COVID-19 Reduction & Mitigation Plan
Camp Onas campers, staff, and their supportive families made the 2021 summer a success through the care and commitment they showed. We created safe procedures for mitigating the threat of Covid-19 using state and federal guidance and the families of every camper thoroughly followed those guidelines. We are incredibly grateful to them and our staff for giving us all the amazing summer we needed without any positive Covid cases at camp!
We are confident that in 2022 we will be able to run our camp program again using what we learned from 2021 with modifications that depend on the vaccination rates of our campers and their families. On this webpage, we have our 2021 Covid-19 policies still intact for you to view alongside our changes for the Older Camper Session in which a significant majority of our campers were vaccinated. Our policies will continue to evolve as we get closer to the coming summer, but reviewing last year’s policies is a good place to start in seeing how Onas might operate in 2022.
In our first three summer sessions, surveillance testing came back negative and our reduction and mitigation policies have been a success — A BIG thank you to the campers and families who quarantined and symptom-tracked prior to arrival, and to those arriving with negative PCR tests or immunized for COVID-19–your pre-arrival measures made all the difference!
For the One Week Older Camper Session:
- A significant majority of campers and staff at Onas this session are immunized for COVID-19, and there was high compliance with pre-arrival symptom tracking and reporting.
- This means we feel comfortable reducing masking and pod requirements during the Older Camper Session, and following CDC guidance for COVID-19 immunized people during the session without waiting for surveillance testing results. (The session is too short for surveillance testing to affect our protocol this session — as it is most effective 3 or more days after arrival and it can take our service 3+ days to analyze the tests and send us results.
- In light of the high COVID-19 immunization rate of our closed community, and the pre-arrival measures taken by all, we are modifying our COVID-19 reduction and mitigation protocol as follows:
- We will not require masks at any time among the members of a pod (bunk), and they will not be required during sports and running games, or at the pool.
- Participants may be unmasked anytime they are outdoors (regardless of distance or the pod of the peers they are with.
- Participants may be unmasked indoors with people from other pods as long as there is good ventilation and the group size is small. (ie a small group of people in the game room or the barn may be unmasked, but if the group size is larger, or the room is crowded, or they will be together for a prolonged period, they will be masked).
We will continue to require participants to wear face masks when/if:
- Camp is together in the Dining Hall for meals, except when seated at our tables and eating.
- Anyone asks them to, or they would feel more comfortable wearing one.
- They show signs or symptoms of illness. Anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms will wear a face mask when they are around others.
- Any other time a large group of campers and staff are indoors together. (This would be a rare occurrence, and would be most likely to happen if there is a storm requiring everyone to move indoors, without time to move groups to separate buildings).
In the unlikely event the state of PA or our county issues a mandate that directs us to follow different protocols we adjust our protocol as needed to follow those requirements.
Now that the Commonwealth of PA Requirements for Overnight Camps no longer conflict with CDC Guidance, we are making the following changes to our COVID-19 Mitigation Policy:
- Campers will no longer need to use masks or follow 2-of-3 protocol in their bunks (pods/ cohorts) as long as families are diligent about pre-arrival symptom reporting and quarantine tracking.
- This practice follows CDC guidance for overnight camp programs employing pre-arrival interventions like those we are using for people not immunized for COVID-19. (Pre-Arrival Quarantine, Symptom Tracking, and PCR Testing during a period of controlled exposure).
- We will conduct PCR surveillance testing of the Camp Onas population 4-5 days into the session to assess whether pre-arrival measures were successful at preventing COVID-19 from entering Onas at the start of the session. Until we have those test results, we will continue to have campers stay with their pods anytime they cannot maintain 2-of-3.
- If possible, we will reduce (or possibly eliminate) mask, distance, and contact requirements during the session, depending on the outcome of mid-session PCR tests, and our confidence in pre-arrival measures, as reported by families. (For example, while we will accept both, real-time symptom tracking and reporting inspires more confidence than submissions entered for multiple days at the same time).
Please note: These Pre-Arrival Requirements remain the same as announced in February, and have not changed:
- 10-Day Pre-Arrival Symptom Tracking & Quarantine Affirmation is still required, regardless of COVID-19 immunization status. (It is also important that immunized participants not arrive with a cold or flu, even if it is not COVID-19). Avoiding close contact , using face masks, and inventorying daily symptoms all work to help campers not arrive with a cold, flu, or other communicable disease.
