those eligible was made in consultation with medical experts and recommendations from the CDC. COVID-19 vaccinations significantly reduce the likelihood of serious illness and in the communal living environment that is Camp, vaccinations represent our best tool to keeping our entire community safe and healthy. This requirement is one of several essential components to a comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation strategy as our campers and staff return for another unforgettable summer.

PRE-CAMP PROTOCOLS: In order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 being brought into Camp, we will ask all campers and staff to take additional safety measures prior to their arrival.  These include recommended pre-camp behaviors, temperature and symptom monitoring, and pre-arrival COVID-19 tests.  

Recommended Pre-Camp Behaviors

For the 5 days leading up to Camp we’re asking our families to abide by these recommended pre-camp behaviors, to reduce any transmission of COVID-19 to their camper prior to Camp

  • Minimize attending large gatherings where physical distancing is difficult
  • Wear a mask when indoors and physical distancing is not feasible
  • Avoid extended exposure to those outside of your immediate household
  • Avoid unnecessary travel

Temperature and Symptom Monitoring

5 days prior to arrival to Camp, all campers and staff should self-monitor for symptoms related to COVID-19 and check their temperature daily.  Upon arrival at Camp, all parents will be asked to acknowledgement that they completed the temperature checks and self-monitoring each day.  All campers and staff will be required to be completely symptom-free for at least 24 hours prior to their arrival at Camp without the use of any medication.

Pre-Arrival COVID-19 Tests

One of the easiest ways to determine that our campers do not have COVID is to test them. For this summer, we are asking our families to administer an FDA approved at-home rapid antigen or rapid molecular test – to their camper – for the two days prior to their arrival (Friday and Saturday). In addition, we will be asking families to share their results with us. Details to complete this will be shared with families closer to the start of summer.

Only campers and staff who provide two (2) negative test results taken prior to their arrival at Camp will be permitted to enter Camp – NO EXCEPTIONS.

Entrance Testing

Being able to determine whether the virus is present at Camp is a critical component to keeping our stable environment free of COVID-19.  We plan on administering an entrance PCR test for the entire camp community after their arrival. We are working with a local Health Care Organization to host a clinic for us on each Opening Day, with test results being available prior to breakfast on Tuesday morning.

In the coming weeks and months until Camp starts, we will continue to closely monitor the state of the pandemic, which includes the overall case count and positivity rate in areas where our campers reside, as well as any introduction of a new variant to the pandemic. Should this information prompt us to either add or remove any protocols, we will share them directly with you, via email and by posting them on your forms dashboard to see.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. There is nothing more important than providing your camper with a safe, healthy, and fun summer.