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URJ COVID 19 Updates + FAQs

Pre – Camp Precautions

Why do we still have to quarantine before camp, even if we are vaccinated?
  • There are still “break-through” cases, and we want to help make sure that you are not one of them.
  • There are other viruses out there that are not COVID. If you come in with one of those, we will probably have to rule out COVID by isolating you and your bunk while we test to see what you have.
  • Many viruses present with COVID-like symptoms. Quarantining with your family not only keeps your immediate family safe, but also helps to safeguard our entire camp community against COVID and other viruses that may make their way into camp. Thank you in advance for doing your part to help keep our community healthy this summer.
Why seven vs fourteen days?

Fourteen days is the CDC recommendation for unvaccinated individuals. We believe that seven is sufficient for fully vaccinated individuals to keep other viruses out of camp.

What if I have had COVID within 90 days before the start of my camp session?

Contact your camp in advance and bring the test results with you. After 90 days, if the camper is still in camp and if the camp is still in its testing week, the camper will pick up the same testing schedule as the camp.

What kinds of COVID tests do I have to do before my Camp session?

See the below section of “Testing” for specifics. All pre-Camp tests are PCR tests. If your test comes back positive, please let your Camp’s office know.

Are there different Opening Day and Luggage Policies this summer?

Many of our URJ Camps are utilizing luggage delivery services this summer. Many are instituting new arrival schedules to accommodate screening tests and create smaller groups on camp together.

Program Policies

Are there any changes planned to this summer’s program?
  • To be careful, we will begin the summer with most activities taking place in a “pod”. These are like a “household” in which many masking and social distancing rules do not apply. A group of pods the same age is a “Unit”. As the summer moves along, and our testing program yields some answers, we hope to loosen our cohorts, mask policy, etc.
  • Certain activities deemed to be “high risk” for disease spread will be limited to cohorts.
  • Large group programs indoors will not take place or will happen under physical distancing conditions.
How do you decide what guidelines are needed to keep camp safe and when to change them as CDC guidance changes?

There is a group of staff members at the URJ responsible for developing guidance for URJ Camps. They work together with subject-area specialists.

Who is advising URJ on medical and behavioral issues as we plan for the summer?
  • The Medical Advisory Group is a team of five doctors who have experience or specialization in public health and infectious disease.
  • They meet regularly to review and modify system policies.
  • Each camp has a local Camp Medical Director in addition to the physicians and nurses serving on-site during the summer.
What does it mean for Camp to be in a bubble this summer?
  • During each session, all campers are expected to arrive on time and not leave the camp grounds for non-emergency or non-business-oriented reasons. There will not be any out-of-camp field trips for campers.
  • If circumstances allow or the CDC recommendations change, we will review this policy.
  • They meet regularly to review and modify system policies.
  • Each camp has a local Camp Medical Director in addition to the physicians and nurses serving on-site during the summer.
Indoors? Outdoors?

Wherever we can, we will have fun outside. This enables us to not only enjoy our environment, but relax some of our masking and distancing, especially during Week One of camp.

Speaking of Masks…
  • During Week One, we will follow State and Federal masking guidelines. We have been told to expect that all Summer Camp guidelines could change at any time prior to or during camp.
  • Within Pods: Indoors no mask is needed. Outdoors no mask is needed.
  • With multiple pods within a unit: indoors masking and physical distancing. Outdoors no mask and physical distancing between pods.
  • Your camp packing list has specified the number of disposable masks you will need for your session (we recommend 6 disposable masks per day). We do not recommend cloth masks due to issues of cleanliness and loss.
Why does the camp community need to mask outside?
  • Week one is in pods. After that, depending on the group and the activity, campers and staff need a combination of 1) masks, 2) physical distancing or 3) take place outside.
  • Once we finish week one with no positive tests, most outdoor activities within a unit will not require masks.
Will all staff be living in Camp or will some be going home at night? How are you limiting that risk?
  • Some of our staff are from the local community and will be “commuting” to camp. Our staff vaccination rule applies to them, as well. All of them will be tested regularly throughout the summer, as opposed to staff in residence who are only tested at the beginning.
What if a camper or staff member must leave camp for a medical emergency like an x-ray or dental problem?

