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.
Covid-19 Health and Safety FAQs
These are the questions that you may be asking. We will keep this page up to date with any new questions that arise and with changes to the answers as our knowledge improves.
Why do we still have to quarantine before camp, even if we are vaccinated?
- There are still “break-through” cases, and we want to help make sure that you are not one of them.
- There are other viruses out there that are not COVID. If you come in with one of those, we will probably have to rule out COVID by isolating you and your bunk while we test to see what you have.
- Many viruses present with COVID-like symptoms. Quarantining with your family not only keeps your immediate family safe, but also helps to safeguard our entire camp community against COVID and other viruses that may make their way into camp. Thank you in advance for doing your part to help keep our community healthy this summer.
What are the pre-camp isolation (quarantine) expectations?
As of May 24th our quarantine requirements have changed to be in-line with CDC and American Camping Association recommendations. 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 14 days preceding your camp session, all non-vaccinated campers need to quarantine and remain in their family COVID “bubble” only.
For vaccinated campers and staff, the quarantine period is 7 days and those individuals should follow the same guidelines as unvaccinated campers, outlined below:
- 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 if I have had COVID within 90 days before the start of my camp session?
Please contact email@example.com in advance and bring the test results with you. After 90 days, if the camper is still in camp and if the camp is still in its testing week, the camper will pick up the same testing schedule as the camp.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
What kind of testing will be done before and during camp?
See the below section of “Testing” for specifics. All pre-Camp tests are PCR tests. If your test comes back positive, please let contact us as soon as possible: email@example.com.
Is Camp Newman and the URJ recommending that we vaccinate our camper that is 12+ years old?
- Yes. The FDA has approved under an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 12-15. This adds to the EUA for teens and adults 16 and older. Vaccinations will provide an important tool to mitigate the risks of COVID at Camp this summer.
- Our URJ Camps Medical Advisory Team strongly encourages the families of all who are eligible to join our fully vaccinated staff. The higher our percentage of vaccinated individuals becomes, the better for the camp community.
What if we cannot get both Pfizer doses for our 12+-year-old campers prior to the summer?
- The ideal situation is to get both doses, three weeks apart, with the second dose administered two weeks before your session’s Opening Day. This will be easier for later-starting camps and for those campers arriving second session.
- If you cannot get the second shot, you are still protected two weeks after your first shot. The second dose can be given after camp.
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.
Why do vaccinated campers need to be on the same testing schedule as non-vaccinated campers?
- While vaccines are incredibly effective, they are not 100% effective.
- The camper community is also not 100% vaccinated. Of the 2-dose Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, some eligible campers have had two doses pre-camp, some have had one dose pre-camp, and some have chosen not to vaccinate.
- Because of the recent approval of the EUA, campers who have been vaccinated may not be fully immunized until partially through their camp session.
Are there any changes planned to this summer’s program?
- Yes. To be careful, we will begin the summer with most activities taking place in a “pod”. These are like a “household” in which many masking and social distancing rules do not apply. A group of pods the same age is a “Unit”. As the summer moves along, and our testing program yields some answers, we hope to loosen our cohorts, mask policy, etc.
- Certain activities deemed to be “high risk” for disease spread will be limited to cohorts.
- Large group programs indoors will not take place or will happen under physical distancing conditions.
How do you decide what guidelines are needed to keep camp safe and when to change them as CDC guidance changes?
There is a group of staff members at the URJ responsible for developing guidance for URJ Camps. They work together with subject-area specialists.
How will you use space this summer - indoors vs. outdoors?
Wherever we can, we will have fun outside. This enables us to not only enjoy our environment, but relax some of our masking and distancing, especially during Week One of camp.
When will my camper be masked at camp?
As CDC and California State Guidelines continue to evolve, we are looking for as many opportunities for our campers to be un-masked as possible. When our campers are mixing with other pods they will be masked and most activities will be outside.
- Your camp packing list has specified the number of disposable masks you will need for your session (we recommend 3-6 disposable masks per day). We do not recommend cloth masks due to issues of cleanliness and loss.
Why does the camp community need to mask outside?
- Week one is in pods – campers will only need to mask when they are mixing with another pod indoors.
- After that, depending on the group and the activity, campers and staff need a combination of 1) masks, 2) physical distancing or 3) take place outside.
