In 2020 when we made the difficult decision to cancel camp we immediately started planning for summer 2021. With few answers to start with, we began a process of learning everything and preparing for anything. For the last year we have been focused on understanding what it takes to run camp safely during a pandemic. We are ready!
Our plan covers a multi-layer of strategies using best practices to keep COVID-19 outside of camp and being prepared to handle cases as necessary. We are working closely with the CDC, the American Camp Association (ACA), and our own team of experts to ensure a successful and safe summer. While we cannot guarantee a Covid-19 free season, we can guarantee an amazing summer for our campers!
Below you will find answers to many of your questions. However, we are learning more every day and the information below is based on what we know
. We will be regularly reviewing all policies and protocols and will continue to keep this page updated with the most important information.
Thank you to all of you for helping us prepare for this summer. In addition to working with experts, the conversations with all of you, your participation in our surveys, and the trust you have continued to show in us has been tremendous.
or any member of our team.
What is the Pinemere Bubble?
This summer, Pinemere will be operating in a modified bubble in order to keep our camp community safe. Staff and campers will not be permitted to leave camp. Visitors will be greatly restricted and any vendor who enters the property will be masked, screened, and remain away from campers and staff at all times.
Will campers and staff leave for trips?
Programs and trips that take campers and staff away from camp will be greatly limited this summer. Some programs we know we can run safely, like canoes trips and other excursions that have very limited interaction with people outside of the Pinemere Bubble. Other trips, like our traditional day at Dorney Park and Camel Beach, will have to be postponed until 2022. We are working on adding new programs and excursions that we know our campers will love.
Will campers be in cohorts?
When campers first arrive at camp with their negative covid tests they will immediately join their bunk and form a stable cohort. They will not be masked in their physical bunks or when doing activities with just their bunk. When we have larger group activities and interact with campers and staff outside of their bunk, masks may be required (depending on the activity and its location). As we progress through the summer, campers and staff will gradually expand who they can interact with, unmasked, with our hope to have limited need for masking after 10-14 days at camp.
Will campers and staff be wearing masks?
Our approach to camp is to have a phased opening, similar to what many universities and other camps are doing. The first phase will have campers in cohorts of their bunk only. Campers and staff will not need to be masked when in their cohort. Our second phase will expand cohorts to include multiple bunks or full units, with the third phase bringing our entire community together as one cohort. The specific timing and duration of each phase is still being determined as guidance from the CDC continues to evolve. However, when it is deemed safe by our medical team, we plan to allow for the larger mixed groupings and all-camp gatherings/events.
What precautions will campers have to take prior to their arrival at camp and until arrival day?
Pre-Camp Testing: Each camper will be required to take a Molecular PCR test at home 3-5 days prior to the start of camp. Later in the Spring, we will communicate the exact date we will require the test be taken. As part of this effort, we are arranging potential testing partners for families to take advantage of specifically for this pre-camp testing requirement. A negative test will be required to attend camp.
Up to 10 days prior to camp, families and campers will be asked to use their best judgement around large gatherings, social events, travel, sports and more and thereby limiting any potential exposure. We understand many of our campers will still have school. After the date of the pre-camp test, we will ask families to limit their camper’s outings except for necessary events, ie. school.
On arrival day, campers will take a rapid test and an additional PCR test at camp. More information about arrival day will be released in the next few weeks.
What tests will my camper need to take on Arrival Day?
Upon arrival, campers will take a Rapid Antigen test and a PCR test.
Will there be any further Testing after the Arrival Day Tests?
Presently, in addition to opening day, we plan on testing the entire camp two more times throughout the first 5-10 days of camp as we advance through our phasing. The in-summer testing will be primarily be Molecular PCR tests (pool and/or individual) with additional Rapid Antigen being implemented throughout the summer as needed.
What are the Health Screening Procedures?
Health Screenings have always been part of our practice at camp. This summer will be no different as we will continue to monitor our campers and staff for any health concerns, including symptoms of Covid-19.
What will Opening Day and Closing Day look like?
Opening day will look different this year. Social distancing and masks will be required and both rapid and PCR testing will be part of our health screenings. Additionally, only campers and staff will be allowed inside the bunks. Our leadership team is diligently discussing creative ways to ensure all of our campers are settled in. Our counselors will be help campers unpack and get organized. More information will be forthcoming this spring.
