May COVID Update
Dear Camp Ramah New England families,
In just seven weeks, we will welcome our first and full session campers to Palmer. We are beginning to fill in many of the details about how camp will run, while never losing sight of our bigger goals: to keep everyone safe and healthy, and to recapture the spirit of camp that will allow our campers’ spirits to soar. As we restore our joyous camp community, we are mindful of the need to remain flexible to address the many changes that our current situation requires.
In this email are several important updates on: luggage, vaccinations, pre-camp precautions, masks, and our refund policy. I urge you to read this entire email carefully. We will be sending a separate message to the families of our day camp parents.
This information, with some additional details, can be found at our overnight camp FAQs.
Families need to make arrangements to ship camper luggage immediately. Due to Covid restrictions, families will not be able to drive luggage to/from camp:
Thank you to everyone who has registered for the Camp Trucking luggage delivery service (or has made other appropriate arrangements with Marggi, as permitted by our 2021 luggage policy). This year, to ensure a smooth experience on opening and closing days, all luggage must be shipped to/from camp.
The detailed procedures for arranging luggage delivery are located here and must be followed carefully. The schedule and locations for luggage pick up/drop off are located here. The “other” option for luggage in the online Transportation Form is only for a few exceptions for parents who have already arranged with Marggi to ship luggage to/from camp another way. Parents who are vacationing before and/or after camp also must ship camper luggage; on the Camp Trucking website, these parents can choose two different locations for dropping off/picking up luggage, including three locations closest to camp: Worcester, West Hartford or Pittsfield.
Vaccinations are strongly encouraged for all campers 12 and older:
As you are aware, the FDA has approved under an Emergency Use Authorization the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for teens 12-15. We are very excited about this news. Vaccinations are an essential tool in our efforts to mitigate risk at camp this summer and will help to provide our campers with a safe and wonderful camp experience.
In consultation with the Ramah New England Medical Committee, we strongly encourage you to have your child vaccinated prior to their arrival at camp. Every additional member of our community that is vaccinated, children and adults, will enable us to better protect the health and safety of our entire community this summer.
As you are aware, the vaccine is considered most effective two weeks after the second dose has been received and there is a three-week window between the two doses. We ask parents to begin the vaccination series as soon as possible. Ideally, all campers in this age bracket will be able to complete the full vaccination series two weeks prior to camp (by June 15 for first and full session campers and by July 13 for second session campers).
It is also possible that the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health may allow greater flexibility in the camp program for campers who are vaccinated.
In the near future, we will let you know how to submit proof of your child’s vaccinations.
How we will communicate with our CRNE families this summer:
This summer, due to COVID, we will not have a camp photographer, camp blogger, or camp communications specialist on staff. We have developed the following plan for communicating with our families this summer (subject to adjustment as we see what we are/aren’t able to do):
- We will post a tzrif (bunk) photo for every tzrif by the end of the first day of each session.
- We will post one photo gallery for every edah (division) per week that will include at least one photo of every camper in that edah.
- Rabbi Gelb will continue to send his Friday update emails to the camp community.
- When possible, we will post additional photos and videos.
If you want to check in on how your child is doing at camp, we invite you to contact your child’s yoetz, a staff member who is attached to your child’s edah. Always feel free to reach out directly to Talya Kalender, our Director of Camper Care, or me if you have any concerns about your child. Additional information about our password-protected website photo galleries and contacting your child’s yoetz will be sent in advance of your child’s arrival at camp.
Strict adherence to our guidelines for pre-camp testing and precautions is essential:
Each camper will need to receive two PCR tests before their arrival at camp: 10 days prior to the start of their camp session (on Friday, June 18, or Friday, July 16) and 24-72 hours prior to camp with results available prior to arriving at camp. In June, we will send instructions for submitting proof of the results of the two PCR tests.
After taking these two tests, please follow all CDC guidelines regarding the three NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions): wearing masks, social distancing, and being outside with people who are not members of your family. Beginning with the Shabbat before the start of camp, please keep your camper very close to home and only allow interactions with immediate family and fully vaccinated family members. In June, we will provide more direction on these precautions.
Jane Brophy is a returning member of our nursing staff and currently serves on our Medical Committee. Jane is taking on the pre-camp role of answering questions regarding pre-camp testing and precautions. Please contact Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about these matters.
Your camper will need to bring ample mask supplies to camp:
As you are aware, campers will need to wear masks for most activities outside the bunk. Campers will need a fresh mask every day. To ensure that your camper has sufficient masks for camp, please send your camper with a box of 50 disposable masks for each session that they will be at camp.
If you child prefers to wear a reusable mask, please follow these guidelines:
- Please follow the CDC’s Guide to Masks, which specifies two or more layers and how to obtain a good fit for your child.
- If your child will be relying primarily on reusable masks, please send 14 masks as these masks must be washed after a single use and there is a ten-day laundry cycle at camp.
- Please send your camper with a box of 50 disposable masks for each session that they will be at camp, to serve as back-up to the reusable masks.
Our refund policy if a child has to miss part of camp due to COVID:
If a camper has to miss part of camp due to COVID, Ramah will apply a refund of $50 of tuition per full day of camp missed. This refund reflects our desire to be fair and helpful and the reality that the costs of camp do not measurably change if a camper misses a portion of camp.
We thank you all for your understanding, flexibility and support as we work together to make sure this is an epic summer for all of our campers!
Rabbi Ed Gelb (He/His/Him)
CEO, Ramah New England