Camp Livingston Operating Guide 2021: A Summer of Success
Updated April 12, 2021
We are continuing to closely monitor the camping industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to the 2021 season. While most Jewish camps in North America did not open in-person for the 2020 season, 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 composed 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 in the process of ordering PPE, sanitizing equipment, and working with 3 vendors to identify the testing protocol that will work best for your family and the camp community.
- We are updating our already top-notch sanitizing and hygiene procedures to reflect the needs of our ever-changing world and have developed a set of guidelines to help navigate us through each day of camp with fun and safety in mind.
- We are being mindful of capacity in our camper cabins.
- We are maximizing our amazing outdoor facilities and finalizing programmatic procedures which we will be training on with our staff during staff week.
- With the support of our qualified food service team, we have restructured the Chadar O’Chel (dining hall) procedures to reduce unnecessary movement during meals.
- We are updating our protocol for out-of-camp trips for AU (Adventures Unlimited) including booking private camping areas and programming to maintain a high level of safety (there will be no trips off camp this summer for non-AU Campers; however, there will be on camp overnights. We have an enormous property and we will get great use out of it).
- We are continuing to follow and be active in conversations with the field of Jewish camping, ACA, CDC, and Indiana Department of Health guidelines.
Keeping you informed – UPDATED
We commit to keeping you informed as information surrounding COVID-19 is constantly changing and evolving. Much like this update, 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 email@example.com.
- For new families: A new family orientation will be held on May 6th where we will review packing lists, communication and any last minute questions. This event will be held virtually on Zoom and while it is focused on new families, all families are welcome to join. (This orientation will not focus on COVID-19 since there is a virtual Town Hall scheduled for the following week.)
- For all families: A COVID-19 Town Hall Q and A will be held on May 13th. This session will be specifically focused on COVID-19 related protocols.
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 exhibit symptoms will be immediately quarantined for further examination and monitoring by our healthcare professionals and will be tested should the symptoms align with COVID-19. 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 a positive test, further action will be taken based on our protocol and in consultation with local health authorities. We will be sharing a more detailed protocol on notifying parents and next steps as we get closer to summer.
Protecting our community – UPDATED
Currently, we plan to require testing of all campers prior to 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. We are also considering rapid testing upon arrival and will have a further update in the near future.
- We are working with several vendors to identify the most convenient and cost effective testing options for you and for our camp community. It is likely that PCR tests will be mailed to your home should you be unable to reasonably secure a PCR test in your city.
- Our testing plan is outlined below and is based on the information we know today. Our testing protocol is subject to change and you will be notified of any changes.
- Campers will need at least one (1) negative molecular PCR COVID test within 72 hours before arrival.
- All campers must have a negative PCR test in order to attend camp. It is imperative that a few days prior to the test and once taken that campers and families are overly cautious and practice social distancing until arrival at camp. YOU are our partners in risk mitigation.
- Campers will need at least one (1) negative molecular PCR COVID test within 72 hours before arrival.
- Upon arrival at Camp (see more on transportation and arrival updates below), all campers will have a symptom screening with a member of our health care team and may undergo a rapid COVID-19 test.
- Camp health care professionals will administer at least one molecular PCR COVID test within 5-7 days of being at camp.
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.
Staff – UPDATED
- Our staff will be arriving up to 2 weeks prior to camp and will follow the same protocol for campers, outlined above.
- Our staff will stay onsite throughout the summer, spending days off in a designated area away from the main camp in order to get the much needed rest they need in order to maintain their health and give them energy to continue to provide the high level of service expected from you and our leadership team.
- While not currently mandatory, staff are encouraged to be vaccinated prior to their arrival. Our full time staff are vaccinated and we are encouraging our staff to follow suit. Our Israeli staff are already vaccinated and with more vaccine sites opening throughout the U.S., we will continue to encourage and help our staff get vaccinated.
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 of 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 7 days of the session, there will be minimal cohort interaction. After this time, 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 could continue to 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. Masks may be necessary at these programs.
Having fun while being safe and masking policy
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. (Ex. One cabin at a time at the inflatable water park)
- Each cabin is like an immediate family; no masks are necessary when with this group only.
- When programming takes place as a cohort or a larger camp group, distancing and masking may be required. We plan to distance and spend as much time as we can outdoors in nature.
We will be continually updating our operations and program procedures 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 making slight modifications to our programming 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.
- We are adding several large tents to accommodate rainy day events in a partially outdoor setting.
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 to reduce 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 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 temporary quarantine areas at camp should we have to separate a camper or staff member showing symptoms of COVID-19. 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.
Transportation – UPDATED
Camp families are all important partners in making this summer at Camp Livingston a success.
- There will be no bus transportation for the 2021 camp season (first day, mini-session, and final day).
- We are asking families to drive their own camper(s) to and from camp this summer. This will allow the important mitigation strategies that each family is following before camp to stay intact.
- There will be specific arrival windows for families published several weeks before your child’s camp session begins. Arrivals will most likely be between 9:30am and 12pm, with an additional afternoon slot for those who cannot make the morning times.
- Upon arrival, camp staff will guide you to a medical screening area and a luggage drop off area. Parents/guardians will not be permitted to go beyond the screening location.
- Like in previous seasons, we will accommodate camper arrival by plane and airport pick up. Please let us know if this is your arrival method as soon as possible. We hope to limit airplane arrivals to campers coming from extremely far distances only.
Travel to Israel – UPDATED
Gesher families, we are working with our partners in Israel and will have more information to share in the near future. The Israeli government is beginning to roll out travel and entry protocols. Short term tourist trips have not yet been outlined. We are feeling cautiously optimistic that within two weeks we will have more relevant information to share with you. Proof of vaccination has been required upon entry to the country for most types of travelers this year, and our partner agencies are advising that this may be the case for our travelers this summer. Our priority is to get you more concrete information within two weeks which will allow time for full efficacy for a vaccination available for those 16 and over. We understand that some of the teens are 15 years old and we are doing everything in our power to get updated Gesher information to you. We will check back in 2 weeks.
As a reminder, if the Gesher trip does not run this summer, we hope that your camper will join us this summer at Camp in an alternative program.
Adventures Unlimited – UPDATED
AU will be traveling in their own “bubble” this summer. We have altered our usual off camp camp site lodging to be private where we will continue to maintain our COVID-19 safety protocol. Much of the AU programming can be done without the interference of outside vendors however there are several programs, such as climbing and white water rafting, where a guide is necessary. During these programs our guides and our group will be following a strict mask protocol which will help us ensure the health of our campers and staff.
Upon returning to camp the AU group will be able to participate in all the great programming Camp Livingston has to offer while maintaining a safe distance from the rest of the camp community.
- AU will have a separate meal area adjacent to the Chadar O’Chel and their own Village (the Negev) where they will be able to spend time together in their “bubble.”
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
- 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.
- If Camp cancels due to COVID-19 you will have an option for a full refund including the deposit
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!