What procedures are you taking with the staff?
We are thrilled to be welcoming an incredible group of passionate staff members to the Pinemere team this summer. With an array of new and returning faces, we are confident in our team and looking forward to a great summer. We have added additional days to our orientation schedule that will allow staff to quarantine together and review our extensive COVID-19 procedures. Staff will be following a similar protocol described above with required pre-camp testing, arrival testing and multiple testing dates during staff orientation. Staff will be in cohorts, wearing masks, and social distancing as they move through the phases of staff orientation.
Staff “off-time” will be spent at camp. We are creating engaging, fun, and relaxing opportunities for their time off onsite. We have tapped a group of summer leaders to ensure that while remaining on camp, all of our staff will have their needs met. We will make sure staff get anything and everything from laundry, haircuts, milkshakes, and a place to catch up on sleep.
Will there be a Visiting Day?
Although an in-person visiting day is not possible this year, we're excited to announce that Visiting Day will go virtual! While not the same, we promise you will have an opportunity to connect with your camper and hear all their great camp stories! More information about Virtual Visiting Day will be sent out this spring.
How will the presence of a vaccine affect our plans for Camp?
While we are hopeful that a vaccine will be widely available before the summer, we are proceeding with our plans as if that will not be the case. If it turns out that vaccination has a significant positive impact on the virus’ spread, all the better; we will adjust our plans accordingly
How will meals work?
Although meals will look a bit different during each phase of camp, the great food and community atmosphere of meal times will carry on throughout the summer! Alongside our newly renovated dining hall, we have added a new, permanent outdoor dining pavilion. This new space will allow us to enjoy more meals outdoors and provide necessary space for distancing cohorts. We are closely following the ever-changing CDC guidelines for food service and will continue monitoring our procedures throughout the summer.
What happens if my child tests positive for Covid-19?
If a child tests positive while at camp, they will be quarantined and when possible asked to be picked up within 48 hours. Remaining at camp for 10-14 days, if positive and/or sick, would not be in the best interest for them our other campers and staff.
What happens if someone tests positive in my child's bunk?
The bunk can still enjoy camp and be part of camp. This bunk will go into their own schedule, socially distancing from the rest of camp, eating all meals outside, wearing face coverings (when appropriate) and will be monitored for symptoms plus additional testing.
Is Camps refund/payment policy changing?
The final payment date has been changed from April 15 to May 1. Please notify us of any changes to your registration prior by this date.
What is the path forward?
We value the confidence you place in us in caring for your child. In turn, we feel it is critical to keep you, our camp community, updated on what we are planning and learning about COVID-19 and best practices for camp. Our team is meeting regularly, we are consulting with experts in the field on infections disease, and feel confident about the plan we are putting together to minimize risks.
Our overall plan is to communicate relevant information to you as it becomes final in our readiness for camp and for the safe opening this summer. We know that things change quickly, and we are committed to being transparent with you and partner with you as we move forward in our planning for this summer.
Can you give me a summary?
Absolutely! The takeaway is that we are opening Pinemere this summer and that we have a lot of plans and procedures ready to go! Here are the basics of what to expect from camp, as of now:
- We will take extensive measures to create a self-contained community - our "Pinemere Bubble” - with healthy young people and staff for the entirety of our two camp sessions.
- All campers and staff will be monitored, assessed and tested prior to arrival, upon arrival, and beyond.
- We will begin camp operating in a bubble and individual bunk groups will become “cohorts". Meals, activities and all daily logistics will be coordinated to keep campers and counselors of each cohort physically distant from individuals in other bunk groups.
- There will be a lot of cleaning and sanitizing … and even more hand-washing and hand-sanitizing.
- We are confident in our ability to respond to a case of COVID-19 at camp.
- Camp will not be exactly the same as it was in 2019. There will be times when campers and staff are asked to wear masks.
- Some of the program and daily logistics will feel different. However, the essence of Pinemere will be as present and as strong as ever. We will be together, surrounded by friends, in a beautiful place, enjoying all that camp has to offer. We can’t imagine a time in our lives when camp is more important.
We know parents are balancing work, child care and self-care while keeping worries — both your children’s and your own — under control. Below are a list of resources, hopeful articles, and news stories for families.