An Update from Camp Livingston: February 5, 2021
We have been closely monitoring the camping industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While most Jewish camps in North America did not open in-person during last summer, there were several private camps that did open safely. The camp community directors continually share learning and best practices. We are combining these lessons and the American Camp Association operating guide with guidance from our Medical Committee in a working guide to help us operate a safe and healthy environment for our 2021 season. We are extremely excited to welcome your child(ren) to camp for what is sure to be a life-changing summer!
This guide is primarily intended for parents/guardians of current and prospective campers.
Overview of how we are working to have a safe summer
- We are working with our qualified medical committee to create proper guidelines and protocols.
- Our committee is comprised of practicing doctors who work at hospitals or in private practice throughout our region. They are also Camp alumni, parents, and board members.
- We are installing temporary outdoor structures for space to spread out on excessively hot days, rainy days, and during meals.
- We are working to have PPE, sanitizing equipment, and testing on site.
- We are updating our already top-notch sanitizing and hygiene procedures to reflect the needs of our ever-changing world.
- We are being mindful of capacity in our camper cabins.
- We are maximizing our amazing outdoor facilities and finalizing programmatic procedures.
- With the support of our qualified food service team, we are restructuring the Chadar O’Chel (dining hall) procedures.
- We are evaluating and updating protocol for out-of-camp trips for AU (Adventures Unlimited) (there will no trips off camp this summer for non-AU Campers).
- We are continuing to follow and be active in conversations with ACA, CDC, and Indiana Department of Health guidelines.
Keeping you informed
We commit to keep you informed as information surrounding COVID-19 is constantly changing and evolving. We will continue to update our policies and provide greater detail to you when necessary as we get closer to the summer. Should you have questions, concerns, or ideas on COVID-19 and summer 2021, please reach out to Max Yamson, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.. We will update you periodically and have virtual meetings for returning campers to answer specific questions as well as our annual first-time camper orientation which will have additional information regarding health and safety surrounding COVID-19.
Throughout the summer, besides our regular daily communication with photos and blog posts, we will provide specific communication surrounding COVID-19. We will be alerting families if your camper shows symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19 or if your camper’s cabin goes into isolation protocol due to the above concerns. Please note, we are required to notify state and local health officials if there are positive cases; we assure you that we will maintain privacy and will only disclose personal information when necessary.
What is “isolation protocol”?
Campers and staff who test positive or exhibit symptoms will be immediately isolated for further examination and monitoring by our healthcare professionals. That person’s cabin will go into an increased isolation protocol. Other than the individual with symptoms or a positive test, the rest of the cabin will continue to participate in typical camp activities and programs, but with a higher degree of separation from the rest of camp. Upon confirmation of tests, further action will be taken based on best practices from our medical team and consultation with appropriate authorities. A comprehensive protocol for notifying parents will be in place and shared prior to summer.
Protecting our community
Currently, we plan to require testing of all staff and campers prior to, upon arrival, and during camp. We will determine the appropriate timing and type of tests our community will use closer to the summer pending research and available data.
In general, there will be limited traffic in and out of Camp. Our local facility staff and some vendors, who do not live on the campus, will have minimal exposure to the main camp community, will be screened daily, must always wear masks when interacting with others, and will follow the same protocol as outlined in this document.
Interacting with each other
Based on expertise from local, state, and federal health officials, as well as the experience of camps that operated safe and successful 2020 seasons, we will be slightly updating our village/cabin interaction model for summer 2021. It is key that everyone understands these updates.
- A cabin is like the immediate family and do not need to mask when around one another. Cabins generally have 8-12 campers, and 2-3 staff. During the first two weeks of camp, while there will be some choice to activities, many activities will be cabin-based.
- A cohort is a group that can exist in the same space but will remain distanced and masked. For example, two Golan boys’ cabins may both be in the art pagoda or ropes course but will be distanced and wearing masks.
- Shower time will be scheduled by cabin/cohort.
- For the first two weeks of the session, there will be minimal cohort interaction. Once we enter the second half of each session, if testing and preventative measures have been successful, we may provide some programs at these levels but will maintain a safe distance between cabins and require masks. If there is a reason for campers from different cabins to interact such as siblings who wish to see one another, they may be able to do so but must remain masked and maintain a safe distance from one another.
- All-Camp activities such as services and campfires will take place outside where proper social distancing between cabins can be maintained.
Having fun while being safe
This summer Camp Livingston will make two significant adjustments to ensure that our community can safely have all the fun and enjoyment of camp.
- More programming will be cabin-based where individual cabins will be able to participate in a variety of amazing programming safely. (Ex. One cabin at a time at the inflatable water park)
- Mixing and Masking will be the Camp Livingston mantra this summer. When programming takes place as a cohort or a larger camp, distancing and masking will be required.
We will be continually updating our operations and program procedure based on our community’s health at various points during the session. Based on the testing results and best available health standards at the time, we hope to shift to a more traditional Camp Livingston program model with traditional activity choices and programming. This would mean a loosening of restrictions, allowing campers to participate in activities with other campers from their village while still maintaining public health measures.
We are also examining how each specific activity will be modified to ensure health and safety of our camp community. Each activity area will have plans that follow all ACA, CDC, and other recommendations. We are adding temporary structures to provide shelter for activity spaces and to accommodate more outdoor program areas and rainy day activities.
