COVID-19 FAQ & Update

AstroCamp’s Approach to Summer 2021

We will continue to update this page with the most current information regarding this upcoming summer.
Last updated: June 11th, 2021 — New ‘Arrival Day’ video!

As it is every year, our campers’ and staff’s health and safety are the top priority. We know additional mitigation protocols will need to be in place at camp to best reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. There is a risk in any gathering, including camp. However, on February 24th, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced the reopening of overnight camps, effective May 1st. Reopening guidelines are now available to the public, and equipped with this specific guidance, we have been able to prepare for summer in earnest.

Attending camp this year will be a shared commitment. Our staff will live within a strict system throughout summer, including regular testing, restricted leave from camp, consistent mask-wearing, and operating in small pods — all to help keep our campers, and each other, safe.

All camp procedures and protocols have been and will continue to be developed using guidance from the American Camp Association (ACA) Field Guide, as well as state and local health departments.

We encourage you to contact our team with any specific questions:

email: john@gdi.org  |  phone: 434-454-4059

Summer 2021 Frequently Asked Questions

Prior to Arrival

No, your child does not need to be vaccinated to come to camp. We do encourage all campers twelve and older to get vaccinated if they are able.

All campers:

•  Must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 4 days prior to arrival at camp.

•  Will be required to take a rapid antigen test (provided by camp) on arrival day.

Please visit camp’s Heed Healthcare page (this link is for both AstroCamp and Camp Motorsport) to arrange your camper’s testing for summer 2021.

 

Unvaccinated campers:

•  Will be asked to follow a 10-DayLimited Contact Plan as closely as possible. Specifically, campers should:

  Be extra cautious of close interactions at school if attending in person.

  Only interact with individuals in their household (and wear a mask when that includes grandparents or in-home childcare).

  Wear a mask for necessary interactions in public (school, doctor, dentist, etc.).

  Take steps to remain COVID-safe if attending other summer camps, events, restaurants, playdates/parties, or traveling on public transport.

  Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and practice good hand hygiene.

•  Will be able to fly within the 10-day window prior to camp.

 

Vaccinated campers:

•  Will not be required to follow the 10-Day Limited Contact Plan. However, we do strongly encourage making COVID-safe choices ahead of your camp session.

We are requiring* all staff to be vaccinated this summer. In addition to being vaccinated, staff will be tested for COVID-19 prior to the start of camp and then weekly throughout the summer.

*Unless staff qualify for a medical or religious exemption (applies to vaccination only; testing is still required)

Required Testing

We will be testing all campers and staff for COVID-19. We have partnered with Heed Healthcare to help coordinate and provide all of our testing needs for this summer. Our Testing Plan is based on State and County requirements, guidance from our Medical Director, and recommendations on best practices from the American Camp Association (ACA).

We have a duty of care to our campers, who represent a broad spectrum of ages, underlying health conditions, and vaccination history, some of which may be known by camp administration and other components of which families may wish to keep private. In creating a safe environment in this context, we need to screen all incoming campers and staff members.

Campers should expect to take a minimum of three COVID-19 tests per session during this summer (unless they are staying on site for multiple sessions). Additional tests may be required if campers are symptomatic or if a member of their pod or cohort tests positive for COVID-19.

Please note that you can order these tests from Heed Healthcare any time before your camp session. Please go to camp’s Heed Healthcare page to sign up for your testing package.

Standard Testing Overview

Test #Test TypeTimingType of Test

1

PCR Test # 172 Hours Prior to Camp

Saliva/Spit Test

2

Rapid Antigen TestArrival Day

Nasal Swab (Non-Invasive)

3

PCR Test # 2Day 4 or 5

Nasal Swab (Non-Invasive)

Additional testing as needed

We want to take a moment to highlight why testing will be so important to camp’s success this summer. While our testing regime may feel overwhelming at first, it is designed with safety in mind. In order to create a safe space in camp, with ample opportunity for our mixed camper population (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) to interact mask-less, we need to thoroughly test upon entry and hopefully stop COVID-19 before it gets into camp. Additionally, the second PCR test on day 4/5 of camp acts as a final check before sending campers back to their families, with the hope of preventing COVID-19 from entering your home.