- Negative PCR Test 5 days or fewer before arrival (and 5 days or more after self-quarantine begins) is still required for people who are not COVID-19 Immunized.
- If you camper is COVID-19 immunized or had a positive diagnosis in the previous 11-90 days, we will accept a copy of a vaccination card a diagnosis instead of a PCR Test.
Each family and staff member is required to complete the pre-arrival screening form on each of the 10 days preceding arrival. (You will need to submit the form every day, for 10 days). This is the first non-pharmacologic COVID mitigation step for camp, and is non-negotiable. Without pre-screening, campers’ sessions will be cancelled and no refunds given. (As always, we will contact families before cancelling a camper’s session). More info about our pre-screening form.
Unvaccinated and Partially Vaccinated participants: Will need to arrive with a negative PCR test for COVID-19, and the test must be done on or after the Wednesday before arrival.
Fully Immunized Participants: (All vaccine doses received 14+ days prior to arrival): Immunized participants do not need a negative PCR test for admission, but they will need to upload vaccine verification card to their portal by the day before arrival.
We will not admit anyone with signs or symptoms of illness on arrival day. All people arriving to stay at Camp Onas will be screened when they arrive, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status. The 10-day quarantine, if done correctly, should prevent participants from arriving at Onas with cold or flu symptoms.
If We Cannot Admit Your Camper Due to Signs/Symptoms of Illness:
Your camper will not be able to attend Camp Onas if we can’t admit them on arrival day (we are not accepting late arrivals or leaving during the session this year). If your camper is fully vaccinated for COVID-19, we may make an exception once they are symptom-free.
If we cannot admit your camper, Camp Onas will retain your tuition as a credit for next season, minus their deposit ($400 for a 2-week session, $300 for a one-week session). Refunds will only be given to families who are ineligible for a credit in 2022 because the family does not have an eligible camper.
Immunized Campers and Staff: Please upload a clear picture/scan of your vaccination card to your paperwork portal(Staff/Google Classroom, campers/CampBrain) at least 24 hours before your arrival. Individuals who are vaccinated for COVID-19 still need to report symptoms, and will be screened when they arrive. For this reason, we strongly recommend vaccinated participants to take measures to avoid contact with any communicable disease (not only COVID-19) in the 10 days before camp.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), ACA (American Camp Association), and ACN (Association of Camp Nurses) recommend the use of multiple Non-Pharmacological Interventions (NPIs) at overnight summer camps to combat COVID-19 this summer, and our plan relies heavily on NPIs.
Consistent, conscientious use of multiple NPIs reduces the risk of coronavirus transmission to what we believe is an acceptable level for our program and population. It is the expectation that this summer, everyone who comes to Camp Onas adheres to and participates in our COVID-19 Reduction and Mitigation Plan.
The basics of our plan are outlined first, and rationale is addressed in the Questions and Answers at the end.
This plan is is divided into three basic sections:
1. Reduce the chance someone arrives with COVID-19.
2. Mitigate the risk of coronavirus transmission during the session.
3. Care for our Community (as a whole and for individuals) if we suspect or confirm a case of COVID-19.
1. COVID-19 Reduction
10-day self-quarantine and symptom tracking:
- We will require a digitally-submitted daily report on each of the 10 days before arrival. It will be used to record/ report symptoms, and affirm self-quarantine.
- Self-quarantine will consist of staying within the household pod, and eliminating any additional travel, play groups, events, and non-essential contact. The CDC lists weddings, funerals, and playdates as the most common events attended by children with confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Obtain Proof of:
- A negative viral load test (PCR) – 5 days or less before arrival. OR
- Confirmation of a prior COVID-19 diagnosis less than 90, and more than 10 days before arrival.
Day Before Arrival:
- Complete your 24-Hour Health Check, which includes checking for head lice and bed bugs, and asks questions about symptoms (of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases).
- Triple-check you have your Proof of a Negative COVID-19 Test or COVID-19 diagnosis. Your camper will not be admitted without it.
Check-In Day – Before Heading to Camp:
- Do a symptom check at home – If you observe symptoms on Check-In Day, please contact Camp before you begin your travels.
