Camp will be open this summer and our first day will be Monday, July 6th. The guidelines for opening day camps came out early Tuesday morning and they are similar to what we thought they would be. At the present time, there are a few guidelines that are being discussed and we should know very soon what they all look like. We have been preparing Park Shore to open and we will be ready for the exciting start to the Park Shore 2020 camp season when we will greet all of our boys and girls with our amazing Special Events team of characters and the famous Park Shore morning arrival music.
The parent survey that we sent out last week was helpful and assisted us in some of the planning that we have put into place. After reading all of the surveys we noticed that many parents had the same questions, so we created this FAQ document until we are ready to present our full Camp Safety Plan and Policies.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Even though the Governor has given his approval for the guidelines there are a few that are still being discussed and revisions could still take place.
What will be the Group Size?
Campers will be placed into groups (Pods) with assigned staff. We are anticipating groups to be what the guidelines suggest which are 10 – 15 campers per group in addition to staff. Groups will be kept apart as best as possible. Mixing of groups (Pods) will be minimized. When Groups (Pods) are in a shared space (food emporium, cafe, assembly area, etc.), groups will be required to maintain social distance from one another (minimum 6 feet).
Why are campers required to be screened before camp?
We are following the CDC and the New York State Board of Health suggested guidelines by having everyone in our camp community take their temperature and record it for 14 days before a camper’s session begins. Temperatures must not be above 100. In addition, parents and staff will watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and record all of their observations on a special screening form provided by the nurses for the American Camping Association who followed the CDC guidelines. Once camp starts and a parent wants to enroll their child, they will have to follow the same procedures. If a COVID test is taken with a negative test result and the camper’s temperature was taken and recorded on the screening form for 5 days before their start with no temperature above 100.4, the camper can start one week earlier. We feel by following these screening procedures we can enter camp with some reassurance and confidence that there are minimal or potentially even zero cases of COVID within our population. As the Directors, we know we will feel much better about opening camp with this knowledge. It will also bring some peace of mind to our camp families and staff. We realize that excellent screening results prior to camp starting do not mean we can be lax on our safety protocols or stop with our continued spot screening of staff or potential future screening of campers based on health department guidelines. We are currently researching readily available testing locations for those families who want their child to take a COVID-19 test.
What protocols will there be for Staff on time-off / weekends?
We will be communicating with our entire camp community about the importance of following and abiding by all CDC and Health Department guidelines during time away from camp. This includes social distancing, wearing a protective face covering, not engaging in certain activities or any other requirements that are put in place by government agencies or the camp. Our staff will be signing a Memo Of Understanding that they understand the importance of following these important standards. Our staff’s time off is their own and we respect their privacy, however, to protect the safety of our camp community our staff must understand the importance of these guidelines.
*Families will also be asked to sign a Memo of Understanding agreeing to reasonable social distancing behaviors throughout the summer.
For preschool campers who do not understand social distancing and need affection from staff, what will camp look like?
It is our hope that preschool campers will be the least impacted age group in camp. Since this camp division always moves and stays together as small set groups, things will not change too much. Campers and staff will be able to show affection, staff will assist with changing, bathroom visits (diapers if needed) and sunscreen. Campers this age should not need to wear face coverings although staff may pull their face covering over their mouth and nose when in very close proximity. Staff will have a face covering when they are less than 6 feet from a camper for more than 15 minutes. One change will be the additional handwashing, hand sanitizing and special attention to children putting their hands or fingers to their mouth and nose. Groups will also minimize time indoors, but Park Shore is fortunate to have many covered activity areas and shady areas to cool down.
What is the policy if a child or staff member contracts COVID-19?
The case will be reported to the proper health authorities, and all families and staff within the group will be notified immediately. All facilities that the individual came in contact with will be deep cleaned and disinfected. Some areas may need to be closed for 24 hours. We expect that local contact tracing regulations will require all campers and staff who came in “close contact” (less than 6 ft for at least 15 minutes) with the individual will be required to quarantine. For full transparency, the entire camp community will be notified, but the privacy of the individual will be kept under strict confidentiality. Other campers or staff that may have had “proximate contact” (interactions greater than 6 feet within a shared space) will likely be asked to self-monitor for symptoms if local health guidelines require. Families will receive a 100% credit or refund for any missed camp days due to required quarantine.