We recognize that many of our campers have been fortunate enough to receive a COVID-19 vaccine prior to camp. We still ask that these families take part in our Testing Program to help protect our campers who, for reasons out of their control, may not yet be vaccinated. This is the same expectation that we have for all of our staff.

Furthermore, post-vaccination, there is still a 1 in 20 chance of becoming infected. With several variants becoming more common in the US and variable protection from these variants offered by the currently available vaccines, continued testing will remain important.

Test #1 — Campers must conduct a PCR test within 72 hours prior to their arrival at camp, and the test must be negative for COVID-19. If the test is positive, please contact the Summer Camp Director to discuss options for your camper.

Test #2 — A Rapid Antigen test will be administered to campers upon arrival at the facility. A negative test is required for campers to enter the facility.

•  If a camper tests positive with a rapid test they will be given a second rapid test. If that test is also positive, then we will assume a positive COVID-19 case and the camper will not be allowed to attend that camp session. The Summer Camp Director will contact you 2-3 days after you leave camp to discuss your options going forward.

•  If the second rapid test is negative, then the camper must return a negative PCR test before they can attend camp. We can provide the details for a local testing center.

Test #3 — A second PCR test will be administered at camp (on day 4 or 5) to help us best maintain a healthy camp population and continue operation throughout the summer. This test is important as we have a responsibility to ensure we are not unknowingly sending COVID-19-positive campers back to their families.

We have partnered with Heed Healthcare to help make the testing process as easy as possible.

•  Camper families/guardians will be sent the link for purchasing tests 3 weeks prior to their session’s start date (the purchasing process may also be completed prior to the receipt of the emailed link). Once on the page, you will choose you session(s) and then complete the required information for testing.

•  Camper families/guardians are responsible for purchasing two PCR tests for a total of only $55, plus shipping (no more than $10). The remaining cost for the tests will be billed to the camper’s health insurance (approximately $90), which should be covered under the CARES Act.

•  One of the PCR tests will be sent to your home and the other will be sent to camp. The PCR test sent to your home is a saliva-based (spit) test. Campers will provide a sample and then drop off the testing kit in the provided packaging at a FedEx shipping center or authorized drop-off location (FedEx locator). You and camp will receive the test results electronically in 24-48 hours of the test being received by Heed Healthcare.

Tests can be purchased on camp’s Heed Healthcare page.

Your camper’s first PCR test may be from your doctor or a testing site. However, your second PCR test must be purchased through Heed Healthcare. Additionally, you may not use an at-home drug store test. Your pre-camp test must be a lab-based PCR test. Failure to provide the proper test results upon arrival will result in the camper being unable to attend the session until proper testing is completed.

If camper families/guardians decide to procure their own PCR test prior to camp, they must still purchase one PCR test (PCR Test #2 on day 4/5) through Heed Healthcare in order to attend camp. The cost of a single PCR test to the camper’s family is $40, with the additional amount of approximately $90 billed to the camper’s health insurance, which should be covered under the CARES Act.

Test #1 — PCR Prior to Camp

(-) Negative PCR Test – Good to go!

(+) Positive PCR Test – The camper may not attend the camp session. Our Summer Camp Director will be notified of the positive result by Heed Healthcare and will contact the parents/guardians to discuss details and options for future camp attendance.

Test # 2 — Arrival Day Rapid Antigen

(-) Negative Rapid Antigen Test – Good to go! Welcome to Camp!

(+) Positive Rapid Antigen Test – Retake test

(-) Negative Test – Based on the camper’s activity in the days prior to arrival at camp, options will be discussed with the camper’s family, camp administration, and our on-site medical professional. The camper may not enter camp until they return an additional negative PCR test taken that day. This may result in the camper arriving to camp a few days late because of the time it takes to return results.

(+) Positive Test – After a second positive test we will assume the camper is positive for COVID-19. The camper may not attend the camp session. Our Summer Camp Director will contact the parents/guardians in the following few days to discuss details and options for future camp attendance.

Test #3 — Day 4/5 PCR

(-) Negative PCR Test – Good to go! Yay camp!