- Once we finish week one with no positive tests, most outdoor activities within a unit (cabins or tents in the same age group) will not require masks.
Who is advising URJ on Medical and Behavioral issues as we plan for the summer?
- The Medical Advisory Group is a team of five doctors who have experience or specialization in public health and infectious disease.
- They meet regularly to review and modify system policies.
- Each camp has a local Camp Medical Director in addition to the physicians and nurses serving on-site during the summer.
What does it mean for Camp to be in a bubble this summer?
- During each session, all campers are expected to arrive on time and not leave the camp grounds for non-emergency or non-business-oriented reasons. There will not be any out-of-camp field trips for campers.
- If circumstances allow or the CDC recommendations change, we will review this policy.
Will all staff be living in Camp or will some be going home at night? How are you limiting that risk?
Some of our staff are from the local community and will be “commuting” to camp. Our staff vaccination rule applies to them, as well. All of them will be tested regularly throughout the summer, as opposed to staff in residence who are only tested at the beginning.
What if a camper or staff member must leave camp for a medical emergency like an x-ray or dental problem?
Our designated camp driver, a vaccinated staff member, will be present the entire time. Both will wear masks, observe physical distancing, and visit a medical facility where strict COVID protocols are in place. They will be allowed to return to their bunks on return.
Will siblings and other relatives in different pods and units ever get to see each other?
Many of these connections happen in a very organic way, but with our COVID restrictions, it might be harder than usual. Our staff will make sure that COVID-safe opportunities abound as well as make sure that our younger campers can take advantage of them.
We are having trouble finding a PCR Test 3 days before opening day that will guarantee results by opening day.
theAs of July 1, we are no longer mailing PCR tests to camp family homes. Most local pharmacies – like CVS or Walgreens – offer drive up PCR testing with good turn around time.
Pixel by Labcorp is now offering at-home COVID-19 PCR testing kits for children ages 2-17. They are covered by insurance, arrive at your home within days of ordering, and the results are returned within 1-2 days. Please read their full instructions if you use their service to ensure that you have your child’s results by the time you drive to our testing site on July 21 or August 6. As a reminder, all campers need to have a PCR test completed within 3-5 days before arrival (for session 2A campers that means the test should be administered between 7/16-7/18 and for 2B campers between 8/1 – 8/3) and you MUST bring the results with you or upload them to your child’s CampInTouch account to be admitted to camp.
What if our camper is flying in for Opening Day?
- If campers are leaving their parents at the airport and flying in, we will send you an Abbott Binax Now rapid antigen test for you to administer at home. It is authorized for home use. Take a photo of the negative test and upload to your CampInTouch account.
- If campers are flying in with you or are being picked up and brought to camp by friends or relatives, your camper can go through the regular Opening Day testing procedure.
What happens if my camper tests positive for COVID during Opening Day?
- You will not be able to enter camp.
- We will do another Rapid Antigen Test. If that comes back positive, we will conduct a PCR Test.
- There is an approximately 24-hr turn around time to receive the test results. During this time period your camper will not be able to remain at camp.
- If the PCR test indicates that your camper DOES NOT have Covid, your camper can come right back to camp to join their pod.
- If the PCR test confirms that your camper has COVID, we will try to make or find space for a later session.
What happens if my camper tests positive for COVID during PCR surveillance testing during the first week of camp?
- You will be notified by the camp by phone and asked to pick up your camper. We will forward the lab results of the test to you.
- All positive test results are reported to your state of residence.
What happens if my camper had COVID within the past 90 days but is testing negative for COVID? Do they still need to be in the same testing protocol as non-vaccinated individuals?
Contact your camp in advance and bring the test results with you. After 90 days, if the camper is still in camp and if the camp is still in its testing week, the camper will pick up the same testing schedule as the camp.
What happens if someone in my child’s bunk tests positive during PCR Surveillance testing or later if someone in their bunk tests positive?
- You will be notified by the camp by email.
- We will begin to test the other campers in the pod for a week.
- The pod will participate in a “shadow program” – still participating in camp activities but separate from the rest of camp.
If a bunk needs to go into quarantine, what restrictions need to be placed on the vaccinated staff members working with that bunk?
The vaccinated staff member will need to wear a mask during the week of quarantine and surveillance testing.
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, firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com 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.