Covid Testing Update

Shalom Ramah Parents, I’m writing to update you on our all-camp testing from yesterday and our plans moving forward.  Camp is running great and the vast majority of staff and campers are healthy and having an amazing time. Campers with COVID are experiencing a variety of symptoms ranging from being nearly asymptomatic to experiencing flu-like symptoms with low-grade fevers for 0-2 days, runny nose and cough. Those who have experienced flu-like symptoms tend to feel much better after a few days. This is largely attributable to the current mild COVID strain going through camp, and to the vaccinations and boosters that have been given among campers and staff (thank you parents!). So far, most campers with COVID have remained in camp while some have chosen to go home to recuperate. Campers remaining in camp are participating in “COVID camp” and have many camp activities and some modified activities depending on how they are feeling.  We retested our entire camper and bunk counselor population yesterday and 13 additional campers tested positive. The majority of cases are in Machon (entering 10th grade) but there were other cases in several edot. Our total number of camper cases through last night is 36. This morning several more campers have tested positive. We have had a few new staff cases over the past few days but the bulk of our COVID-positive staff members have already or are on the verge  of returning – our staff numbers remain good. If your child tests positive for COVID our medical or camper care staff will contact you.  Our Plans Going Forward Our medical and leadership team are adapting in real time. Our goal is to take reasonable steps to try to limit spread while also trying to give our campers and staff the most enjoyable and meaningful experience. We now have enough cases in camp to reasonably expect that COVID cases will remain throughout the session.  Testing: Going forward we will test symptomatic campers and staff. We do not plan to do whole camp surveillance testing again. We continue to test our wastewater twice weekly which has been useful in revealing trends. COVID-positive campers: Campers testing positive may choose to go home and recuperate or stay at camp. We think (but do not know for sure) that we will be able to accommodate campers who wish to stay at camp. If that situation changes, we will inform our families. COVID-positive campers who are experiencing symptoms and need more medical care will be housed in the MARP until those symptoms are improved. COVID-positive campers who are largely symptom-free will move to COVID housing that we have set up in camp separately for A-side and B-side campers. Through day four, COVID-positive campers will participate, as they feel up to it, in special separate programs for them including regular camp chugim and special activities. Starting on day five and until day nine COVID-positive campers can test out by testing negative on a rapid antigen test. Once they test negative or on day nine regardless of test result, they will return to their bunks and regular programming.  Campers who still test positive day five through day eight and do not have a fever will be able to rejoin their edah for activities. They will be required to wear a mask, they will eat outside at a table with other COVID positive campers and they will sleep in their COVID housing. Of note, the entire camp is also eating outside and we are doing as many activities as possible outside. Campers who elect to go home to recuperate may return on day five or after and also rejoin their edot and follow the same protocols. We believe that allowing masked COVID-positive campers to rejoin their edah activities greatly enhances their experience while adding minimal additional risk of COVID spread. This policy also is closely aligned with CDC guidelines and with recent school practices where students were allowed to return on the same timetable. Running camp in this environment is a challenge. There are no perfect policies or protocols. Our staff is working to make sure that our campers are well cared for and are having a great Ramah experience. We appreciate your partnership as we navigate the summer.  Todah Rabbah, Rabbi Ed Gelb (He/Him/His)CEO, Ramah New England

Categories: Director, News & Updates