Skylake plans to operate summer camp in 2021!
Skylake is committed to running a fun and safe camp this summer and has been using evolving guidelines established by the American Camp Association and the CDC in our development of our Covid-19 plan for the summer. Because guidance and protocols in the Covid-19 environment are fluid, we will be updating and evolving our Covid-19 plans leading up to the summer and possibly during the summer as conditions change.
We are working with a "Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance" that has been provided by the American Camp Association in conjunction with a panel of experts. This is a “best practices” document on how to run summer camp during the COVID-19 crisis. It is an A-Z specific guide. The goal is that with these very precise guidelines in place, the State and County will have confidence in the way camps will operate. The guide is helping to assist Skylake with the implementation and planning of consistent health and safety protocols. Our goal, as always, is to provide a physically and emotionally safe place for our campers and staff. This is only heightened now.
We will post any new information as it becomes available. We know how important Skylake is for so many people. We understand and feel this deeply as well. Please stay tuned and contact us directly with any additional questions.
- FAQ's Regarding Covid-19 and Summer 2021
What we are presenting now is our current vision of how we expect protocols to impact camp this summer. What we know currently is that there is no single prevention method to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Many camps are looking at a layered approach that includes some or all of the following safety protocols often referred to as, Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPI’s): quarantining, screening, cohorting, hand hygiene, ventilation, sanitization, face coverings, physical distancing and testing. The ACA has compiled extensive research and data from camps across the country that opened last summer which is providing a framework to assist camps in preparing for this summer.
COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS
What do you anticipate the camp mask requirements to be this summer?
Current guidelines continue to stress that the need for facial coverings will continue even after a large segment of the population has been vaccinated, therefore at the current time we do anticipate mask rules will still be an element of Covid-19 safety at camp this summer. Campers would be required to wear masks at all times they are in enclosed areas and where physical distancing is not possible. We do not anticipate a mask requirement while the campers are outside AND maintaining physical distancing, and we do not anticipate campers wearing masks when they are within their cabin group. This would be considered their family cohort where protocols can be more relaxed.
Do you anticipate campers being divided into cohort groups?
The current guidelines continue to promote the beneficial aspects of cohorting, or grouping campers into smaller family units to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. In the chance that an individual arrives in camp with Covid-19, the cohort model would prevent widespread infection to the greater camp population. We are currently anticipating a cohort size of up to 15 campers and counselors where Covid-19 protocols can be more relaxed. As cohort groups mix in camp activities, masking and physical distancing would be a requirement.
What will testing and self-quarantine requirements be for the campers and staff?
Staff will be required to self-quarantine for 10 days prior to arriving at camp, self-monitor for symptoms, and receive a negative test result within the last 72 hours prior to coming to camp. If available all staff will be required to be vaccinated. Staff will also be tested systematically throughout the summer.
Campers will be asked to self-quarantine for 10 days prior to arriving at camp, monitor for symptoms, and receive a negative test result within 72 hours prior to arriving at camp. Stay tuned for more details to come on testing, submitting test results, and a pre-arrival health screening. These will be in addition to our regular health forms to be rolled out next month.
What other hygiene and facility modifications will you be implementing?
Skylake’s daily schedule already incorporates controlled and supervised handwashing prior to every meal. This summer campers can expect new outdoor handwashing stations and additional housekeeping staff for more frequency in cleaning and sanitizing of facilities.
New outdoor shower opportunities will be provided and specific times will be allocated to the different cohort groups. Event style Porta Potties will be provided to allow more separation of cohort groups and less campers using the same facilities.
The Camp Nurse along with camp staff will conduct regular health screenings of campers to monitor for symptoms of illness or fever. Regular health services for basic first aid care and medication dispensing will take place in an outdoor space by the Health Hut.
What will the procedure be for a camper that exhibits symptoms and will camp perform Covid-19 tests?
The availability of quick and accurate testing will be the key to how we manage campers that exhibit symptoms. If a camper shows symptoms, we would immediately isolate the camper, and hopefully test with speedy turnaround of results. If testing with immediate and reliable results are not available, we may require the symptomatic camper to be picked up immediately. Until results from testing are received the cohort group would be placed on a more restrictive activity schedule with added safety protocols, increased health monitoring, and they would not interact with other cohorts until determined safe to do so. Campers may be accepted back into camp during their session only after receiving a negative test and showing no symptoms of illness for a 10 day period.
We are currently exploring available testing options for both symptomatic individuals as well as screening and surveillance testing of the larger camp population. We will have more details on testing in the coming months.
TRAVEL RELATED QUESTIONS
What is the plan for buses and how will Opening and Closing Days look different?
Mixing campers from different cohorts on buses from different areas presents a challenge for our opening day procedures. At this time we are anticipating a mandatory car drop off in camp, given the current cohort plan for the summer. We would plan for a staggered arrival, and campers would be screened while parents remain in their vehicles. Camps that opened last summer found this process to be successful.
