COVID Update – Opening Day and Other Important Instructions

Shalom Camp Ramah New England Families,

We can’t wait to reopen camp and welcome campers back to Palmer in about a month!

In this email are several important updates on quarantining and isolating at camp; masks at camp; pre-camp testing policies and Opening Day procedures. There is also information about orientation sessions for parents and campers – please save these dates. I urge you to read this entire email carefully as there are important action items that require your attention.

We have updated the COVID page on our website with new information. Please check our COVID FAQs!

Luggage Policy: 

To successfully run Opening Day in a safe, welcoming and fun way for our campers, it is critical that everyone adheres to our luggage policy. Please click here for those policies. 

Quarantining and Isolating at Camp:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has updated its rules for isolating people who have tested positive for COVID and for quarantining close contacts of a person who has tested positive. Now, isolating and quarantining can take place at camp. We will inform you directly if your child tests positive for COVID or is deemed a close contact.

Masks at Camp:

The DPH has updated its rules for masks at camp. Campers will not be required to wear masks in bunk settings or outdoors. Vaccinated campers will not, by and large, need to wear masks indoors. Unvaccinated campers will need to wear masks indoors, except in bunk settings. After we receive the results of the tests taken on Day 8 of each session, and we are cleared, unvaccinated campers will be allowed to go unmasked indoors for activities with their edah (unit). Please check our COVID FAQs for additional details and updated instructions for bringing masks to camp.

Pre-camp Testing:

A PCR test is required for every camper 10 days prior to the start of their camp session (Friday, June 18, and Friday, July 16). Please send test results (positive or negative) immediately to, and we will be in touch with instructions if your child has received positive test results. 

A second PCR test is required 24-72 hours prior to camp with results available prior to arriving at camp. Please send test results (positive or negative) immediately to, and we will be in touch with instructions if your child has received positive test results. 

Opening Day Instructions:

Our primary goals for Opening Day are to safely welcome our campers upon their arrival to camp, to keep COVID out of our community, and to make sure we are focused on welcoming campers and providing great care as they transition into the camp community.

We are providing detailed instructions for campers arriving on June 29, for first and full sessions. We expect that the instructions for campers arriving on July 27, for second session, will be similar; second session families will receive an update before that time.

Our medical staff will be busy with COVID protocols and testing and will not be available for Opening Day consults on medications. If you need to talk to our medical staff about specific instructions, please email beginning June 20 to set up a time to speak.

There are two parts to this section: one is for those driving to camp and one is for those flying to camp. Please feel free to jump to the section that applies to your family. 

If you are dropping your camper at camp:

Because we are required to do Opening Day testing for both vaccinated and unvaccinated campers, families will need to sign up for their drop-off time slot using an online portal that will open on Tuesday, June 8, at 7:00 p.m. Here is the link to the portal. We will be limiting the number of cars per time slot so that we can safely and efficiently process each car. Time slots will be available on a “first come first served” basis. Here is an outline of the process:

  • Drop-off time slots will be 10:00, 10:40, 11:20, 12:00, 12:40 and 1:20.
  • You may not arrive at the camp gate for drop-off more than five minutes prior to your time slot. We realize that people driving to camp may not be able to precisely schedule their arrival to Palmer. If you arrive in Palmer early, please park and wait at the Big Y parking lot. You will be sent away if you arrive at camp early because we cannot block the road entering camp.
  • We will process fifty cars during each 40-minute time slot. 
  • Upon entering camp, you will be directed to park alongside the road on A-side. Please stay in your cars.
  • After all cars have entered, our team will come to each car to administer the rapid Abbott BinaxNow test. This test takes fifteen minutes to be read. During this waiting period, we also will screen as many campers as possible for lice. Parents must remain in their cars during this time period unless using the port-a-potties by the guard house. 
  • After we have processed the tests and are given the “all clear,” campers will say goodbye to their parents and their counselors will lead them to the bunk area. Activities will begin and campers will settle into camp.
  • If a child tests positive for COVID, the parents will take that child to a designated urgent care center to take a rapid PCR test. If that test is positive, the parents will contact camp for further instructions (to discuss whether the child will go home or isolate at camp). If the test is negative, the child will return to camp.
  • After all cars have been processed, we will facilitate them leaving camp and then welcome the next shift.

If your child is flying to camp:

  • It is critical that campers flying to camp adhere to all masking policies during the trip. 
  • If your camper is not on the group flight from BWI to BDL Airport in Hartford, CT, we will contact you directly with specific pickup instructions in the days right before the flight.
  • For those on the BWI to BDL group flight, you will meet the camp-designated chaperone at the gate. We will send additional details to these families approximately a week before the flight.
  • Upon arrival at BDL, the group will proceed together directly to the buses and head to camp.  We will email you when they arrive.
  • Upon arrival at camp, campers will be greeted by camp staff and will be administered the rapid Abbott BinaxNow test and receive lice checks. If the camper tests negative, they will join the camp program. Any camper testing positive will be retested with a rapid PCR test at a local urgent care center. If the camper tests positive, we will contact you, and the camper will isolate at camp in our medical facility. If the camper tests negative, they will enter the camp program. 

Orientation Sessions for Parents and Campers: 

We have scheduled the following orientation sessions for parents and campers. Please hold these dates – additional details will follow. 

  • For the parents/campers of Tzad Aleph (A-side) (campers exiting 2nd – 6th graders): Tuesday, June 8, 7-8pm.
  • For the parents/campers of Tzad Bet (B-side) (campers exiting 7th – 10th graders and Tikvah participants): Wednesday, June 9, 7-8pm.

We appreciate your patience, partnership and help as we bring back Ramah and begin an epic summer! We are opening camp with different procedures and in unusual times and we know that there will be some unforeseen moments. We will work together to make the experience fantastic for your campers!


Kol tuv,


Rabbi Ed Gelb (He/His/Him)

CEO, Ramah New England


Categories: Director, News & Updates