- Everyone will be asked to help minimize contact between parties by observing 3-of-3 (members of the same household will not need to distance from one another).The goal is for arriving campers to avoid contact with other campers, other families, and Onas staff until everyone is settled.
- To make arrival and check-in/ check-out safer and lower exposure time for all, you can anticipate:
- An assigned check-in window, and staggered check-in
- A procedure we’ll ask you to follow for removing belongings from your car
- Limited out of car time, and no access to camper areas
- Temporary restroom facilities, away from camper areas
- A request that you travel to camp with as few people as you can, with one driver if possible
- A request that families not meet up with other families on their way to camp, even if it is a special tradition
- If you have to make a stop on your way to Camp (food, last minute items) please have your camper wash their hands and face immediately upon arrival. (The ACN’s Healthy Camps Initiative found a higher incidence of COVID-19 positivity upon arrival for those who stopped during their travel to camp).
Screening Upon Arrival:
- Camp Health Care staff will screen campers. The screening will include a temperature check, symptom screening, and a health history interview.
- Symptomatic campers and campers without proper health clearances will not be admitted.
Parent/Guardian Commitment Prior to Attendance:
- Camper pick-up within 8 hours if we request it – We will require affirmation that parents and guardians have a reliable way to pick up campers within 8 hours if we request it.
- Accurate, honest, and timely symptom and self-quarantine reporting the 10 days prior to arrival. There is not enough underlining, bolding, or a large enough font to convey how important this is. All campers, staff, and other families will be depending on, and entrusting one another to meet this responsibility.
- Understand and prepare for the possibility that even with a negative COVID-19 test, a 10-day quarantine, and symptom tracking, your child may not be admitted to camp if there is indication or reason to suspect infection or exposure to a communicable disease (even if it’s not COVID-19).
2. During the Session: Mitigating the Risk of Transmission & Outbreak.
As a community, we will endeavor to observe the 2-of-3 Principle (2-of-3):
Each person, at all times, will do two of the following three things:
- Wear a Mask
- Maintain 6-ft Distance from Others
- Be Outdoors
*We do not plan to have campers wear masks in the bunk while sleeping.
Changes to Everyday Life at Camp:
- Pods/ Cohorts – In addition to living together in groups of 6-8 campers and 2 counselors, bunks will do the majority of activities together and eat meals together.
- There will be 20% fewer people … which allows more personal space, makes physical distancing possible at meals, and increases the space between beds in the bunk.
- Campers and counselors will choose which activities they will do; campers will still be involved in deciding what they will do each day.
- There will be handwashing and hygiene breaks built into the schedule.
- After 5 or more days at Camp, and if conditions allow, we might increase the group size for activities and add in some free choice periods with mixed or combined pods (still 2-of-3)
- We will keep camp closed to the public as much as possible.
- The Camp program will be a little more low-key this year. We will try to relax, slow down, add time into the schedule for personal care, and focus on the present rather than the next thing we’re doing.
- Camp Pods will work a lot like the bubbles and family units most of us have used at home. But at Camp, we will use 2-of-3 inside the pod, and after 5 or more days, there’s a chance the pod might grow and/or restrictions relax as camp moves on. (It also might not).
- For example, if campers and staff are symptom-free and we’ve diligently adhered to 2-of-3, after 5 (or more) days, we might:
- Add all-camp or larger group activities (still 2-of-3)
- Add in some free choice activities (still 2-of-3)
- Reduce 2-of-3 to 1-of-3 within pods.
- Combine pods to form larger pods.
- Being diligent about 2-of-3 and keeping pods well-separated early in the session, might, if we remain symptom-free, allow us to relax (but not eliminate) some mitigation measures later in the session.
- After arrival, siblings will no longer be in the same pod unless they are in the same bunk. They will still see one another around camp, and can greet from a distance, but they will need to follow 2-of-3 at Camp.
Meals & The Dining Hall:
- We’ve already mentioned bunks will eat together as pods, and there will be fewer people to allow for physical distancing. (We’ll have more personal space at the tables during meals, and place a premium on spacing out the tables/ pods.)
- Everyone will wash their hands before every meal.
- Entering the dining hall wearing a mask, and keep it on until it’s time to eat. We will be calm and relatively orderly, we will not crowd, and pods might be assigned to use the same entrance for every meal.
