The State of NJ announced that Day Camps can open on July 6, 2020.
Camp will look different this summer.
The health and safety of our camp community continues to be our highest priority. We are monitoring guidance from the CDC, the American Camp Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the NJ Department of Health to shape our summer 2020 program. We are also waiting for Governor Murphy to announce when camps can open for this summer.
As summer approaches, Ruth Ann, Hanna, and I are continuing our work to create a safe, positive, and fun summer experience so we can open our doors on June 29. As camp professionals, we believe that there are many benefits to camp. Outside of the joy it brings, it’s good for mental health by allowing kids to socialize, to play, and to grow independently of their parents, especially after being cooped up inside for so long. It’s also good for both families and the economy by letting more parents return to work.
To us, the benefits of camp outweigh the risks. However, it’s important to understand that it’s impossible to reduce the risk to zero. Our goal is to reduce the risk of infection low enough that the benefits outweigh the harms. We understand that some kids have health conditions that will have their parents hesitate. Others live with adults who do, and the same concerns will apply. Each family will have to decide if they are comfortable sending their children to camp this summer. Every decision comes with some risk, and we appreciate those families who believe in Eagle's Landing. In an effort to reduce the spread of germs, we are operating at a 50% capacity this summer and we already have waiting lists for certain age groups. If you are uncomfortable with our guidelines detailed below and would like to cancel for this summer, please let us know now so that we can fill your spot from our waiting list and give another child this special opportunity. As a reminder, our refund policy extends through June 28.
The Department of Health is currently working on their set of final guidelines for summer camps and we expect an announcement some time this week from the Governor with our opening date. We will continue to update you weekly with changes to our program and the procedures we are implementing to ensure camp is a safe and meaningful experience for everyone. Changing the basic operating design of a summer camp is a tremendous effort and we're working both day and night to make this a reality so we can open our doors this summer. As our revised safety guidelines solidify, we want to share with you some of the changes for this summer.
Screen everyone, every day
Both campers and staff will be screened daily BY EAGLE’S LANDING before entering the property. This is a change from our last email. - Upon arrival at camp, we will ask parents about symptoms and potential exposures. - If anyone reports anything positive, or if they have a fever of 100.4 or higher, they will be not allowed on the property. - If anyone believes that someone they are living with is ill or has been exposed, they should stay home.
Parents and staff will also answer a pre-camp medical questionnaire for the two weeks prior to the start of camp. This will include daily home temperature checks and reporting any symptoms on the form provided in your Campminder account. - We all want to stay safe and daily health screenings are an important part of that process.
How can camp operate with social distancing? Minimize the spread of germs! Guidance from the CDC and American Camp Association recommends not to mix camper groups. To comply with best practices, this summer each camper group will be considered a "household" and will stay together for all 8 weeks. Just as you are close to the people you live with at home, your group household members will not require social distancing. The Health Department recognizes that campers in a group cannot/will not stay six feet apart at all times. Therefore, each group household will travel together, take bathroom breaks together, and go to activities together. This group of campers, along with their counselor, will not social distance from each other. Similar to your personal household, the group household of 10-12 people will be sharing personal space and germs. Group household members can hold hands -- they just have to wash with soap and water or sanitize regularly. - Every group household will have 10 campers or less. - Eagle's Landing staff will wear face masks while inside. - Staff will only wear masks outside when they cannot be socially distanced from other group households. - Campers will not be required to wear masks, but parents have the option of sending one. We will do our best, in this case, to keep the masks on those campers. - Hand washing will become a regular activity, especially before eating. - Camp groups will have 10 minutes between every activity to wash their hands.
Group households will share activities with other households in the same grade, but each group must stay socially distanced from the others when possible. We say "when possible" because there are times, such as during a soccer game, when groups will mix due to the nature of the activity. Each division, by gender, will be called a "family", i.e. 3rd grade boys. We have three 3rd grade boys groups, or households, that will have activities together as a family, while maintaining social distancing. These 3rd grade boys groups will not mix with any other groups at camp to reduce the potential for spreading germs. It’s all about minimizing risk. - We have created a set schedule for every group.
Stay outdoors as much as possible
Outdoor activities appear to be much less likely to result in virus transmission than indoor activities. This means that we will spend as much time as possible outdoors. - Social distancing decals are located around camp to remind campers and staff where they should stand while in line or sit at an activity.
