Summer 2023 and Covid-19

Covid Statement

North Country Camps is currently reviewing and refining our plan for handling Covid-19 during the 2023 season. Our Covid Planning Group - consisting of our directors, certain board members and medical professionals - are reviewing the policies that kept us Covid-free in 2022 and will monitor current national and regional trends and policies with regard to Covid-19.  Consequently, we are very confident in our ability to operate safely this summer and are looking forward to welcoming your child to camp!

NCC’s  Approach

Our vision for the 2023 season is to continue to create a safe, fun program that stays true to our child-centered philosophy. We will prioritize the social, emotional and physical health of our campers and staff. These plans represent our current thinking and could change before the summer if circumstances change.  If our policies seem stricter than those of the country at large, consider how the circumstances at a residential camp far from home might need to differ in order to achieve our goal of an uninterrupted summer experience for your child/children. To minimize the risk of having Covid at camp, we hope to partner with campers, their families and our staff to avoid having any campers need to leave camp to quarantine. 

In the interest of maintaining a culture of transparency and knowledge sharing, you will find answers from our 2022 FAQ to provide a basis to our approach. As we get closer to the start date and our plans become more clear, we will update the FAQ below and provide additional information.

Please contact Jen and Neil at directors@northcountrycamps.com if you have questions about our plans. 

 

Thanks for taking the time to keep our community safe. We look forward to a wonderful 2023 season with our camp families!

 

 

Covid 19 Questions

We have more options for traveling to camp this year. Camp families will receive detailed instructions surrounding specific arrival information for your family depending on how you travel to camp. 

 

Irrespective of your mode of transport, we ask that you conduct  symptom screening before your departure to ensure that we do not introduce illness to camp, COVID-19 or otherwise. We’ll send you a handy checklist of what to look for. Any child who does not pass symptom screening will be required to isolate, away from camp, until meeting clearance by testing and CDC guidelines.  

 

We’re asking families to administer a rapid antigen test the morning of their travel day before arriving at the bus stop, airport or to camp. Bring proof of your negative test with you to help us fast-track boarding and entry to camp. We are coordinating with our testing partner to ensure that all families have a rapid test available to them.

 

Campers taking the NCC Bus to camp:  NCC will be chartering a bus to camp this summer for interested families.  You’ll receive directions and details in the week prior to camp. Simply bring proof of your negative test to board the bus.  

 

Campers arriving by personal car: Families who choose to drop their child off at camp will be given a pre-established arrival time window. Similar to last year, we will be asking parents to check-in at the camp entrance with their negative antigen test before entering camp property.  

 

Campers arriving by air or other public transportation: Although mask regulations on airlines and public transportation were recently relaxed, we are asking that all campers traveling to camp on shared/public transportation of any kind wear a well-fitted (preferably non-cloth disposable surgical mask, KN95 or KN94) that covers your child’s nose and mouth. If you are interested in learning more about masks, the CDC website has useful information. While others around them may not be masked, your child’s mask still is effective in reducing risk of infection/exposure during travel.  

 Our normal airport shuttle service will be available.  

 

To our international families: Please familiarize yourself with Non-U.S. Citizen, Non-U.S. Immigrants: Travel to and from the United States | CDC. We welcome international families to contact us about potential plans and options for arrival. 

 

Workgroup Pre-Camp: We will be running a pre-camp for workgroupers this summer. The arrival date will be June 22nd. We will not be coordinating transportation for workgroupers to camp this summer, as the Adirondack line is not currently running.  Parents of workgroupers will need to plan to get their children to camp independently. 

All workgroupers must have a negative PCR test for COVID-19 72 hours prior to arrival.

All workgroupers must also test negative on a rapid antigen test, the day of arrival.

A second PCR test will be done for all campers, including workgroupers, approximately 7 days from the official start date of camp.

 

For the 2022 Camp season The North Country Camps strongly encourages families to have their children fully vaccinated prior to the start of the summer.  COVID-19 Vaccinations for children have been shown to be safe, effective and protective.  Vaccination decreases risk of infection and will help us achieve a Covid-free summer.  Our survey of camp families showed us that the overwhelming majority of campers will arrive fully vaccinated.

NCC defines “fully vaccinated” for children aged 5-17 years old as having received the 2-shot Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine series, plus the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster for children aged 12-17 if it has been > 5 months since their second shot.

You’ll notice that the required isolation policy for contacts of a positive case is different for unvaccinated campers. This is based on the much higher risk of unvaccinated people getting sick after an exposure.

In the event of a positive case, that camper must leave camp for 10 days to isolate.  Parents will need to have a plan for picking up a positive child within 24 hours.

While the CDC “permits” individuals who are vaccinated to go out and about in a mask after 5 days, this cannot apply to camp because of shared eating, shared sleeping, etc. when it will not be possible to stay masked.

What will happen if my child is exposed?

Unvaccinated Campers: Unvaccinated campers have a higher risk of developing Covid after an exposure, which could then lead to an outbreak at camp.  For that reason, in the event that an unvaccinated camper is identified as a “close contact” with a positive case, they will need to quarantine at home for  10 days, and can return to camp if they have no symptoms and have a negative PCR test.  

Campers should obtain testing at least 5-7 days after their exposure and have their results prior to return to camp. Although CDC guidelines for unvaccinated close contacts suggest 5 days of quarantine followed by strict masking, it is, unfortunately, not feasible for camp to accommodate unvaccinated campers given their higher risk for developing covid and the nature of our living and eating arrangements. 

Vaccinated Campers: Vaccinated close contacts may remain at camp, but will cohort with other vaccinated members of their cabin group, for 5 days, going to their own activities, etc.  After 5 days, if asymptomatic and with a negative rapid test, they will be permitted to rejoin the regular camp program, but must remain masked for the next 5 days when around others.  We will continue with serial testing of this cohort through day 10 after exposure.

We expect to have a much more “normal” feel to camp than last summer. Our plan is to cohort campers in small (one-three cabin groups), age-based cohorts during the first week of camp.  This will involve some mask-use when sharing spaces with other cohorts, primarily in indoor settings. We will then administer a PCR test for everyone at the end of week one and assuming negative results for all, we will then transition to a normal camp program without cohorts, or masking. 

We do not plan on having multiple sittings for each meal, so everyone will operate on the same schedule. We will also have a full service breakfast bar and salad bar at lunch and dinner with vegetarian and gluten-free options available at the counter, but will ask that campers are masked if they leave their table to obtain food at the salad bar or counter.

 

Will there be wilderness trip programs this year?

 

Yes, we have every intention of running a fun and adventurous trip program as we did last summer.  

 

Will there be mixed activities this summer?

 

Yes, we will have mixed activities after our second test results return. Distanced check-ins with siblings at Lincoln and Whippoorwill can be arranged with the directors during the first week of camp.

If a child needs to leave camp due to Covid, NCC cannot offer a refund on camp fees because we have already incurred the vast majority of expenses necessary to open and operate camp.  However, our insurer has indicated that if families are interested, there is travel insurance available which would cover such a situation.  They provided us with this link where quotes can be obtained: https://www.amskier.com/peaceofmind-insurance/