- We will not do buffets or salad bars this year. There will still be PLENTY of fruits and veggies (and cereal options at breakfast) available at the tables.
- The counselors will take turns serving their pods this summer. They will wear gloves and a mask, bring food to the table, and serve everyone.
- We won’t be singing in the Dining Hall this summer, but we’re sure the staff will come up with something fun!
- Everyone will stay at their table during meals. The counselor serving will get refills (no matter who “killed” it), and also scrape and clear (no matter who gets “out”).
- We will have more seating available outside for meals, and might do more portable meals or do bunk “to go” baskets.
- We won’t have any resident staff working in the kitchen this year. Our kitchen staff will be a team of experienced adults who commute, and operate as its own pod. As always, our kitchen staff will follow the same requirements as the foodservice industry, which includes clear and actionable protocol to mitigate the risk of coronavirus transmission.
Living on the Sides & In the Bunks:
- Each side will have 8 bunks with 6 campers and 2 counselors (the youngest two bunks on each side will have 8 campers and 2 counselors).
- There will be a unit of CITs on each side in a pod of CITs. There will be one tent occupied by Senior Staff on each side.
- The CITs will be part of a bunk in spirit, but will not live with the bunk or pod with them. (CITs will live and pod together). CITs will participate in activities and be part of campers’ experience, but most interactions will be outdoors and will maintain 2-of-3 (possibly 3-of-3) for the entire session.
One-Week Older Camper Session:
- Each side will have 9 bunks with 6-7 campers and 2 counselors, and there will be one tent occupied by Senior Staff on each side. CITs will not work during the Older Camper Session.
- There will be hand sanitizer at the entrance of each bunk, and we will use it on our way in and out of the bunk.
- High-touch areas in each bunk will be cleaned and sanitized twice a day while campers and counselors are at activities.
- We will spend Rest Hour on our beds doing something individual and calm, such as reading, writing letters, or drawing.
- We will encourage campers to visit outside and hang out outside of the bunks.
- We will encourage campers to bring camp chairs, so they can hang out comfortably outdoors, at a distance.
- We will stagger the use of the showerhouses by pod, and make showerhouse available during more parts of the day.
- The showerhouses will be cleaned and sanitized several times a day by trained staff, using masks, gloves.
Closed Camp (as much as possible):
- We will not allow visitors this summer, including people stopping by to drop things off.
- We will not allow late arrivals, leaving during the session, or early departures except for true emergencies.
- Campers will not be able to receive packages. (Letters always encouraged!) *If your camper indicates in a letter they need something important, contact the camp office, and we will help. Often, camp staff have already found a solution for important needs before a letter reaches home.
- Designated staff will receive deliveries, supplies, and mail.
- Staff will not be required to stay at Camp during off time, but we will encourage them to by providing on-camp accommodations for days off.
- We will not do out-of-camp trips this summer, including our beloved Pioneer program.
- We will not hire Camp Aides this summer. This is part of keeping our kitchen staff (commuters) separate from residents this summer. (It is also one way we are reducing our population size).
- Sessions will be 13 days (general camp) and 7 days (older camper session). Check-Out will be on Friday (instead of Saturday). This will allow for a deep cleaning between sessions, and provide our staff some time to rest and rejuvenate.
- We will normalize transmission mitigation by practicing, and celebrate compliance with positive rewards.
- We will not focus on discipline to promote compliance, instead we will slow down, and relax our activities so we are more successful.
- We will empower the campers and counselors in each with more autonomy to decide what they would like to do, and when they would like to do it. (Within reason).
- Water fountains will be replaced by water-filling stations. Camper packing list will include several water bottles, face masks, camp chairs, and other additions.
3. Caring for our Community
Our mitigation plan (above) is intended to reduce the chance of transmission, and make contract tracing and quarantine possible should someone become symptomatic.
Symptomatic individuals may need to be picked up and isolate off-site until they are no longer symptomatic and cleared to return.
Those in contact with a symptomatic person (most likely the pod, but possibly a larger group — it will depend on how conscientious we’ve been about our 2-of-3 practice) will be quarantined from the rest of camp and do modified activities unless they develop symptoms, in which case we may request they be picked up to isolate off-site until cleared to return.
