Ramah Covid Test Results and Policy Updates
Shalom Ramah Parents,
We are pleased to report that all of our day 8 pooled PCR tests returned negative (which is positive). Our twice weekly sewage testing for COVID has also been reassuring, and will continue to serve as a complement to our PCR surveillance testing – it is considered a “leading indicator” of an increase in COVID infections in the community. CDC Link.
We are making a few adjustments on our COVID protocols based on these results combined with current very low incidence in Massachusetts. We will continue to evaluate conditions and adjust accordingly. Additionally, we expect to revert to our original protocols when we start second session.
Our A-side edot (Kochavim, Ilanot, Solelim and Shoafim) will now be allowed to be unmasked indoors for edah activities. The concept is that the edah is now considered your family.
Next week, we will allow our staff to take offsite 24-hour days off. Our medical team, chaired by Dr. Michael Agus, believes that we can do this safely. We feel that the benefits to our staff and their ability to perform their jobs well far outweigh the risks. In light of the non-zero risk, however, in combination with increased circulation of the Delta variant, we have developed a “brit” (covenant) of behavior when on a day off that includes never eating inside at restaurants, masking up when indoors with people you don’t know to be vaccinated (supermarkets, Walmart, etc.), and avoiding large gatherings. We are confident that our staff members understand the importance of these safety measures and we will have great compliance.
Some of you may be wondering why we are allowing this change and deviating from the “bubble” concept. Managing risk and making sure that camp runs safely always involves balancing different needs. We believe that our staff members are working harder and at an even higher pace than normal this summer and that the mental health benefit of being able to leave camp for days off is very important and will positively impact their ability to perform their jobs optimally over the long haul of the eight-week summer. Our staff understands that the health and safety of every member of our camp community is a top priority and we are confident that they appreciate the importance of adhering to the brit guidelines that we have established. As part of the balancing exercise, we are limiting staff time out of camp to these days off, and not allowing staff to leave camp in any other circumstance like going out at night or making Walmart runs.
We are not altering our policy on visitors to camp. Unfortunately, we will not be able to have Visiting day, nor are we allowing visitors to camp at other times. Full session families will receive instructions on “virtual” visits and first session parents will receive instructions on camper departure next week.
We will PCR pool test all unvaccinated campers again the next two Wednesdays.
We are hoping to launch our new Facebook Live Show – (Shabbat) Brownies With The Boss – today at noon. It is possible we may have to delay due to the heavy rain expected at that time.
Here are the instructions: Our Facebook live show from Palmer is back, starting at noon today! Each Friday, we will broadcast (Shabbat) Brownies with the Boss (another reference to Ted Lasso!). If you miss it live, you can watch it later by going to our page. CLICK HERE to watch!
We are hoping that with the passing of Tropical Storm Elsa we will hit a patch of great weather and have even more fun at camp!
Rabbi Ed Gelb Rabbi Ed Gelb (He/Him/His)
CEO, Ramah New England