AstroCamp’s Approach to Summer 2021
VA Guidelines Released – Approval to Open
As it is every year, our camper’s and staff’s health and safety are the top priority. We know additional mitigation protocols will need to be in place 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 can finally begin preparing for summer in earnest.
Attending camp this summer 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.
With the guidance from the American Camp Association (ACA) Field Guide as well as State and local health departments, we will be focusing on setting up compliance procedures for the following:
Summer 2021 Frequently Asked Questions
Prior to Arrival
Campers will be asked to follow a 14-day Limited 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.
– Campers will be able to fly within the 14-day window of camp.
– Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and practice good hand hygiene.
– Campers will be required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 4 days of arrival at camp.
– We will also provide a Rapid Test on arrival day.
All campers will need to provide evidence of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before arrival at camp. Closer to summer, we will provide further details to guide you regarding timelines and what other types of tests may be accepted for camp.
Based on current information, it does not seem likely that COVID-19 vaccines will be available for children before summer. We will continue to monitor CDC and Health Department recommendations and guidelines for youth-serving organizations. We are hopeful that the majority of our staff will be vaccinated before arrival at camp.
Adjusted 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.
Adjusted Housing, Cabin Groups, & Meals
As part of our mitigation methods, we will organize campers in Pods and Cohorts.
– A ‘Pod’: Your camper’s age-based cabin group. These are the only people your camper can interact with while not wearing a mask, in certain circumstances. This group will not be larger than 10 campers.
– A ‘Cohort’: A group of Pods made up of children and staff in your camper’s program. All interactions within the cohort will require masking and distancing. The cohort will not exceed 25 campers, per requirements mandated by the State of Virginia.
– Campers will NOT be able to interact with campers outside of their 25-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 keep you updated on meal reconfiguration.
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 soon.
Campers will be required to wear a mask anytime they are indoors (restroom, classroom, dining hall) or outside and unable to maintain six feet of distance from fellow campers. They will not need to wear a mask inside their personal cabin space unless they wish to keep it on. Campers will be required to remove their masks for sleeping, eating, and water activities.
Yes, we will have these events, although they may look different from previous years. We may need to split them up into smaller groups or alternate nights.
Health & Safety
– 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 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 medical professional on-site 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 no more than 48 hours.
All staff will have hand sanitizer with them, and dispensers will be available throughout the camp. However, for redundancy and convenience, we recommend campers bring their own hand sanitizer with a concentration of at least 70% alcohol.
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.
– Minimum requirements for camper masks are as follows:
- 2 layers of fabric
- Comfortable fit close to face
- We recommend mask made of a cotton blend or cooling material to help avoid heat rash.
– If you prefer to send your child with N95/KN95/Respirator style masks, we recommend an additional lighter fabric mask to wear during activities.
– 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 need a back-up mask.
– Buffs/neck gators, bandanas and single-layer fabric masks are NOT sufficient and campers will be asked to change them.
To help ensure the safety of all of our campers and staff, all campers will be subject to the following rules. This will also be made clear to them upon arrival at camp.
– Campers will be on a 3-strike system for mask wearing:
- Camper will be corrected a couple of times by their counselor
- Camper will speak with Summer Camp Director – we will also call home
- If behavior continues, camper will be asked to leave camp – parent/guardian must pick up their child within 24hrs
– Campers will not interact with any campers outside of their cohort.
– Any breaches of our COVID safety protocol will result in action, up to being asked to leave camp.
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 February 1st to April 30th = $200 Processing Fee + Non-refundable Deposit
– Cancellations from May onwards will result in the 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 to attend due to program modifications, lack of airport transportation, mask-wearing, or testing requirements.
Families who need to cancel enrollment for medical reasons are subject to our standard policy related to medical cancellations. Please contact the Summer Camp Director.
If a camper needs to depart camp early because of a positive COVID-19 test or 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 do the same as we did for Summer 2020: Offer the opportunity to rollover to Summer 2022 or provide a refund.