ALFORD LAKE CAMP COVID-19 PLANNING

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May 14, 2021

Dear Parents,

 

Greetings from ALC!  We are writing to share some important information about vaccines and camp this summer. As you likely know, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the way for the Pfizer vaccine to include children ages 12-15. We are encouraging all of our families with campers 12 and older to strongly consider obtaining the full course of vaccinations before the start of camp.

 

There are some factors that are unknown as we move forward as the state and federal CDC attempt to modify guidelines, but current guidance tells us that:

  • A high rate of vaccinated campers and staff will overall make camp a safer place for everyone.

  • If there is a positive case, close contacts who have been vaccinated will not need to quarantine.

  • It is important to note that as of now, based upon State of Maine Guidance we will still require all campers and staff (including those vaccinated) to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours before arriving at camp. This also applies to those parents driving campers to camp. 

    • We will send a consent to test form to you next week. We ask that you get this back to us by May 24th so that we can finish preparations for opening day testing.

There are three possible paths to full vaccination, and we are strongly recommending camp families to follow Option 1.

  • Option 1 – Fully Vaccinated by Opening Day: The best option is for campers 12 and older to receive a first vaccine by May 24th in order to complete the needed 3 weeks between the first and second vaccine and two weeks between the second and Opening Day.

  • Option 2 – Second Dose but Not Fully Vaccinated by Opening Day: The second-best option is to at least have the second dose before arrival at camp even if it does not allow for the necessary two-week period to be fully vaccinated. We recommend that the 1st dose be no later than June 4th so that your daughter(s) have at least 72 hours after the 2nd dose and before arriving at camp to distinguish between illness and post-vaccine side effects on Opening Day.

The most likely scenario this summer will be a mixed population of vaccinated and unvaccinated staff and campers (our hope is to have a nearly fully vaccinated staff). Thus, we will maintain our plan of multi-layered NPIs that includes beginning with smaller cohort families, and if all goes well, expanding those families after testing and time. Our 10-day pre-arrival health check and behavior modification plan are still extremely important, whether a camper has been vaccinated or not. Also, important once at camp will be maximizing time outdoors, masking and distancing when appropriate, and vigorous hand hygiene.

 

Once again, we strongly encourage vaccinations for all age eligible campers. A high rate of vaccinated staff and campers will make ALC overall a safer place. It is different state to state, but your pediatrician’s office and local health departments will be the best resources for vaccine information and available locations. Another good source is the vaccine finder website: https://www.vaccines.gov/

 

As we receive more information, and if guidelines change further, we will send additional updates. Thank you for working with us as we make decisions to keep our entire community as healthy as possible this summer!

 

Please make sure your camper’s vaccination details are up to date in the health history section of CampInTouch and remember that all forms are due tomorrow so that we can be prepared to welcome your campers to ALC!

 

Warmly,

 

Sue & Betsy

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TRAVEL TO CAMP

February 2021

Dear ALCers and Families,

 

We are excited to welcome Campers and Counselors back to Alford Lake Camp in 2021! The successful reopening of camp is dependent on all members of the 2021 ALC Community being fully committed to doing everything they can to make sure everyone arrives at camp healthy. 

 

We expect to ask all families to drive their Camper to ALC this summer. We have reserved buses for travel from NYC, Darien, and Boston with the hope that we may be able to offer this option. We will send updates, hopefully in late March, but recognize you may need to make travel plans sooner. 

 

We are following guidelines given by the State of Maine along with our own additional precautions as we strive to create the safest procedures for our community. These guidelines may change as we get closer to camp, and we will update you as we learn more.

 

As you make your travel plans, please keep the following in mind:

  • During the two weeks before arrival, we ask all families to go the extra mile to reduce risk of exposure: minimize contact with others, avoid non-essential visits to public spaces, and any contact outside your family bubble should be outdoors, masked, and distanced. Basically, we expect you to work hard to minimize any chance of exposure. We know you will want to see friends and extended family before you leave for camp, but this is not the time for farewell parties. Please avoid going in stores or restaurants and instead use curbside pickup or delivery options. If you or your family members must go to school or work outside of your home, please follow all Best Practices of masking and social distancing. 

 

For those whose transportation includes a flight:

  • Flight travel may contain a higher risk of exposure. Therefore, families should plan to arrive in Maine and self-quarantine for at least 5 days prior to getting the COVID-19 test. 

 

ALL Campers, CTs, Staff, and whoever is accompanying them to camp must be tested for COVID-19 within 24-72 hours of arrival at camp and must have the negative test results in writing upon arrival at ALC, and follow the same instructions given to campers 5 days before test is taken. We ask that the whole family quarantines after the test. We will send testing details closer to the start of camp.

Please contact ALC if anyone in the family is a close contact of a person who has been diagnosed with, tested for, or quarantined in the two weeks before arrival to camp.

 

As with all things COVID, we know this information and guidance may change, but this will at least get you started with planning. We will soon send the complete parent handbook, which includes many important details about all aspects of getting ready!

 

Warmly,

Sue & Betsy 

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Last spring, our global community faced challenges that none of us had ever experienced. Alford Lake Camp closely monitored developments with the Covid-19 virus. ALC’s COVID-19 Task Force (our Directors, winter leadership team, head nurse and camp pediatrician) reviewed the latest information and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as Maine Summer Camps and the American Camp Association. 

With great sadness, we determined that we could not open camp safely. We did not have adequate time to implement all of the safety regulations required to protect our campers and staff.

 

Hallmarks of the ALC experience that remain regardless of any limits of Covid. 

 

  • Friendships  

  • Time outdoors 

  • A summer without screens 

  • Loving community  

  • Fun activities

2-0-2-1 at Alford Lake, no other year the same!

 

This past summer our whole community reminded us that ALCers are FLEXIBLE! While the Covid-19 situation is always evolving, we will work everyday to get ready to welcome ALCers back to Hope, Maine this summer. 

 

There are many things we already do that will help:

  • We are lucky to live in tents! We roll up the flaps during the day which allows great air flow. We have always set up the beds in our tents so that campers’ heads are 6 feet apart from each other.

  • We give everyone a squirt of hand sanitizer when they come into the Dining Room before a meal (or as they line up for outside meals) and also ask them to wash hands before a meal.

  • All campers and staff are required to have a health exam within 12 months of camp.

  • We have Registered Nurses in residence 24 hours a day who work closely with a local pediatrician who is also a camp dad. 

 

Ongoing Preparation:

  • We listen to briefings from the Maine CDC and our Governor. We want to stay up-to-date on continuing developments, recommendations, and rules as they evolve in Maine and throughout the country. We are VERY lucky to be in a state that has responded well to Covid-19. The Maine CDC has issued detailed guidelines for opening summer camps and we have earned the badge indicating our commitment to follow those guidelines. 

  • Our team participates in meetings and serves on committees with our membership organizations: Maine Summer Camps and the American Camp Association.

  • We have frequent conversations with colleagues from other camps as we all work together to provide the best and safest summer in 2021. 

  • We monitor ACA Standards, knowing that there may be some updates between now and June of 2021.

 

We know that there may be some changes to the way we function and interact at ALC this summer. We may need to wear masks, we may need to keep in small groups, we may eat more meals outside, we may not be able to welcome visitors. We may need to stand really far apart when we sing camp songs, but we will find a way to sing! What we DO know is that a summer at ALC is more important than ever and we will FLEX, be educated and up to date and ready for an amazing summer!