It is very likely that all campers will be required to take the bus home at the close of their session. Campers would be properly spaced by cohort and masked on the bus ride home. There will not be a Closing Ceremonies or brunch held for families for the summer of 2021. This will reduce exposure by reducing visitor traffic in and out of camp.
How will campers that arrive by plane be accommodated and what other requirements will be in place for campers who live outside of California?
All International and Out of State campers must have a guardian or pre-determined adult contact within a 5 hour drive from Skylake available in the case that an immediate pick up from camp is required. If this is currently not part of your plan, please contact camp immediately to discuss and plan accordingly. We will need to be firm on this policy.
All campers that are arriving by plane will be required to have an adult greet them at the airport and transport them to camp. At this time Skylake does not plan to be shuttling campers to and from camp from flights in and out of the Fresno airport this summer.
What will the vaccine requirements be for campers and staff?
Camp staff are considered essential front line workers at the Federal level, and each state has the authority to make their own determinations on when these workers will be vaccinated. The ACA has been working diligently to move this initiative forward to get this to happen and we are informed that it should be late spring that counselors and camp staff should have access to the vaccine as part of Phase 1b. If the vaccine is available to our staff prior to camp, it will be a requirement that they arrive in camp vaccinated.
At this time, there is no vaccine available to children under the age of 16. We will continue to monitor the guidance by the CDC with respect to vaccination guidelines for schools and will provide more information as we learn anything new.
QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW CAMP MAY LOOK A LITTLE DIFFERENT THIS YEAR
While our cabins have open air ventilation with screens, our goal will be to have as many campers sleep outside as is practical. We are purchasing new cots to allow for full cabin group sleep outs. We will also incorporate more of our popular TCSO’s (Tennis Court Sleep Outs) and Basketball courts too for cohorts to sleep outdoors together.
How much indoor time will there be?
Handicrafts, ceramics, video, yearbook, and lodge activities are the only activities in the past that spent any time indoors. These activities will be relocated to outside locations this year.
How will meal service change this summer?
We have plans in place to add to our outdoor dining capacity and will utilize the Dining Hall as weather conditions require. Depending on County guidance there is a possibility for reduced indoor dining by cohort with proper distancing between cohorts. Additional outdoor picnic tables have been ordered, additional shade screens for the lakeside porch will be in place, and meal times may be staggered. There will be no self-serve buffet style meal service this summer with more staff served meals. We plan to continue to offer the same high quality food experience that campers and staff have come to love at Skylake. We are also planning for some fun “to-go” meal opportunities for campers to enjoy.
Special Program Areas:
Miller’s Trips for Seniors and CILTs – We will not be taking Seniors and CILTs to Miller’s this summer, and CILT II’s will not have their traditional CILT II trip to Oakhurst. We will plan for new traditions for them this summer in place of these trips into public areas.
Care Packages – There will still be mail delivery of letters in and out of camp, however we will not be allowing any care packages this summer.
Laundry – Our weekly laundry service will still take place!
Trading Post – We will modify our Trading Post schedule to allow for campers to continue to make candy, snack and sundries purchases. Campers can plan on seeing more variety and fun new items in the Trading Post this summer since there won’t be care packages.
Shasta Call – We will still have Shasta call, and we will plan for physical distancing as campers pick up and enjoy a snack during this relaxed time of the day.
Campfire, Special Days, Flag Raising and Flag Retreat – These are the activities that normally bring all of camp together. We will modify these activities accordingly as we get closer to camp, as we factor in more current information and guidelines.
Will all the regular camp activities be available?
We anticipate all of Skylake’s regular in-camp and waterfront activities being available this summer. The planning for Yosemite Day Trips will depend on our ability to restrict campers from coming in contact with outside groups. We believe we can schedule these trip itineraries to hikes and locations that are not heavily populated but will make a final determination as we get closer to summer. Skylake backpack trips will continue!
Will campers be able to spend time with their friends or family members that are in other cabins?
Yes! We know how important this aspect of camp is, and we want friends, siblings and cousins to experience the joys of camp together. We still anticipate our regular activity schedule where campers go independently to their activities that they are signed up for with other campers outside their cabin group. All time spent with campers outside their own cabin group will be with proper physical distancing in an outside environment.
Masks will be required during unstructured times of the day such as shower hour and twilight sports, where campers can spend time with friends outside their cabin group. Cabins will be 100% off limits to campers not residing in a particular cabin.
Cabinmate requests will be honored to the best of our ability, however we may not be able to honor requests between campers that are not attending the same length of time at camp. It is unlikely that we will introduce new two-week campers into an existing 4 week cabin of campers.
Will there be limitations of overall number of campers in camp?
We are planning for a slightly reduced capacity in camp this summer to help us implement these Covid-19 mitigation strategies and provide additional space to isolate symptomatic campers and/or staff. We do not anticipate having a need to reduce or modify any existing enrollments to reduce our overall numbers unless we are forced to restrict our camper count by the County at a later time.