Clean and disinfect facilities regularly
While we wait for the final health department guidelines, here are a few of our policies that we are implementing for this summer: - We added dozens of hand sanitizer stations around camp. - Disinfecting wipes are located at all of our program areas to help disinfect equipment between groups. - Maintenance and cleaning crews will wear PPE and be constantly wiping high touch areas like door knobs and sinks. - We will “fog” the property and playgrounds every night for additional safety. Our electrostatic foggers use CDC and EPA approved disinfectants. - Our common bathrooms use touchless toilets, faucets, and hand dryers. - All delivery personnel must wear masks and gloves when entering the camp property. - No camp tours or visiting.
Lunch and snacks
- Lunch periods are staggered to reduce the number of campers and staff in one location at any time. - Everyone will sanitize their hands before entering the lunch tent. - Our food service staff will all wear PPE, including face masks, gloves, and aprons. - No shared condiments. All condiments will be in individual packets. - Lunch tables will be deep cleaned and sanitized between groups. - Campers will sit by group household, spaced 6 feet from any other group. - Lunch staff will serve food to campers from the salad bar.
The CDC has confirmed that Covid-19 is not spread in pool water. - We have scheduled one longer swim period each day instead of two to reduce the time campers spend in the bunks changing. - Swim instruction is limited to one family of groups per pool. - Campers will be socially distanced if not within the same group. - Campers will not be allowed to wear masks while in the pool. - We will limit the number of campers in the bunks changing so they can spread out. - To reduce time spent indoors, campers in grades 1 and older may opt to not change out of their bathing suits after swim. Kiddie Kingdom will have additional staff to help our youngest campers change more quickly. - All sunscreen will be applied outside the bunks. We ask that you send spray sunscreen for our staff to apply when possible. - We will continue to offer one-on-one private swim lessons after camp. The swim instructor will wear a mask when they cannot be socially distant while teaching. Unfortunately, we cannot allow parents to watch the lessons since no visitors will be allowed on the property. If you are interested in a private swim lesson please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As far as rain days, there are 2 different types as far as camp is concerned. There’s an all-day soaking rain and then there’s the unexpected summer afternoon shower. Similar to the school system's handling of snow, we are now including two "rain days" in our camp schedule. If the forecast is for all-day rain, we will send a text to parents to keep their kids home so that we don’t have to crowd groups of campers into a building for a movie. If there are more than 2 rain days, we will issue a credit per day used. - We ask all parents to send a face covering to camp in their child's backpack. In the case of a sudden rain or thunderstorm, we will ask the campers to use their mask while together with other groups in their camp family.
- We have an additional nurse in our Wellness Center to help keep everyone healthy and happy. - Our nurses will wear PPE while evaluating campers. - Nebulizer treatments of any camper will occur outdoors to avoid mist spread. - Campers will wait on a bench outside of the Wellness Center until called by one of our nurses.
Will we be informed if a camper or staff member tests positive Covid-19?
Our goal is to keep our ELDC family as informed as possible while remaining in compliance with various privacy laws. While those privacy laws prohibit us from providing detailed information about any specific individual(s), we intend to share generalized communications about any confirmed cases of Covid-19 among our staff or campers.
What about the “kawasaki-like disease” and “covid toe” (MIS-C or multisystem inflammatory syndrome) affecting children?
The CDC reported last week that this is a very rare and treatable syndrome. 15 children under age 15 in the U.S. have died of Covid-19 since February compared to about 200 who died of the flu and pneumonia. Children represent 0.02% of those affected. - MIS-C is curable with treatment if recognized within a few days of seeing the symptoms. - The syndrome highly detectable and our staff are aware of and will look for these signs and symptoms on a daily basis. - The syndrome is not communicable. Children can not give it to other children.
We are changing our transportation options to create more opportunities for parents to drive to camp as an alternative to using our buses. Please read the options below and send us an email immediately if you would like to change your current choice. If your schedule is flexible, we suggest that you drive your kids to camp and not take the bus to minimize the spread of germs. - Late arriving campers and those who may have an early dismissal will be assisted by our staff so that parents/guardians do not enter the camp office. Please call the camp office for assistance at 732-821-9155 when you arrive.
