2021 Updates

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Health and Safety in 2021

We are so proud that the URJ Camping system is 15 camps strong across North America. Our shared commitment to health and safety remains at the forefront of everything we do, and we are grateful to our camper families for their patience as we navigate the safe reopening of all of our camps this summer. As we move into spring, we are encouraged by the ongoing updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as our remarkable team of doctors who are working with us to create universal medical protocols for this summer.  Meet our Medical Advisory Team!

We know that the best practices surrounding COVID-19 are continually changing. We will remain responsive to ever-evolving standards and protocols both within the camping industry and as required by our federal and local governing bodies and will be as transparent as possible as our summer plans continue to take shape.

As we meaningfully consider every aspect of our program and operation, we have created the following FAQs to answer some of the questions you may have.  We will continue to update this information as it becomes applicable as we work to welcome us all back to Porter Creek.

Health and Safety FAQs

With cautious optimism, we want to share some of the protocols being established. Please know this continues to be a work in progress, guided by science and with health and safety always our first priority (these policies are subject to further restrictions should our county health department or the state of CA require changes).

What are some of your major considerations as you plan to open camp in-person?

We are working to open camp safely and will be as transparent as possible as we further develop our summer plans. We anticipate that elements of camp will look different this year. Areas that are currently under examination include dining hall and health centre procedures, hygiene protocols, capacity and spacing, programming, supply and equipment needs, PPE availability, limiting individuals coming and going from camp, physical distancing requirements, housekeeping protocols, staffing, etc. 

We know that the best practices surrounding COVID-19 are continually changing. We will remain responsive to ever-evolving local standards and protocols. We are working with a team of medical experts, including infectious disease doctors, to guide our decisions and revamp our protocols and procedures. We are also working in close coordination with the American Camp Association and Foundation for Jewish Camp to gather learnings and insights from the field. We continue to closely monitor CDC guidelines. 

Why did the typical summer session calendar change?

Our top priority is providing a safe summer experience for our campers and staff. One of the ways we are adjusting is by minimizing the number of overlapping arrival days at camp to better create a controlled environment. For Summer 2021,  be believe this is the best way for us to provide the most incredible, safest possible summer for ALL of our campers. For questions, please email campnewman@urj.org.

Will all adults and staff at camp be vaccinated?

All year-around and seasonal adult camp staff, visitors, and contractors on camp property, are REQUIRED to complete the COVID-19 vaccination series prior to entering camp and to provide proof of vaccination, in order to avoid posing a direct threat to the health and safety of our camp community members.

What are the pre-camp isolation (quarantine) expectations?

As you are aware, CDC guidance continues to evolve and change, sometimes daily! Please remember the CDC guidance is generally designed for an individual and their family and not the communal setting of a residential summer camp. Thus, our guidance may at times be slightly more restrictive out of an abundance of caution in protecting the health and safety of our communities.

For the 10 days preceding your camp session you need to quarantine and remain in your family COVID “bubble” only. This means you and your camper need to…

  • Avoid any indoor unmasked exposure outside immediate family, even to vaccinated people
  • Participate only in school, daycare, or camps that follow CDC guidance including universal masking, hand hygiene, spacing, small group cohorting and contact tracing
    •  If above school, daycare, or camp experiences are discretionary, families will avoid scheduling them the week before camp to minimize exposure risk
  • Avoid all public gatherings of more than five people outside of your household 
  • Avoid indoor restaurants
  • Avoid team sports
  • Avoid hosting overnight guests in your home who are not routine visitors/family in your home
  • Avoid staying overnight in someone else’s home who is not a frequent visitor/family in your home
  • Avoid travel outside of your home region
  • Avoid socializing outside of school and workplaces
  • Avoid businesses and locations that do not follow COVID health/safety guidelines

This means that you and your camper need to…

  • At minimum, follow the most up-to-date CDC guidelines
  • Maintain six-foot separations from others in outdoor public spaces
  • Wear masks outside of your home
  • Practice diligent hand hygiene  
What kind of testing will be done before and during camp?

The URJ Camps’ medical protocols around COVID-19 for this summer are being developed by our Medical Advisory Board, a team deeply committed to and connected with our camping movement. 

Testing for COVID-19 will be a key element of how we safely open and operate URJ camps this summer. We will be using the following approaches, together, for maximal protection of our campers and staff.

  • Pre-Camp – All campers will be required to undergo PCR testing 3 days before camp, and the results must be available and negative before arrival.
    • Because PCR tests can remain positive for many weeks after recovery from COVID-19 infection, optional testing may also be performed 12-14 days before camp.
      • If this test is positive, the remaining days before camp will satisfy the time requirement before arrival, and repeat testing is unnecessary.
      • If this test is negative, repeat testing is still required 3 days before arrival. ·
  • Arrival – All campers will be tested at camp using Point-Of-Care (POC) antigen tests. These have the very significant advantage over PCR in providing instant results, whereas PCR can take days to learn that somebody tested positive.
  • Ongoing Surveillance – All campers will be tested every 3 days on a rotating basis while at camp using POC tests. Instant results are critical to help camp isolate and quarantine any cases that might arise. Although PCR tests are somewhat more sensitive, the delayed results render them less effective at promptly identifying and responding to cases. Repeated testing with POC is considered a safer strategy overall, and one that we have adopted.
What are the protocols around travel to camp this summer?

