Camp Mont Shenandoah’s response to COVID-19

Camp Mont Shenandoah has made the decision to delay the start of camp to July 4, two weeks after our originally scheduled date of June 20.  This decision is in our camp family’s best interest.  Our goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of our campers, families, and staff. While we remain very hopeful that we will open July 4, there is still the possibility that we will not be able to open at all. In the event this happens, all families will be eligible for a full refund.

For us, it’s hard to believe that it’s May 23 and we are still wondering if camp will happen or not. This time of year typically brings lots of preparatory work: cleaning cabins, repairing buildings, cutting grass, placing orders of all sorts, etc.  While we are trying to maintain the hope that we can have camp in some form this summer, we remain unsure of what the next few weeks will bring. The holding pattern we’ve been in continues as we wait to hear if Virginia can move out of Phase 1, where camps may not operate, into Phase 2. We also need to hear from our Governor about what Phase 2 will look like and what the restrictions will be. To date, there is a paucity of information available. With the above said, we will be making a decision by June 5 whether camp is a “Go” or a “No Go.” If a “Go,” we will look forward to welcoming our campers on July 4. If a “No Go”, we are working on alternative plans to keep the summer alive, perhaps by offering a family camp opportunity. Please remember, we ask that you let us know by Monday, June 1, if your daughter will be attending camp.  We will be sending another email next week detailing the plans and protocols we will have in place this summer to keep her safe and healthy should we be a “Go.” This will allow you to make a good, well-informed decision. As previously stated, all campers are entitled to a full refund if camp doesn’t operate this summer or if they withdraw by June 1. 

As you make your decision about the upcoming summer, it is important for you to know that we will make your daughter’s safety, health, and well-being our top priority.  To this end, we continue to carefully monitor information provided by the CDC, Governor Northam’s office, and the American Camp Association.  We are also consulting with the Virginia Department of Health, Bath Community Hospital, numerous healthcare professionals including a pediatric infectious disease specialist, our own camp doctor, and other professionals in the summer camp industry.  Here are some of the preliminary actions we have discussed for the summer to keep our community safe and healthy:

  • Request that all campers and residential staff self-quarantine for 14 days prior to the arrival of camp.
  • Change our opening day procedures to reduce the risk of someone bringing COVID-19 onto camp property.
  • Restrict the individuals who may enter camp while we’re in session and ensure that all vendors are taking necessary safety precautions.
  • Require all residential staff to remain on property for the duration of camp.
  • Require all local staff to use PPE while working.
  • Regularly check camper and staff temperatures.
  • Mandate excellent hygiene practices for all campers and staff.
  • Discourage close contact between campers and campers and staff.
  • Isolate and quarantine any camper or staff member who becomes symptomatic and work with our local health department, healthcare providers, and the camper’s parents to determine the best path forward. 

What does a July 4 start date mean for you and your daughter?

We will be reducing the six weeks to four weeks with the three weeks going to two, two-week sessions.  As of now, Roots & Shoots will remain untouched by the schedule changes.  The new dates for this summer are:

  • Four Weeks: July 4-August 1
  • First Two Weeks: July 4-July 18
  • Second Two Weeks: July 19-August 1
  • Roots & Shoots: August 2-8

New Tuition Rates

In light of these schedule changes, there will be new tuition rates for the Three and Six Week campers.

  • For Three Weekers paying the 2019 early registration tuition, the new Two Week tuition is $3515 with families being entitled to a $880 refund.
  • For Three Weekers paying the 2020 tuition rate, the new Two Week tuition is $3624 with families being entitled to a $910 refund.
  • For Six Weekers paying the 2019 early registration tuition, the new Four Week tuition is $6100 with families being entitled to a $1525 refund.
  • For Six Weekers paying the 2020 tuition, the new Four Week tuition is $6284 with families being entitled to a $1570 refund.
  • Horseback riding is a program that traditionally does not make money so the tuition discounts will only be 10% off the current rate.

If you chose to withdraw your daughter from camp

While it is my sincere hope that we will see your daughter this summer, some of you may feel it necessary to withdraw her from camp because of:

  • health concerns she may be experiencing, including being immunocompromised;
  • your concerns about her being away from home and away from your care;
  • financial concerns because of the economic impact of COVID-19 on your family’s circumstances;
  • and a host of other reasons or situations of which we are not aware.

We will issue FULL REFUNDS, including the deposit, to any camper who believes, or whose parents believe, that it is not in her best interest to attend Camp Mont Shenandoah this summer.

There are four ways in which you can receive your tuition refund if you are withdrawing your daughter from the 2020 season. Please note that the first three options will help ease the financial impact of COVID-19 on CMS and ensure her longevity for future generations. These three options will also guarantee your daughter a spot in the 2021 camp season.

  1. The Disney Cruise plan (a modified version of what Disney was offering those whose cruises were canceled this spring due to COVID-19, hence the name): Allow us to retain all of the tuition paid to date and we will add 20% “spending power” for you to use over the next three years, starting in 2021. For example, if you have paid $1000 in tuition, we will add $200 giving you a total of $1200. $400 would go towards your daughter’s tuition in 2021, 2022, and 2023.
  2. Allow all of your tuition paid to date to roll over to the 2021 camp season.
  3. Allow your deposit to roll over to 2021 and receive a refund for the balance of tuition paid.
  4. Receive a full refund, including the deposit.

It will be necessary for you to use the tuition/deposit in the years outlined above. Following this camp season, we will continue with our normal policy for refunds with deposits being refundable through December 31, 2020 and tuition refundable up to March 1, 2021.

Thank you for your time and attention. Please know that I remain available for any questions or concerns you may have about CMS and our response to COVID-19.

Warmest Regards,
Ann M. Warner