Buses and Vans
- There will only be a driver and 1 other staff member - the Bus Counselor - on each bus this summer to ensure safety. - Bus Drivers and Bus Counselors will wear masks and gloves at all times. - Everyone taking a bus will have their temperature checked by the Bus Counselor with an infrared thermometer before boarding. - Buses will operate with windows open to circulate fresh air. - Any child or staff member riding a bus will be required to wear a face mask while onboard. - Everyone riding a bus will be seated by themselves on a seat, unless they are siblings. - All vehicles will be sanitized every morning when they arrive and again every evening. - Our busses will depart camp at 4:05 pm, 15 minutes earlier then previous years.
Parent Transportation (PT)
- We are EXTENDING the window for free drop off and pick up in our back parking lot. Parents may drop off at camp from 8:00-8:45 am and pick up in the afternoon between 4:15-5:00 pm. We are hopeful that more families take advantage of our extended hours in an effort to reduce the number of campers on our buses and in our Extended Day (ED) program. - All campers will have their temperature checked before exiting their cars. - Parents are asked to remain in their car due to CDC regulations. Our staff will greet your children at your car and return them to you in the afternoon. - There is no charge for Parent Transportation (PT).
Before and After Care (ED)
This summer, our staff will meet campers in front of the camp office at a table next to the parking lot. Our staff will perform a temperature check before they sign your child in each morning. The ED staff will also call for your child in the afternoon. We are limiting the number of people who enter our office to reduce to risk of spreading germs. This new process will take additional time, so please be patient. - The hours for Before Care and After Care (ED) are now 7:00-8:15 am and 4:15-6:00 pm. - We will separate all campers by age to keep them in smaller groups and socially distanced.
What happens outside of camp is just as important as what happens within it
In normal times, how people spend their evenings and weekends really wouldn’t matter. Now it does. Counselors and staff will need to be rigorously safe during their off-hours so that they don’t bring danger in. The same applies to campers’ families. Everyone will be in this together, so everyone will need to be able to trust one another’s actions outside to feel safe inside.
Other program changes
- Large gatherings such as Spring into Summer have been cancelled. - Overnights are changed to stay lates and will end at 9 pm. - Our electives program will be converted to scheduled activity periods to reduce mixing between groups. - Out of camp trips have been cancelled. We will be bringing in special events for our Trip Program campers. More information will be released as it’s available. - Our drama shows have been cancelled to reduce the mixing of campers within different groups. We are working to integrate drama activities into the schedule. - Our lower camp shows for KK-2nd grade continue and will be recorded/streamed. - The LITs will stay together as group households with a counselor. LITs will not work with camper groups to reduce the mixing of campers. - LIT community service projects will be completed by group households within the LIT family. - CITs will be assigned to and stay with one group household for the entire day, for all 8 weeks. We will have a special celebration for the CITs at the end of the summer. - We have a full-time Behaviorist on staff to assist with campers who may struggle with the structure of camp after being home for 3 months. - Meet & Greets have been modified. We will schedule a Google Meet the week prior to camp to answer any of your questions. We will also record a video of your child's Counselor and Junior Counselor and send it to you so they can see his or her face and become familiar for their first day at camp.
If parents can't visit, how can we stay involved in our child’s camp experience?
New this year, Eagle's Landing is introducing a new Campanion app for your phone that will allow parents to view pictures of their campers and stay up to date with all things ELDC. In addition to Instagram-like photo streams and posts, our Campanion app includes facial recognition software to "push" camp photos of your kids directly to your phone! More details on this app will be emailed to you in the coming weeks.
If you have any questions at all, please call the camp office at 732-821-9155. This summer is unique and we all understand that it will be different. Some of you may not be comfortable sending your child to camp. We get it. This is not for everyone. If you are uncomfortable and prefer your children not attend camp this summer, that's ok. All we ask is that you let us know as soon as possible.
This is a lot of information and we will have more to share once the final guidelines are released. We anticipate that campers will be swimming and playing outside, having fun and making slime as usual. There are obviously new requirements, which we outlined in this email. We are trying to keep everyone updated regularly and we will let you know more once we finalize our plans. You should expect weekly updates as camp gets closer.
We are looking forward to seeing all of you and camp will be here before you know it!