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2021 French Woods Covid-19 opening plan

This plan is current as of June 2nd 2021. Subject to change.

For the last 52 years, French Woods Camps have been the safe summer camp choice for generations of children. For us, it always has been manner of course to exceed New York’s rigorous, strict health and safety codes. We work closely with the New York State Health Department, American Camping Association, CDC and our camp doctors and nurses to assure the health and safety of all of our campers, staff and parents. With our uniquely large professional staff, we are able to adapt easily, respond and conquer all facets of safety within our supportive and caring community. Our county health department inspects us before and during the summer to ensure we are following all recommended protocols.

The following is an overview of the key elements and main considerations of our safety planning and strategies for this summer. Included are your family’s pre-camp screening and testing responsibilities, camp arrival day procedures and the ways and means to keep the camp community safe including pods, masks, social distancing and hygiene.

Staff Vaccination, Testing and Screening

  • All camp staff will arrive at camp at least ten days before the first camper’s arrival. 7 days prior to their arrival at camp, all unvaccinated staff must take a PCR Covid-19 test. 24 hours prior to their arrival at camp, all staff (vaccinated and unvaccinated) will be required to take a Rapid Covid-19 test. Results, of course, must be negative.
  • We will then test the staff at camp on day 4 after their arrival. Daily temperature checks will be taken. Before your child arrives at camp, we will know that the staff is free of Covid-19.
  • Most of our staff is already vaccinated or are getting vaccinated.

Campers Vaccination, Testing and Screening

  • We strongly recommend that your child be vaccinated. Our camper population is 12 and older and with everyone vaccinated we can run a ‘near-normal program’.
  • If your child has been vaccinated please upload their vaccination card into your online account.
  • If anyone in your household is showing symptoms, has a fever, does not feel well they need to get a Covid-19 test.
  • Starting 2 weeks before camp, we ask all parents to take quick daily health checks of their children. Please use discretion from allowing your child to attend large indoor group gatherings, parties and team sports etc. during this period. If your family has been in contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid-19, we ask you to get your child tested and have them isolate for 10 days.
  • 7 days prior to camp we will require all unvaccinated campers to take a PCR Covid-19 test and for parents to upload the results in to their private online account. If your child has a positive Covid- 19 test you must call camp to discuss coming to camp for a later session.
  • 24/48 hours prior to departure for camp, we require all campers (vaccinated and unvaccinated) to take a Rapid Covid-19 test and provide the results upon arrival at camp, at the bus pickup location or at the airport.
  • The majority of our campers will be arriving by car and we strongly urge any parents that are within reasonable driving distance to drive their children to camp. Upon arrival all families will be asked to stay in or near their vehicle while we screen each camper and make sure we have the results of their PCR test or vaccination card and Rapid tests. A screening will take place including a questionnaire and a temperature check. If fever greater than 100.4°f is detected the camper will not be allowed to matriculate into the French Woods Campus program.
  • We will be running 1 bus location in Manhattan and for those who fly, van service to and from Newark and JFK Airports. Campers will be screened with a questionnaire and a temperature check before getting on the bus or van. If a fever greater than 100.4°f is detected, they will not be brought to camp. In addition, we will need the results from the PCR and Rapid tests.
  • Whether traveling by car, bus or air, our medical staff will take a health history, and a temperature check upon arrival to the French Woods campus. If any camper has a fever of 100.4°f or greater the camper will not be allowed to matriculate into the French Woods Campus program.
  • It should go without saying that no one should send a camper to camp who has tested positive.
  • On day 4 or 5 after arrival to camp, a Rapid Antigen test will be given to all campers (and staff). There is a form you must review in the Forms and Documents section of your online account. It is a permission form to allow us to test your child in camp for COVID using a nasal swab test. (just inside the nostril) not a deep ‘stick up your nose test’. If you decline to allow us to test your child then we will have to roll your camper registration over to summer 2022 and your child will not be able to attend camp this summer.

Masks, social distancing and personal hygiene are our best defense

All staff and campers will be asked to wear a mask until we know we have a 100% COVID-free camp. No one will be allowed to enter camp without a mask. Campers and staff will be reminded and asked to wash and sanitize their hands regularly every day, for every meal and before and after activities. There will be hand sanitizing stations throughout the camp. Where possible we will ask campers and staff to keep a suitable distance between each other, regardless of wearing masks.

Keeping Campers safe during their session:

  • For the first 4 days of every session, we will do daily health screenings of all campers and staff. A Rapid test will be administered to anyone who exhibits any symptoms of Covid-19.
  • For the first 4 days, we will keep groups of bunks together to limit any chance of community spread in the unlikely event our pre-camp testing misses one case.
  • After 4-5 days all staff and campers will take a 15-minute Rapid test regardless of showing any symptoms. We have hired a medical testing company to conduct those tests. Additionally, we will have a trained medical professional from the company with us all summer to administer tests on an as-needed basis.
  • If we have any cases of Covid-19, we have isolation rooms ready for staff and/or campers. Parents and local health authorities will be contacted and parents will be required to collect their child from camp. If you are planning on traveling while your child is in camp please arrange for an alternate family member or friend to pick your child up. International campers will be cared for by our vaccinated medical staff and counselors onsite.

Additional Steps to prevent Covid-19

  • Before and after each meal we will sanitize the dining room as a standard procedure.
  • Additional housekeeping and support staff have been hired.
  • The campers’ bunks will be well-ventilated.
  • Bunks will house less campers than usual.
  • All delivery drivers must be masked.
  • We will purchase more supplies than usual to help eliminate cross contamination.
  • We are considering whether or not to run a traditional French Woods parent’s visiting. At this time, we have canceled visiting for Session 1. We will update you when we know more about Sessions 2,3,4 and 5. As of this time, we hope that visiting will occur.
  • In the Dining Rooms, we will offer individualized servings to each camper and stop all cross-contamination points (salad bars, juice machines etc.) Masked, gloved and aproned staff will dispense drinks and serve our food. We will not reuse any cups or utensils.
  • Our support staff will disinfect touch points and bunks every day (door knobs, toilet and shower areas and all flat surfaces). Every day our trained housekeeping and maintenance staff will disinfect the living areas while campers are out having fun.
  • Doors and windows will be opened to avoid cross contamination on touch points and to increase airflow. New filters have been installed in all locations.
  • We will ask all staff and campers to go to the Wellness Center as soon as they feel anything other than 100% healthy. Temperatures are taken daily and separate waiting areas and special isolation areas will be established.
  • More of our activities, meetings, classes, rehearsals and evening activities will run outdoors until we know that we are virus free.

As the Department of Health (who license camps in NY) send us updates we will update you.

While we navigate the CDC, American Camp Association and the NY State Dept. of Health guidelines, I appreciate your understanding and flexibility.

Thank you.

Nigel Watson

Camp Director