Our designated camp driver, a vaccinated staff member, will be present the entire time. Both will wear masks, observe physical distancing, and visit a medical facility where strict COVID protocols are in place. They will be allowed to return to their bunks on return.

Will siblings and other relatives in different pods and units ever get to see each other?

Many of these connections happen in a very organic way, but with our COVID restrictions, it might be harder than usual. Our staff will make sure that COVID-safe opportunities abound as well as make sure that our younger campers can take advantage of them.

Vaccination Policies

Is URJ recommending that we vaccinate our camp 12 years old and older?
  • The FDA has approved under an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 12-15. This adds to the EUA for teens and adults 16 and older. Vaccinations will provide an important tool to mitigate the risks of COVID at Camp this summer.
  • Our URJ Camps Medical Advisory Team strongly encourages the families of all who are eligible to join our fully vaccinated staff. The higher our percentage of vaccinated individuals becomes, the better for the camp community.
What if we cannot get both Pfizer doses for our 12+-year-old campers prior to the summer?
  • The ideal situation is to get both doses, three weeks apart, with the second dose administered two weeks before your session’s Opening Day. This will be easier for later-starting camps and for those campers arriving second session.
  • If you cannot get the second shot, you are still protected two weeks after your first shot. The second dose can be given after camp.
Why do vaccinated campers need to be on the same testing schedule as non-vaccinated campers?
  • While vaccines are incredibly effective, they are not 100% effective.
  • The camper community is also not 100% vaccinated. Of the 2-dose Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, some eligible campers have had two doses pre-camp, some have had one dose pre-camp, and some have chosen not to vaccinate.
  • Because of the recent approval of the EUA, campers who have been vaccinated may not be fully immunized until partially through their camp session.

Testing Procedures

We are having trouble finding a PCR Test three days before opening day that will guarantee results by opening day.
  • We have arranged with Northshore Clinical Laboratories to mail all our families a home test kit for each camper.
    • Swab three days before camp.
    • Send the samples via pre-paid FedEx to the lab.
    • They will receive the next morning, run the test, and send the results to the Camp and you.
    • There is no charge.
What if FedEx does not deliver to the lab in time to get the test results on opening day?

There is an extra day built in to the process, but if FedEx cannot get the sample to the lab, we will make arrangements for you to go to a local lab, or you are free to wait in town for the results to come back. It will be easy for you to track the sample to the lab through FedEx.

What if our camper is flying in for Opening Day?
  • If campers are leaving their parents at the airport and flying in, we will send you an Abbott Binax Now rapid antigen test for you to administer at home. It is authorized for home use. Take a photo of the negative test and upload to your CampInTouch account.
  • If campers are flying in with you or are being picked up and brought to camp by friends or relatives, your camper can go through the regular Opening Day testing procedure.
What happens if my camper had COVID within the past 90 days but is testing negative for COVID? Do they still need to be in the same testing protocol as non-vaccinated individuals?

Contact your camp in advance and bring the test results with you. After 90 days, if the camper is still in camp and if the camp is still in its testing week, the camper will pick up the same testing schedule as the camp.

What happens if my camper tests positive for COVID during Opening Day?
  • You will not be able to enter camp. We will give you the address of the local clinic or hospital that has the capacity to conduct a PCR test so that you can obtain a negative test and return to camp.
  • If the PCR test confirms that your camper has COVID, we will try to make or find space for a later session.
What happens if someone in my child’s bunk tests positive during PCR Surveillance testing or later if someone in their bunk tests positive?
  • You will be notified by the camp by email.
  • We will begin to test the other campers in the pod for a week.
  • The pod will participate in a “shadow program.”
If a bunk needs to go into quarantine, what restrictions need to be placed on the vaccinated staff members working with that bunk?

The vaccinated staff member will need to wear a mask during the week of quarantine and surveillance testing.