Summer 2022 Update: Opening Camp

Shalom Camp Ramah New England Families,We are eagerly anticipating welcoming our campers and staff back to Palmer!In this email are several important updates on camp COVID policies; pre-camp testing; and instructions for Opening Day and the end of First Session. 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 Kayitz ‘22 FAQ page on our website with this letter and new information. COVID Policies During Camp:We want to make you aware of the following policies and principles of operation. We want our campers and staff to experience all the incredible things camp has to offer. By and large, camp will run normally. As we mentioned earlier, our choices will balance risk and reward. We will change and update policies and principles of operation as needed as conditions change. We will emphasize the program on-site and there will be minimal programming off-site. For example, we are not planning on taking the campers to Six Flags. We expect our staff to take off-campus days off.In general, we are strictly limiting camp visitors. Due to our vaccination policies, we anticipate that campers will not be required to wear masks at camp. We will be employing COVID sewage surveillance testing.See below for pre-camp testing procedures. If your child tests positive at camp, we will contact you. We expect (depending on the total number who test positive) to be able to care for campers at camp who do test positive. Families who wish to have their children recover at home will be able to pick them up. Pre-camp Testing:You will be required to submit two Antigen Rapid Tests for each camper prior to your camper entering camp.

  • Test 1: The first test needs to be conducted the day before Opening Day. A picture of the test result, clearly labeled with the camper’s name, must be submitted to your CampMinder account. You will receive instructions closer to camp on how to upload the COVID test results into your CampMinder account.
  • Test 2: On Opening Day, you will bring your camper’s negative antigen test with you to camp, where it will be collected by the camp staff.

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 28, for First and Full Sessions. We expect that the instructions for campers arriving on July 26, for Second Session, will be similar; Second Session families will receive an update before that time.On Opening Day, our medical staff will be busy with COVID protocols and will not be available to consult with families regarding their campers’ medications or other medical issues. If you need to talk to our medical staff about specific instructions, please email us at this address beginning June 20 to set up a time to speak.There are two parts to this section: one for those driving to camp and one for those flying to camp. Please feel free to jump to the section that applies to your family. If you are driving your camper to camp:Because we are collecting test results for campers and want to limit exposure, families will need to sign up for their drop-off time slot using an online portal that will open on Tuesday, June 14, 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, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:00 and 12:30.
  • 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 30-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 collect test results. Parents must remain in their cars during this time period unless they are using the port-a-potties by the guard house.
  • After we have processed each car, 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.
  • After your car has been processed, we will facilitate you leaving the parking area in a safe manner.

If your child is flying to camp:

  • All campers need to take an Antigen Rapid Test at home prior to flying. Please label and turn in your negative test to the camp staff at the airport. If you are not on the group flight you will upload your labeled test result to your Campminder Account.
  • In an effort to limit exposure, we are asking all campers to mask in the airport and on the plane.
  • If your camper is not on the group flight from BWI to Bradley Airport (BDL) 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 BWI 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 join the camp program.

End of First Session and Visiting Day, Sunday, July 24:We are planning for First Session pickup to be between 10:00 and 11:30. We will send information on First Session camper pickup procedures at the beginning of camp. If you have first and full summer campers, please arrive at noon for the beginning of Visiting Day. We expect to welcome full summer camper families to camp for Visiting Day. We will be sending out more details as it gets closer. This is what we anticipate now: Visiting Day will run from 12-3. All visitors will need to register prior to Visiting Day and will need to bring a negative antigen test that was taken that day. We are restricting visitors to immediate family. Full summer campers and their visitors will not be able to leave campus during visiting hours. As much as possible, we want everyone to stay outdoors. If you must enter your child’s bunk, you must be masked.  We will provide a BBQ lunch for campers and visitors.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.

We appreciate your patience, partnership and help as we begin this summer’s legendary Ramah journey! While we learned a lot last year about operating during COVID, we are opening camp this summer with different procedures and in unusual times; 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