With your partnership, we are confident in our commitment to create a safe operating environment for both campers and staff, while continuing to deliver on our mission to empower Jewish athletes to achieve their potential. Since early July 2020, our professional team has partnered with a dedicated and well-qualified group of lay leaders who have been following the science, evaluating camps that did operate during summer 2020, and researching best practices to ensure we can deliver on this commitment.
The following FAQs are based on the current assumptions as follows:
● Regulators will allow us to operate – As a licensed youth camp in the state of Connecticut, we adhere to the regulations of numerous local, state, and federal agencies, as well as several national programmatic partners. We maintain close working relationships with the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (CtOEC), National Ramah Commission (NRC), Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC), and American Camping Association (ACA).
● Vaccines will NOT be widely available for children – At this time, medical experts still tell us there will likely be no vaccine specifically for children (under 18) by summer 2021. We are actively tracking vaccines for adults, and if such a vaccine exists that is widely available prior to the summer, we may require staff and adult visitors to receive the vaccine prior to arrival at RSA.
● Coronavirus (COVID-19) is present in our communities – We must operate under the assumption that COVID-19 will still be present in the communities we serve across the world AND that COVID-19 could potentially be present in our camp community too. Our goal is to develop the right protocols for pre-camp screening, onsite testing, cohort-based programming (to prevent large-scale spread), masking, social distancing, and an ability to handle any COVID-19 case should one appear. This is a multi-layered system designed to keep our entire community safe.
● Testing will be readily available – We are operating under the assumption that testing (both rapid and PCR/standard) will be readily accessible, and that it will not be cost prohibitive to conduct testing when necessary throughout the summer.
Campers traveling from another state or out of the country may be required by the state of Connecticut to quarantine before arriving on campus.
Current CDC guidelines continue to recommend an extended quarantine for international campers upon arrival to the United States. Campers may quarantine off campus with friends or family members in Connecticut or in a state that is not identified as a high-risk state at the time of arrival.
Please note that domestic campers traveling to campus from a state identified by Connecticut and/or the CDC as high risk will also be required to quarantine or obtain a negative PCR COVID test result within 72 hours upon arrival to campus. Please refer to https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/ for travel for travel information.
All campers and staff are required to submit documentation of a negative PCR COVID test 72 hours before arrival in camp by uploading results to their CampMinder accounts. Campers and staff who do not provide proof of a negative test result will not be permitted on campus.
In addition to the requirements above, all staff will be required to quarantine at camp prior to the arrival of the first campers and stay on camp property during this arrival time for staff training and health screenings.
All campers and staff will receive at least one (1) PCR COVID test within the first few days after arrival at camp. We are determining how to efficiently conduct this testing onsite, with processing to be conducted by a local lab.
● Face Coverings for Campers & Non-Medical Staff – All campers and staff will wear masks throughout the duration of camp, except when in one’s personal living quarters, while eating meals, or in activities determined to not require masks due to social distancing within predetermined
cohorts/pods (e.g., swimming).
● Preventing Spread at Camp – Any camper or staff presenting COVID-like symptoms, or who tests positive during arrival week testing, will be immediately isolated from the rest of the community.
We appreciate your understanding that campers testing positive for COVID-19 will be required to leave camp within 24 hours, with extensive support from our professional team. We suggest that all campers have a designated emergency contact available within a four- to five-hour drive of Cheshire, CT.
Campers and staff who were in contact with this person should expect to quarantine, be monitored for symptoms, and tested again if necessary.
We recognize the idea of isolation or quarantine for any campers or staff will be difficult. Currently we are still assessing this process for our Camp. We promise to communicate our plan for our facilities to accommodate isolation or quarantine by April 2021.
Based on recommendations from camps and communal settings that did operate successfully during summer 2020, we plan to operate mainly as a closed system–a “bubble”–with most campers and bunk staff separated into smaller cohorts. Limiting the ins/outs of staff, vendors, and guests can help prevent COVID-19 and the potential spread beyond a small cohort should campers or staff contract COVID-19 while en route to camp or after arrival.
We imagine the cohorts to function similar to bunks within an edah (age division) at camp. Smaller edot may include all campers as their cohort. The cohorts will participate in activities together, pray and learn together, and eat together. Accordingly, campers and staff should expect to be primarily with their cohort during each session. For example, eating may only be done by cohort, but sitting outside during an art chug may be possible with multiple cohorts. During free time, campers may only interact with other campers from their cohort.
We plan to continually review our cohort structure and make updates closer to the summer about which activities should be done by cohort only and which activities can be done with multiple cohorts. When cohorts or individuals need to interact with people outside their cohort, they should expect to do so with at least two of the following NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions), and all three when possible: mask wearing, distancing, being outdoors. During edah-wide activities, for example, cohorts will be socially distanced.
● Arrival – Camp families will have three options for arrival to camp, as in prior summers:
1. via a private vehicle
2. via air to Bradley International Airport;
3. via camp bus from NYC & NJ with socially distanced seating.
We ask that families please do not book air travel prior to February 2021.
● Departure – At the end of each session, families will have three options for transportation home from RSA:
1. Families may pick up their children from camp.
2. Camp will provide transportation to the airport. Staff will walk children to their gates for all flights leaving between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00.p.m.
3. Buses with socially distanced seating may be provided to NYC and Northern New Jersey.
● Major Sport Activities – Organization of major sports and detailed cohorts will be published by April 2021 . Our major sports offered may need alteration because the activity lacks the ability to properly run with physical distancing or necessary COVID protocols.
● Trips & Sporting Events – Currently we are not planning to take trips or sporting events for this summer.. We will be scheduling visits virtually from premiere athletes.
● Eating by Cohorts – Mainly campers and staff will eat by cohorts with limited interaction with the kitchen staff.
● Menu Updates – Our core menu will remain the same with the goal of healthy, nutritious, kid-friendly foods to sustain our athletes. We will be meeting with a nutritionist to assist us with menu development for achieving this goal.
Our kitchen team may introduce more “grab n’ go” options to increase the ease of eating outside.
In order to accommodate safe and healthy eating arrangements, campers may eat some meals outside, under tents, around a fire, etc.
When not providing “grab n’ go” meals, food service will be buffet style and served by a dedicated staff member with appropriate face covering, eye protection, and gloves.
We know that communication is critical to all that we do. During the off-season, we have been hard at work planning for a safe and meaningful summer. We plan to schedule online “town-hall” meetings throughout the winter and spring so that parents and campers can ask questions about this coming summer. Throughout each camp session, parents will be kept well informed about COVID testing, isolation and quarantine measures if required, as well as the “normal stuff” like photos and Shabbat emails. Parents can expect weekly emails at a minimum.
● By February 2021
○ Publish list of Ramah-designated camp flights
● By March 2021
○ Finalize pre-camp requirements for campers and staff
○ Publish a list of camp activities and any alterations we need to make
● By April 2021
○ Determine cohort make-up and notify registered families
○ Determine our cohort living facility locations and bathrooms
○ Communicate our plan for our facilities to accommodate isolation or quarantine campers
○ Publish our parent communication plan for Summer 2021
○ Determine if any program changes are needed for major sports by cohort for each session