Covid Free 2020
Camp During A Pandemic – Our Success Story of a Covid Free 2020!
Last summer, we welcomed ~350 campers and staff to NSDC on a daily basis and were so proud to have provided an amazingly safe, fun-filled and COVID-free summer for the NSDC community!
How We Did it:
Safety is ALWAYS our #1 priority at NSDC and last summer we left “no stone unturned” in developing the most comprehensive set of safety and operating protocols to run our program. We exceeded all New York State & Nassau County Dept. Heath regulations/safety guidelines as well as worked very closely with the American Camp Association (ACA) to implement “best practices” from across the camp network. Our full 2020 Safety Plan & Operational Handbook can be accessed in full HERE.
- Pre-Camp Tests: We required all campers to provide a negative COVID test within 5 days of a camper’s first day. We also required all staff to provide a negative test prior to orientation which provided great confidence that we were starting with a fully healthy camp population.
- Health Screening: All campers and staff were temperature checked and health screened daily upon entry to camp.
- Disinfecting: All common areas and shared equipment were sanitized between uses and on a continuous basis by designated cleaning teams and specialist staff using EPA approved cleaning agents. All of these areas were also treated daily with an electrostatic cleaning spray and treated with Viaclean’s hospital grade Bioprotect long-lasting disinfectant.
- Hand Sanitizing: Each Camper Pod had their own portable bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer which was used between each activity throughout the day. Multiple sanitizer stations were also stationed around camp.
- Small, Self-Contained Camper Pods: Pods were 10-15 campers in size and each had their own separate and/or assigned meeting locations, air-conditioned “cool down zones”, specific changing cabins, swimming areas in the pool, bathrooms, lunch picnic tables, etc. and did not interact or mix with any other pods throughout the day – any shared facilities were disinfected between uses (e.g. changing cabin).
- Outdoor Only Activities: All activities, including lunch, were programmed 100% outdoors.
- Closed Campus (Outside Vendors and Visitors): No outside vendors/entertainment were permitted at camp and there were no visiting days or audience-based activities. All programming was in-house and structured to accommodate socially distanced pods.
- Arrival & Departures: Drop-off and pick-up time windows were assigned by age to allow for contactless health screening and the highest quality control possible.
- Bus Transportation: We utilized 55-seater buses at less than 50% capacity to provide transportation at communal pick-up locations. Campers sat one per seat, next to an open window, with AC on, and all campers, staff and the driver wore face coverings during the trip.
- Face Coverings: All camp staff were required to wear face coverings at all times, and NYS day camp guidelines allowed campers not to wear face coverings when outdoors.
- Sick Policy: Campers or staff exhibiting any symptom of COVID were instructed to stay home and required clearance by a doctor’s note (and a negative COVID test result should the doctor request) prior to return to camp. Staff were paid for this time off to encourage compliance.
- Rain Days & Sickness/Quarantine: Camp was closed on inclement weather days to prevent large in-door gatherings for long periods of time. Families were reimbursed for loss camp days which also included those for sickness and quarantining to promote compliance.
How We Felt:
Summer 2020 was truly the most rewarding and fulfilling summer for all the campers, staff and families who participated. The NSDC community came together and collectively committed to the goal of providing the safest and greatest summer camp experience possible…and we partnered together to make that a reality!