Due to COVID-19, we will not be offering buses to and from camp this summer (except for campers flying in and out of Oakland Airport). If you have any concerns about getting your child to and from camp, please reach out to us at 415.392.7080 or campnewman@urj.org. Further driving instructions, specific time slots for arrival, and protocols for drop-off and pick-up will all be shared in the coming months.

Arrival by Car 

  • It will be required that any camper(s) arriving by car show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of travel to camp.
  • Campers who will be driven to camp will arrive within the prescribed timeframe and we request as few people in the car as possible, with a preference that those in the car be vaccinated, when possible.
  • Only a parent/guardian may drop off a camper on arrival day but you may designate a trusted adult 18+ years old to pick up your child on departure day (you must let us know ahead of time on our transportation forms).
  • Upon arrival, the camper(s) will be administered a rapid COVID-19 test, and must remain in the car until the test comes back negative.
  • Upon a negative test result, the camper will go through the check-in process, and will be acclimated into their pod. The parent or guardian will not be tested, and will be asked only to exit the car for a quick good-bye hug and kiss.
  • Camp staff will ensure that all of your camper(s) belongings are transported to their camper cabin or housing pod.
  • Every person in the car should be wearing a mask that covers their nose and mouth throughout this process.
  • Time slots for arrival will range from 11:30am-4:00pm and we will allocate times based on distance from Santa Rosa (so those closest to camp will be given earlier time slots and those driving farther distances will be given time slots later in the afternoon to give ample time for travel). We are spacing out arrival times more than usual in order to administer the on-site rapid COVID-19 tests and time slots will be allocated in the coming months.


Arrival by Plane

We encourage all families to drive campers TO camp this summer to mitigate exposure to COVID-19. However, we will accept campers by air travel based on the following guidelines:

  • It will be required that any camper(s) arriving by plane show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of travel to camp.
  • Campers who will fly to camp must take a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of their departure time (preferably the morning of) and receive a negative result in order to fly.
  • Campers will be tested again on the first day of surveillance testing at camp (the first full day of camp).
  • Once the campers arrive at the airport, camp staff will meet them and we will bus flying campers only to camp with ONLY 40% capacity on buses and windows will remain down during the ride. Appropriate social distancing must be maintained throughout. Each person will be wearing a mask that covers their nose and mouth throughout this process.
  • Arrival TO camp: Please book your child’s flight to land at Oakland (OAK) airport between 10am-1pm ONLY.
  • Departure FROM camp: Please book your child’s flight to depart from Oakland (OAK) airport between 2-4pm ONLY.

Tuition & Refund FAQs

Why have rates increased since Summer 2020?

Every year the tuition at camp increases due to rising operating costs and ongoing improvements and upgrades to our program.

This year, we also anticipate additional expenses related to COVID-19 around staffing, equipment, testing, and more. 

Will there be scholarships available for campers this summer?

Yes! We strive to make camp affordable for all families. Please be in touch with Kim Press for more information about our camp scholarship program. We know the financial realities of COVID have changed the financial picture for many families and we have been actively fundraising to support our families, many of whom will apply for scholarship for the first time for the 2021 summer.

Find out more about our scholarship process here.

What is the payment schedule for Summer 2021 tuition?

We have standardized payment deadlines across all URJ camps, to create more uniform policy.

-150 days prior to Camp’s first session start date (January 14), 25% of tuition payment is due

– 90 days prior to Camp’s first session start date (March 15), an additional 50% of tuition payment is due (75% of tuition paid)

– 60 days prior to Camp’s first session start date (April 14), final payment is due.

If your family registers after one or more of these deadlines have passed, you will be responsible for the tuition percentage that reflects the current date.

If you have any challenges with this schedule please be in touch with Kim Press, campnewman@urj.org.

What are the 2021 Cancellation & Refund policies?

Please see 2021 Dates & Rates page for full terms and conditions, including cancellation and refund policy. 

Is there insurance we can buy if our family decides to cancel registration?

INFORMATION – Here is a link to more information about the insurance cost and coverage:

DEADLINE – if you decide to add the insurance, it must be added to your account and paid for before your final tuition payment, or before May 1, whichever is earlier.  For many families, final payments are being processed on 4/16 or 4/23.

TO ADD the insurance – Please review the information page, then email kpress@urj.org with your camper’s name and the policy and cost of insurance you wish to add.  I will add the insurance, process payment, and send you an account statement.

This insurance is optional, but we wanted to remind you of the deadline in the event that you were thinking of adding it.

Ready for Summer?

Register by November 23rd to get up to $200 off!