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Our COVID-19 Safety Protocols

In Summer 2020, we safely ran camp by employing a robust set of protocols for mitigating the risk of coronavirus, with the help of our camp families' partnership. You can find our 2020 Protocols below, which we will reassess for Summer 2021 as circumstances evolve.

COVID-19-Related Protocols:

Please note that the following reflects our Summer 2020 protocols. As circumstances evolve, we will reassess these safety protocols for Summer 2021.

We’ve linked the State Guidelines for you to refer to as you wish, and ask that you please read the major takeaways/site-specific protocols/implications for our program below:

1. Screening

In accordance with the State and CDC guidelines, there will be ongoing screening of all campers and staff throughout the summer. Parents/guardians will be required to monitor, record, and report your child’s temperature and any symptoms for two weeks leading up to opening day. You must also monitor yourself and the other members of your household.

Once camp begins, we will continue to require parents/guardians to screen their camper(s) for symptoms and take their camper’s temperatures each morning before camp. Campers and staff will also have their temperatures taken by our staff each morning (before entering campus, or boarding camp buses) to further screen for fever.

Parents/guardians must also continue to monitor themselves and the other members of their household for symptoms throughout the summer.

2. Group size and ratios

There will be only 10 campers per group. There will be 2 counselors per group. There will be 3 counselors with our youngest groups.

3. Face Coverings

During camp, campers do not need to wear face coverings when outdoors, but will wear face coverings whenever indoors. Each child must wear their own clean face covering when arriving at camp each day, and keep it on through the arrival process. Campers will be able to remove their face coverings once outdoors with their group.

Any time that employees are less than 6 ft. from each other or interacting with children/campers, they will be required to wear a face covering.

4. Indoor/Outdoor Time

We will be doing everything outdoors (even more than usual!), weather permitting. The only time campers will be indoors is when they first drop their things off in the AM, and whenever they have to use the bathroom, grab their lunch, or change. In the case of light rain, we will stay outside, wear our raingear, and use canopied/covered outdoor spaces (as we usually do). In the case of severe weather/thunderstorms, we will move programming indoors, and each group will be visited by activity leaders in their respective rooms.

5. Cohorting and Pods

In it’s Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps, the CDC recommends the concept of cohorting, which the State has also adopted. In cohorting, pods (a camp group, in our case) are established, which essentially function as households. The campers within a pod do not need to maintain 6-feet of distance from one another when outdoors. Staff, including the counselors of a given pod, must wear face coverings whenever they are interacting with campers. Further, as is true with households, different pods cannot come in contact with one another from closer than 6-feet of distance, and must wear face coverings if doing so. The intention behind keeping pods separate is to reduce and contain any risk of spread of a communicable disease. Having static pods that do not come in direct contact with one another will also allow for the Health Department to perform clear and complete contact tracing in the event that there is a case o COVID-19 at camp. More on contact tracing and quarantining below.

We will be making numerous adjustments to our operations to ensure that we are following the protocol on cohorting and avoiding intermingling. For example, we will be forgoing Hobby (camp-wide camper choice period) and Before and After Care for this summer, as both of these are predicated on mixing campers from different cohorts. We are determining the feasibility of Morning Share, with a model that would ensure pods are at least 10 feet from one another. You will find other adjustments outlined below in areas such as arrival and dismissal procedures and swim.

6. Transportation

For daily bus routes and any transportation of a single group off-site: campers, staff, and the driver will be required to wear face coverings for the duration of the ride. Seating will be arranged to ensure the maximum possible distance is maintained between each camper. Windows will be open for constant ventilation (barring inclement weather). Campers will be seated from the rear of the vehicle to the front, to create the maximum possible distance between campers and driver. Campers will sit in the same seats for each day/leg of the trip. Vehicles will be sanitized between trips.

7. Ventilation and Traffic

All windows and doors will be kept open wherever feasible, to increase ventilation within indoor spaces. Bidirectional traffic will be drastically reduced through a new one-way foot traffic flow that will be instituted around camp and in buildings wherever possible. Tape and signs will denote 6 ft apart spacings for any common areas such as restrooms.

High traffic times such as arrival and dismissal will be staggered to facilitate social distancing, decrease congestion, and ensure campers from different groups are not coming in direct contact.

8. Cleaning and Sanitization

Throughout camp, there will be limited sharing of objects (we’ll share in other, less tangible ways!). Each camper will be given their own ‘set’ of ‘materials’ that will be theirs to use over the course summer. We will sanitize any objects that are required to be shared (example: bows and arrows), and will practice proper hand hygiene when handling these objects.

