Keeping Camp Safe & Healthy 2023
April 28, 2023
Over the past several decades, the healthcare needs of our campers have changed and grown. Now nearly half arrive on an established regimen of prescribed medications. The COVID19 pandemic further hastened the pace of change of when and how we deliver care. Last summer as we emerged from the isolation of the pandemic, CMS saw cases of Covid19, influenza, strep throat, upper respiratory infections, viral gastroenteritis, and even pneumonia.
As we count down the days until camp begins again, our top priority for summer 2023 is to keep our campers, families, and staff safe and healthy. We have updated our medical protocols and practices to match the most current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the American Camp Association (ACA). We will continue to update our practices as new guidelines from those institutions are issued.
We respectfully request that you review and adhere to our healthcare policies as listed below.
Prior To Opening Day
- Please ensure that your daughter’s healthcare profile is completed in her CampMinder account no later than June 1.
- We strongly encourage all campers to be up to date with their childhood, influenza, and COVID19 vaccines. If your daughter has not yet received a bivalent COVID19 booster, the CDC and CMS highly recommend she receive one.
- During the 10 days prior to your arrival, we ask all families to take steps to ensure their camper arrives healthy, well rested, and ready for their best camp experience:
- Avoid activities involving gathering indoors with large crowds.
- Wear a well-fitting mask, preferably a N95, when traveling by plane, train, bus, or subway.
- Monitor your child for signs of illness and complete the daily screener form that we will provide in June. This form must be completed and turned in to our healthcare team upon arrival for review. If your child is showing signs of illness such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, or nasal drainage leading up to opening day, please stay home and contact the camp office for further directions.
- A healthy camp starts at home. Please talk to your daughter about what she can do while at camp to keep herself and the entire camp community healthy. Teach her to cough/sneeze into her sleeve and to wash her hands often while at camp, especially before eating and after toileting.
- Pack a reusable water bottle or two. Instruct your daughter to use it and refill it often. Staying hydrated is important of a healthy camp experience. Teach your daughter that she can assess her hydration by noting the color of her urine, ideally light yellow.
- Make sure your daughter understands the importance of a healthy diet. She needs to consume adequate amounts to have the energy for the many activities.
- Remind your camper that camp is not like a sleepover. She needs to sleep, not stay up all night if she wants to enjoy camp. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 9-12 hours of sleep for children aged 6-12 and 8-10 hours per night for those aged 13-18.
- All campers and staff, regardless of vaccination status, are required to provide documentation of a negative molecular PCR COVID-19 test administered no more than 72 hours prior to arrival at a professional testing site. Saliva based NAAT tests, self/parent collected, and home tests will not be accepted.
- Arriving campers and staff will have an oral temperature screening. Any persons who are febrile, (temperature of 100.4 or greater per the World Health Organization) will be asked to depart immediately. Those persons may return when they are fever free for 24 hours without fever reducers and with proof of a second negative molecular PCR COVID-19 test.
- We have a strict “No Nit/No Lice” policy. All campers undergo a thorough scalp check upon arrival. If nits or lice are detected, the camper will be asked to depart immediately and may not return until lice and nit free. Be sure to pack a biodegradable lice repellant shampoo such as Lice Shield or Fairy Tales.
- DO NOT BRING any medications or supplements to camp that are not accompanied by a physician’s order or that are not in their original container. This includes sprays, topicals, liquids, inhalers, and sleep aids. We are unable to administer any medications you send with your daughter to camp without a written order from your daughters’ pediatrician on the signed Healthcare Provider Form you submit to Campminder.
- Our excellent healthcare staff, the American Camp Association, the Alliance for Camp Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly encourage campers to remain on all medications taken during the school year, including ADD/ADHD medications.
While Camp Is in Session
- If a camper tests positive for Covid19 or influenza while at camp, she will be isolated from the camp community until a parent or authorized emergency contact is able to pick her up. She may return to camp when she is no longer contagious and is safe to be in a community environment, per the most current CDC guidelines.
- The lessons we learned from the COVID19 pandemic are applicable to controlling the spread of any communicable disease at camp. We will continue best practices for handwashing and ventilation. Other non-pharmacological interventions like masking and cohorting may be utilized as needed. Please talk to your daughter about what she can do to keep herself, her cabin, her team, and her camp healthy this summer.
- We strongly encourage you to test your daughter for Covid when she departs CMS. Should her result be positive, please inform the camp office.
Camp Mont Shenandoah and Covid, Summer 2023
January 4, 2023
For close to three years we have been responding to Covid-19, navigating the pandemic and instituting practices we deem most appropriate to keep our camp family safe and healthy. Our efforts have been a priority shared by our parents, campers, and staff. As we have said repeatedly, we will react to the changing nature of the pandemic and respond accordingly.
As a result, we will not require a Covid-19 vaccination for Summer, 2023. But, because Covid remains in our midst and a danger to the well-being of campers, staff, and the broader community, we will continue to strongly urge that everyone at CMS be up-to-date with their Covid vaccinations for the coming camp season.
Please know that we will be following best practices this summer for Covid-19 testing, both on opening days and with symptomatic campers, as set forth by the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the American Camp Association (ACA). We will give registered families adequate advance notice of what these practices will look like.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us should you have any questions about our updated Covid-19 policies.