(+) Positive PCR Test – The camper will be isolated, and the members of their pod will be quarantined and tested. The camper’s parents/guardians will be notified, and we will discuss options for the camper to return home safely. Per guidance from the State of Virginia and the American Camp Association, a camper who tests positive for COVID-19 must be collected from camp within 48 hours or less. Contact tracing will begin immediately, and we will contact the local health department, per county requirements.

Symptomatic Campers

•  As with all illnesses, campers will visit our Health Center and be examined by our Camp Nurse. Upon suspicion of COVID-19, the camper will be isolated and tested using a rapid antigen test.

•  If the rapid antigen test is positive, the camper’s parents/guardians will be notified, and we will discuss options for the camper to return home safely. Contact tracing will begin immediately.

•  If the rapid antigen test is negative, the camper will remain in isolation and may be given a second rapid antigen test. The camper’s parents/guardians will be contacted, our on-site medical professional will be consulted, and the best course of action will be determined.

Known Exposure/Asymptomatic Individuals:

•  If we have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in camp, we will isolate the infected individual, and we will quarantine and test all pod members and close contacts.

•  Contact tracing will begin immediately, and the entire cohort will be put under observation.

•  Campers may be moved to an alternate location so that their cabin/dorm can be cleaned and sanitized.

•  If all campers test negative and continue to be asymptomatic, they may return to normal camp activity.

We highly recommend that any camper known to have close contact with a COVID-19-positive individual get a PCR test upon returning home, even if asymptomatic, to help reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 to an immunocompromised individual.

YES. All campers and staff are required to participate fully in our testing plan regardless of their vaccination status. Post-vaccination, there is still a 1 in 20 chance of becoming infected. In addition, with several variants becoming more common in the US and variable protection from those variants offered by the currently available vaccines, continued testing will remain important. Whether or not you have symptoms, testing is recommended to protect those at home, work, and in your community who have not received the vaccine or may not have otherwise developed immunity.

YES, as we will have a transition of campers during that time (breaking the cohort). However, the second consecutive session will not require the full extent of testing. Please contact our Summer Camp Director for further details.

NO. As campers will not be leaving our facility and there will be no transition of new campers into the facility, no further testing is required during the 2-week camp sessions.

Masking at Camp

Campers will still be required to wear a mask in certain situations this summer. Through our testing plan and the increase in vaccinated campers, we are able to keep this to a minimum.

•  When collecting food from the dining hall

•  When interacting in close proximity to those outside of their 26-camper cohort

•  When interacting with the Camp Nurse

•  When participating in indoor activities (unless the activity is restricted to their cabin group)

Campers will be required to remove their masks for sleeping, eating, and water activities.

Minimum requirements for camper masks are as follows:

•  2 or more layers of fabric

•  Comfortable fit close to face

•  We recommend masks made of a cotton blend or cooling material to help avoid heat rash for extreme environments

•  Buffs/neck gaiters, bandanas and single-layer fabric masks are NOT sufficient, and campers will be asked to change them

•  Campers should bring enough masks to wear one new mask each day of camp

We will have a supply of masks should campers lose, break or otherwise need a back-up mask.

If you choose to send your child with N95/KN95/Respirator style masks, we recommend an additional, lighter fabric mask to wear during activities. Please note: the CDC recommends that N95 respirators or other personal protective equipment (PPE) intended for healthcare workers should be worn only by camp medical staff when appropriate.

To help ensure the safety of all of our campers and staff, all campers will be subject to the following rules. These will also be reiterated to them upon arrival at camp.

•  Campers will be on a 3-strike system for mask wearing:

1. Camper will be corrected a couple of times by their counselor

2. Camper will speak with Summer Camp Director (we will also call home)

3. If behavior continues, the camper will be asked to leave camp and the parent/guardian must pick up their child within 24hrs

•  Campers will not interact with any campers outside of their cohort.

•  Any willful breeches of our COVID-19 safety protocol will result in action, up to being asked to leave camp.

Transportation & Arrival/Departure

We are unable to offer transport to or from the airport this summer. We are currently asking that all campers arrive by private transportation. We will not be providing transportation to and from the airport.

You are able to fly in with your camper and drive them to and from camp if you wish.