The same initial protocol will be used for the symptoms of any communicable disease, whether confirmed COVID-19 or not.
What we’ll do if someone has symptoms.
- Our healthcare staff will assess your child for signs of communicable disease. The individual will be set up outdoors and distanced from others. They will have activities to keep them occupied and entertained. (We’re a camp after all, not a jail!) We plan on having an outdoor, shaded area specifically for this purpose.
- We’ll communicate with the primary contact listed on the Health Form and our doctor. The doctor will most likely want a tele-appointment with your child, the nurse, and a parent or guardian. Our doctor will recommend next steps, which may include no action, reduced contact, and/or COVID-19 testing.
- Depending on the advice of the physician, we may continue reduced contact (if we are waiting for a result that is expected within the day), or ask for you to pick a camper up and isolate at home until they are feeling better and cleared for camp (we do not know what clarence conditions might look like this summer). We will ask that all bedding and belongings be picked up with a symptomatic camper for laundering and in case they are not able to return.
Symptomatic at Night:
If a person presents symptoms at night, they will come to the Health Center and sleep in a bedroom, and be examined in the morning. The rest of the bunk will reduce contact (quarantine together) until status can be determined and contact tracing can be performed.
Note: Everyone’s insurance is different. We will use the information you’ve provided in the Health Form. If that doesn’t work, camp will cover the cost of testing and add the cost to your invoice. Sometimes insurers will not cover medical expenses passed through Camp Onas. We apologize in advance for the shortcomings of US health insurance systems.
How we’ll care for those around exposed to someone with symptoms of COVID-19
Scenario: Quinn in Tinicum has come to the Health Center with symptoms that might be COVID-19, and might be something else.
- Quinn is seen by Health Center Staff and cared for while they isolate.
- Quinn’s pod will reduce contact (quarantine) from the rest of camp until we can determine whether Quinn will need to be tested, isolate at home, or quarantine with their pod, or perhaps something different. (We will rely on the advice of our physician.)
- Quinn’s pod will reduce contact with the rest of camp (quarantine at Camp.) They will increase distance between themselves and other pods, and if needed, we will stagger their schedule to reduce contact with other pods. They will eat outside or in another building at mealtimes.
- When our Health Center has confirmation or direction about the Quinn’s COVID-19 status, the pod might:
- Discontinue reduced contact (quarantine) and rejoin camp as a cohort (still 2-of-3) if Quinn is determined to not have COVID-19.
- If Quinn is determined to have COVID-19, we will contact trace to identify any other pods that may need to quarantine at camp, and we may test for COVID-19. Depending on the scenario and presence of symptoms, we may ask for some or all of the cohort to be picked up. We will monitor for symptoms for 10 days from last exposure.
How we’ll communicate with you should your child appear to have symptoms of COVID-19:
- After assessing and caring for your child, we will call you to let you know the situation. (Please add our number 610-847-5858 to your phone’s contacts so you don’t screen our call). We will call the next number listed if we don’t reach you.
- We may coordinate a tele-medicine visit with our physician, and ask you to join, or follow up with the plan after the visit if you are unable to.
How we’ll communicate with you if your child has been exposed to someone who is symptomatic (suspected) or confirmed to have COVID-19:
- You will hear from us via email (unless it is within two days of the session’s end, in which case we will call). The email will include:
- Information about the person’s COVID-19 status – (Symptomatic (Suspected), Confirmed, or Negative), and the date of last exposure.
- Notification of the date since which we’ve been monitoring your child for symptoms.
- An instruction to continue to monitor them for symptoms and limit their outside exposure for a total of 10 days from the date of last exposure.
If your child’s pod is quarantined for a short period of time due to possible exposure, and it is determined not to be COVID-19, you will not be contacted. We anticipate short, pro-active quarantine periods while a person’s COVID-19 status is evaluated will be a normal part of camp life this summer.
This plan was produced in consultation with the following organizations and/or resources:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- CDC & American Camp Association Field Guide for Summer Camps
- American Camp Association
- Association of Camp Nursing (Visit their site … Matt’s a board member!)
- Control of Communicable Disease Manual (American Public Health Association)
- Hours of conversation with colleagues in the camping and healthcare industries.
- Pennsylvania Department of Health
- Bucks County Department of Health
- Pennsylvania and Bucks County Government Websites