When groups are indoors or if not able to maintain distance, everyone will be masked.
A rainy day
Summer is meant to be spent enjoying nature and all the activities Camp Livingston has to offer but occasionally rain disrupts our plans. In light rain where lightning and thunder are not present, per our normal guidelines, regular activities will continue in their normal locations. If weather becomes unsafe or severe, programming will shift to indoor activities for cabins. Cabins will rotate from in-cabin or small indoor space activities to larger indoor spaces that can be shared with the cohort while wearing masks and keeping a proper social distance.
In the event of an emergency weather situation, safety procedures will override COVID-19 protocols when necessary (masks will be mandatory and extra masks will be made available).
A higher standard of cleanliness
The cleanliness and safety of our facilities is something in which we take great pride. Our facilities team works tirelessly to maintain camp and keep everything running smoothly. In addition to our standard cleaning procedures, the protocols include:
- Signage that illustrates best practices to mitigate the spread of the virus and clarify expectations of campers and staff will be placed around camp.
- 60-80 hand sanitizing stations throughout camp with a focus on building and cabin entries and high traffic areas.
- All cabins will be sanitized and thoroughly disinfected prior to camper arrival.
- Cabin cleanliness will be an elevated priority which will include training for staff and campers on how mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
- Touchless water bottle filling stations will be added throughout camp.
- Bathhouses in all villages may only be used by campers living in that village and will be cleaned and sanitized with more frequency. Common bathrooms and all shared areas throughout camp will be cleaned and sanitized throughout the day.
Food is important, but safety first
Camp Livingston uses a third-party vendor, Kandle Dining, to operate our food service. The company operated at other camps during summer 2020 and will use their knowledge to plan for safe meal service that still provides choice. Meals this summer will be family style (rather than previous buffet style) in order to limit traffic during mealtimes. While the variety of options we have had, such as the salad bar, may be limited, we will create choices and provide for special dietary needs as we have always done. We are committed to being inclusive of all dietary needs. The Chadar O’Chel (Dining Hall) will be expanded using clear span tents designed for longer term temporary use and installed by a professional highly rated vendor, giving us the ability to dine together while social distancing.
Health Care/Health Center
Camp will be adding a temporary secondary health center to separate daily medication and other daily health care needs with anyone who may show signs or symptoms of COVID-19. We will also be adding several temporary isolation areas at camp. Our health care staff will establish and follow guidelines based on recommendations from the CDC, local authorities, and our COVID-19 Medical Committee. Systems and procedures will be set for all aspects of our health care practices. These details will be available prior to summer. Medicine taken at mealtimes will be delivered to each child by our health care staff.
Getting to Camp
We are still evaluating transportation options and will provide an update on what we deem the best process for transportation to and from camp.
Travel to Israel
Gesher families, we are working with our partners in Israel and will have more information to share in the near future.
We are working on final protocol for our adventures off camp and the group’s time on camp. Our adventures are outdoors, and we believe that we can maintain a safe program with several updates. We will share more in the near future.
Please remember – forms and scholarships
If you haven’t done so already, please log on to your CampInTouch account. Camper forms are up and available for currently enrolled campers and due on May 1st. As we move into spring, we will have more specific COVID-19 intake forms available. Additionally, please take some time to apply for all relevant scholarships and grants. The Camp Livingston needs-based scholarship fund is open and accepting applications. Please be sure to apply for your first/second year grants available in your city. If you are a congregation member, your Rabbi may have camp scholarships available; please take the time to reach out to your local congregation. For more information visit https://www.camplivingston.
A friendly reminder about tuition deadlines
- Current Deadline – full refund on all tuition paid except the deposit until end of March
- If Camp cancels due to COVID-19 you will have an option for a full refund including the deposit
- Cancellation reminder
- I understand that if I cancel my application between October 15, 2020 and March 31, 2021, all tuition will be refunded except the $350 deposit. If I cancel between April 1, 2021 and May 1, 2021, I will still be responsible for 50% of the total camp fees. Cancellations received after May 1, 2021 will be responsible for 100% of camp fees. All cancellations must be in writing.
We commit to keeping you informed and are always available for questions. Please don’t hesitate to reach out directly to set up a time to connect. All of us on the staff and lay leadership team are looking forward to a meaningful and life changing 2021 summer at Camp Livingston!
August 17, 2020
Dear Camp Livingston Community and Friends,
Plans are underway at Camp Livingston for an amazing 2021 camp season!
We remain optimistic that we will be back in Bennington with our campers next summer and are making all preparations with a focus on the health and safety of our campers and staff. To ensure proper safety measures and implementation of best health practices, we have assembled a Medical Committee who will work with Camp staff and local health authorities throughout the year in an active advisory capacity. We also continue to review CDC and ACA guidelines and recommendations, which our Medical Committee will help us navigate and implement.
Our committee is comprised of practicing doctors who work at hospitals or in private practice in various cities throughout our region. These dedicated professionals are also Camp alumni, parents, and board members.
On behalf of our full time Camp staff team, Board of Directors, Medical Committee, our seasonal camper care team, and beyond, we thank you for your continued support of our mission and cannot wait to see everyone in 2021 for the most exciting and safe summer yet!