We would like to have the option to enroll later in the summer when we are more comfortable, will that be possible? Will we be able to enroll for mixed weeks, short weeks?
It has always been our goal to be as accommodating as possible to the needs of our campers and parents. This summer, however, brings some new challenges. Guidelines and potential restrictions on group sizes may prevent us from accommodating campers who want to enroll later in the summer. Park Shore is entering this summer with an unknown enrollment although expected to be close to 50% below capacity. In addition, we will be incurring tremendous additional expenses to meet the new safety guidelines required to maintain a safe camp. For this reason, we encourage all families to make their decisions as early as possible as we cannot hold a place without payment. Of course, if space allows additional enrollments later in the summer, we will be more than happy to welcome new campers. We will allow families to split up weeks during the summer for convenience, however, the 2-week minimum enrollment must be consecutive. If you split your 2-week session a re-entry form will need to be completed to re-enter camp.
When will Campers be required to wear a mask? What type? What about staff?
We do not expect campers to be required to wear a mask, because children will be spending most of their day outdoors and with the same group of campers and staff (their Pod). Exceptions for campers may include when campers are indoors and social distancing (6 feet) is not possible. Specifically, this could include times in the locker room or at one of the few indoor activities like cooking. We generally believe that even during these times, masks will likely not be needed. Campers will be required to wear a face-covering when visiting the health center if they are showing symptoms of illness. In addition, during pop up rain showers or thunderstorms, face coverings may be required based on indoor social distancing requirements. Finally, some older campers and those in our Teen program may have times during the day when they will be required to wear a mask.
At the present time, there is a discussion with the local health department about when the staff has to wear a face-covering when outside. The discussion is centered around wearing a face covering when a staff member cannot maintain a social distance of 6 feet whether outdoors or indoors as opposed to wearing one all day regardless of distancing. Staff will be required to put on a face covering when indoors and when social distancing from other groups and staff is not possible. Specialty staff will be required to wear a face-covering or face shield when working with camp groups unless able to maintain appropriate social distance throughout the activity or while working indoors with campers.
Lifeguards and swim instructors will wear face shields when teaching swim instruction.
All kitchen staff and servers will wear face masks as per proper health guidelines.
Park Shore will provide all campers and staff with a microfiber neck gaitor which can be easily pulled over the mouth and nose as needed. When not required campers and staff can wear them around their neck, arm, leg, or as a head covering. We will ask all campers to come to camp with some type of clean face covering every day and wear it while walking to their Pod. Parents are welcome to provide their own choice of face covering.
Will there be busing; what will drop-off/pick-up be like?
We realize that providing bus transportation is a huge convenience to families and in some cases a necessity. However, under the expected safety guidance bus transportation will likely require many logistical obstacles, such as social distancing on school buses likely reducing the capacity of a bus by ⅓, required face coverings and buses without air-conditioning. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to not offer bus service this summer.
We hope that most of you will be able to navigate the logistics of transporting your children to and from camp. Carpools will be allowed. It pains us to think that there may be even one family and camper that will not be able to attend due to this decision. We ask that you reach out to us so that we can try to brainstorm solutions with you.
Arrivals and Dismissals this summer may be our most challenging task. But with your cooperation, we are confident we will have a smooth-running system after a couple of days. We expect to stagger arrivals between 8:15 AM and 9:15 AM and departures between 3:15 PM and 4:30 PM and that times will be given to you in advance. We will not be able to set specific times until later in June after we have a better idea of our enrollment figures and headcounts by age. Campers will be temperature screened before leaving the car. We will send out a detailed arrival and departure plan to all families prior to camp and will have a practice day during the week of June 29 to July 2 in which we expect parents to be able to get a feeling of this new procedure and to pick up their camper’s Park Shore t-shirts.
Parents will need ID when picking up their child(ren).
Will there be swim; instruction?