We are working to create a minimal contact drop-off and pick-up process. It is safe to assume that parents will remain within their vehicles during this process. As this is a large change, we will be sharing the specifics of this plan closer to the camp start date.
ALL camper paperwork will need to be completed before arrival at camp to help streamline the arrival procedure.

Housing, Cabin Groups, & Meals

As part of our mitigation methods, we will organize campers in Pods and Cohorts.

Camper Pod A cabin or dorm room group of campers and their assigned counselor(s). We will aim for no more than 8 campers per pod.

Camper Cohort – A collection of camper pods that will interact together for all activities. A camper cohort will be no larger than 26 campers. They may be unmasked around each other when not interacting with instructional staff or another cohort. Campers will remain in their cohort and not mix with any other cohorts for the duration of camp.

Campers will NOT be able to interact with campers outside of their 26-camper cohort.

As in previous summers, we will do our best to accommodate cabin requests. If we are not able to accommodate, we will let you know.

Our plan for exactly what meals at camp will look like is still being finalized. Your camper will always receive three meals per day, with multiple options, to meet their dietary requirements. We will update this information prior to the start of camp.

Programming

We are planning to run as many of our popular activities as possible this summer. Many activities will be moved outdoors, and others will be modified to make them a lower risk for COVID-19 transmission. We will provide more details once we are given our operational guidelines by our state and county agencies.

Yes, we will have these events, although they may look different from previous years. We may need to have separate events for each cohort or have cohorts participate on alternating days.

Yes, we will have a camp store available this summer, including the option to preorder through our store site. Any preorder items will be given to the camper on the first day of camp.

Health & Safety

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, or NPIs, are our main method of protecting campers and staff while at camp. NPIs will help create layers of safety at camp to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. They include but are not limited to:

•  Mask wearing

•  Physical distancing

•  Cohorts & pods

•  Scheduled hand hygiene

•  Enhanced cleaning methods

•  Altered meal service

•  Altered program structure

 

We will clean high traffic areas multiple times daily following the American Camp Association and CDC guidelines. Many areas, including the dining area, the Health Center, and non-dorm/cabin restrooms will be cleaned using electrostatic sprayers.

All staff will have hand sanitizer with them, and dispensers will be available throughout camp. However, for redundancy and convenience we recommend that campers bring their own hand sanitizer with a concentration of at least 70% alcohol.

We are currently developing our procedures for Health Center operations. We will provide updates as we get closer to camp.

A camper or staff member presenting symptoms of COVID-19 will be isolated and tested. Upon a negative test result and clearing of their symptoms, we will consult with our on-site medical professional as to when they can return to normal activities.

All members of the positive individual’s pod will also be isolated and tested. During this time, campers will take part in alternate programming. Upon a negative test result, we will consult with our on-site medical professional as to when they can return to normal activities.

A camper who receives a positive COVID–19 test result will continue to be isolated until they can be picked up from camp by their parent/guardian or by a verified proxy. This should be within 24 hours of the test result and may not be more than 48 hours after the test result.

Cancellations & Refunds

If you are thinking about canceling enrollment for Summer 2021, we can roll over your investment to Summer 2022 with no penalty, if you choose.

Cancellations from February 1st to April 30th will be charged their $200 Processing Fee + their Nonrefundable Deposit.

Cancellations from May onwards will result in surrender of tuition amounts as follows:

Between May 1st and May 14th = 25% of full tuition

Between May 15th and May 31st = 50% of full tuition

After June 1st = 100% of full tuition

Cancellations from May onwards will follow the cancellation tuition fee structure, even if you decide to not attend due to program modifications, lack of airport transportation, mask-wearing requirements, or testing requirements.

Families who NEED to cancel enrollment for medical reasons are subject to our standard policy related to medical cancellations. Please contact our Summer Camp Director.

If a camper needs to depart camp early because of a positive COVID-19 test or because of a mandatory quarantine order, a prorated refund of tuition will be made.

If the transportation policy makes it impossible to attend the program, we will refund your tuition and rollover your deposit to Summer 2022.

If camp is canceled due to state mandate, we will utilize the same policies that we used for Summer 2020 – offer the opportunity to rollover to Summer 2022 or provide a refund.

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