Hands of all campers and staff will be washed before and after each activity. If not possible at a given location, and for other times during the day, every staff member will also carry hand sanitizer for camper and staff use.

9. Contact Tracing/Quarantine Measures

In the case of a Camper/Staff Member:

If a child is exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms, they must stay home from camp, and if symptoms present at camp, the child will be isolated and picked up by their parent/guardian immediately. In either scenario, the parent/guardian must then contact their child’s physician. The physician will need to determine whether the child’s symptoms warrant testing. If the physician determines that the child doesn’t need to get tested, they must issue documented clearance so the child may return to camp. If testing is indicated, the child cannot come back unless they test negatively twice. These same measures will apply to staff members as well.

If a case of COVID-19 is suspected or identified in a camper or staff member, The Nature Place will alert the Rockland County Health Department. The health department will then trace all contacts and “the State and local health departments may, under their legal authority, implement monitoring and movement restrictions of infected or exposed persons including home isolation or quarantine.”

If a camper/staff member tests positive, they must enter home quarantine, and the Department of Health will determine the quarantine’s length. 

If a camper/staff member tests positive, all members of their pod must enter home quarantine as directed by the health department, who will communicate guidelines for when they can return to camp.

With all of this, we ask that families and staff err on the side of caution.


In the case of a Parent/Guardian or Household Member:

Please read the following from the State Guidelines, regarding protocols that would be followed if a parent/guardian of a camper exhibits symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19:

“In the event that a parent/guardian of a camper must be isolated because they have tested positive for, or exhibited symptoms of, COVID-19, the parent/ guardian must be advised that they cannot enter the site for any reason, including picking up their child.

If the parent/guardian – who is a member of the same household as the child/camper – is exhibiting signs of COVID-19 or has been tested and is positive for the virus, utilize an emergency contact authorized by the parent to come pick up the child. As a “close contact,” the child/camper must not return to the child care or day camp for the duration of the quarantine.

If the parent/guardian– who is a member of the same household as the child/camper – is being quarantined as a precautionary measure, without symptoms or a positive test, staff should walk out or deliver the child/camper to the parent/guardian at the boundary of, or outside, the premises. As a “contact of a contact” the child/camper may return to the child care or day camp during the duration of the quarantine.

If a child/camper or their household member becomes symptomatic for COVID-19 and/or tests positive, the child must quarantine and may not return or attend the child care or day camp program until after quarantine is complete.

Please note that due to the extraordinary nature of this summer, we will not issue refunds or credits for any camp time missed. This includes camp missed due to illness, any precautionary quarantine, or due to any partial or full closure of camp.

10. Swim

The Pond will be divided into sections, ensuring that the groups that are at the waterfront together during a period do not come in direct contact with one another. Face coverings will not be worn by campers in The Pond. Because of the need for static groups, we will not be offering swim lessons in our traditional format, where campers from multiple groups came together to form swim groups. Rather, we will attempt to offer more informal, one-on-one mini swim lessons within the static group of 10. When not involved in a mini lesson, campers will enjoy free swim. We feel the most important thing is for campers to be in the water, cooling off, playing, gaining comfort, and improving skills where possible!

11. Food

In order to minimize risk we will not provide snacks this summer. Campers will bring their own snacks for snack time each day. Regarding lunch, families are given the option to pack lunch or purchase an individually packed lunch from the Threefold Cafe.

12. Overnights and Day Hikes

In keeping with the guidelines and maintaining the lowest risk possible, we will be forgoing our offsite camping program for the summer. We are excited that we will still be able to offer onsite overnights for individual pods, where campers will be assigned their own non-shared tent and will bring their own food. We are also happy to report that we still plan to embark on off-site Day Hikes, to get our campers exploring new environs and adventuring once again!

13. Visitors, Venders, and You

We are required to prohibit non-essential visitors on our site this summer. Any pick-ups and deliveries will be made in a designated location away from campers and staff. There will be a designated ingress and egress on the perimeter of camp for parents/guardians picking up/dropping off their camper outside of regular arrival and dismissal times, i.e. parents/guardians will not be permitted onsite. 

In an extenuating circumstance where a visitor absolutely must come on site, temperature checks and screenings will be conducted.

Are you on board for Summer 2021?

We can't wait to see you!
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