YES! We understand that swimming is a favorite activity of many campers and an important part of the camp day. Swimming pools have been ruled safe because the virus is not waterborne and pools are properly treated with chlorine. There is no current evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in a pool or water play areas.
Unlike other summers at Park Shore, campers will stay in their regular camp group during instructional swim and be taught by their counselors and swim instructor in order to try and teach to the varied abilities within the group. Instructors and camper groups will be consistent for the summer. As stated in the previous section, lifeguards will wear face shields when in the water with their instruction groups. All groups will have one extended/double swim period – ½ instruction and ½ free swim. This will help us reduce the time campers spend indoors in changing rooms.
What activities will be offered; what will they look like? Special Events, Electives
We plan on running most of the activities that Park Shore campers have learned to enjoy. This includes swimming, sports, creative arts, skytrail, rockwall, bungee and playground areas. Our indoor activities will be relocated outdoors or to open-air structures, except cooking. Due to the difficulty in cleaning, our Maker Space Lego activity will not run this summer. We do plan on offering Special Events this summer, however, many will take place on a group level with a smaller number of campers at one time. Our creative staff is working hard planning ways to reinvent some of our favorite Park Shore traditions so we can keep them this summer.
Extreme Steam Science Kids will be running for the summer. All science campers will be placed into their class (Pod) and will stay in that Pod all day. Science campers who stay for a full day will not be able to join a camp group in progress as we have done in past summers. After lunch, they will stay in their Pod and participate in all of the Park Shore activities including the possibility of more science activities.
Unfortunately, due to social distancing guidelines, we will not be able to run electives for our older campers as usual. We plan on incorporating times in the schedule where each group will have its own choice time. Electives like Fine Arts, Drama, skytrail, rockwall, bungee, and others (plus some new ones) should be available this summer in a new format.
What will happen on a rainy day?
Due to the fact that we cannot go on trips and it would be extremely difficult to stay indoors all day we have decided to add 3 rain days, like snow days are used during school. If the forecast indicates there will be a full rainy day you will be notified by 7a.m. that camp will be closed for that day. A credit of $100 for the summer 2021 will be offered starting on the 4th rainy day. If we come to camp and the forecast changes and it will rain for the rest of the day there might be an early dismissal. You will be notified in advance of that decision. If during the day there is a brief shower and it won’t last long, campers will take cover under our open air pavilions or in their locker rooms. Whenever an indoor room is used our social distancing protocol of wearing a face covering if you cannot be at least 6 feet apart will go into effect.
What will the Teen program be like?
There will be no trips off of the camp facility this summer. If anything should change you will be notified about how our travel program would move forward. Campers who have finished grades 6 thru 8 will attend Park Shore during the regular camp hours. Travel campers will be placed in Pods like our regular camp groups, 10 travel campers per Pod with staff. Their program will consist of a 5-day traditional day camp setting made up of activities such as swimming, sports, rockwall, bungee, skytrail, and other exciting field activities. In addition to the daily activities, campers will participate in age-appropriate Special Events and have weekly special lunch options including barbecues. Tuitions will be adjusted using our regular day camp tuition rates for our K – 4th-grade campers based on when you enrolled.
What is next? When do we need to decide?
Now that the guidelines are out we plan to move forward with getting camp ready. We wanted you to get a feeling about how Park Shore will look for this summer before you gave us your response to whether your child(ren) will be attending camp this summer. This will give us a better idea as to what to do with your final balance. All tuitions will be adjusted accordingly based on these new circumstances. Obviously, we want your child(ren) to join us this summer and enjoy all of the excitement we have planned. We plan to send a follow-up email that will ask for your answer to whether your child(ren) will be attending or we will call you and discuss your situation over the phone. It is critical for us to have this information, so we can plan accordingly. At that time we can answer any questions you might have and make you feel comfortable about how Park Shore will run this summer.
We look forward to an exciting and safe summer for all of our boys and girls. This is what they need to help them get back to some sense of normalcy. We greatly appreciate your understanding throughout these very difficult times and are always available if you have a question or concern.