Keeping You Informed: COVID-19 FAQs
At YMCA Camp Eberhart the health and safety of our campers and staff have been our number one priority for over 110 years. This past year has been a challenge for everyone - with decreased outdoor activities, increased screen time for schooling and limited social interactions with their peers, our campers need camp more now than ever! While summer camp at YMCA Camp Eberhart will look slightly different this summer, we are committed to providing a safe, healthy program this summer that will continue to provide our campers memories and experiences they will always remember.
At YMCA Camp Eberhart we will be layering many different procedures and adaptations to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19. This includes mask wearing for campers and staff, programming in reduced group sizes, activities and schedules that provide physical distance between groups, good hygiene practices, proper cleaning and sanitizing, and daily screenings. This information is laid out in more detail below.
We will continue to closely follow all CDC and State of Michigan Health Department guidelines to ensure the health and safety of all our campers and staff. As we have found over this past year, information continues to evolve and change. As changes happen, we will be updating our procedures accordingly and sharing that information here.
Pre-Camp Health Screening
We are asking campers and staff to follow CDC recommended behaviors prior to arrival at camp. This includes good hand washing often, avoiding large group gatherings and close contact with people outside your household, wearing a face covering that covers both your mouth and nose when around others, and daily monitoring of health for signs and symptoms 14 days prior to the arrival of camp. All members of the camper’s household should also try, whenever possible, to avoid being with others outside the household without a facial covering 14 days prior to their camper’s arrival.
We will not require vaccines for our campers. The American Camping Association (ACA), which is working with the CDC and public health experts, have shared that they don’t expect camper age participants to have access to vaccines by summer due to their low-risk and therefore low priority for vaccine distribution. As they are made available, we encourage all our staff to follow CDC guidelines and take the necessary steps to be vaccinated before their arrival to camp.
This summer we have reduced our overnight capacity to 65%. This will reduce the number of campers in all cabins, program areas and in the dining hall.
Every year we look forward to seeing all our camp families (and alumni!) as they drop-off and pick-up their campers and we know how much they all love seeing camp. However, to limit exposure and ensure an efficient check-in/out, we need to ask that this summer only one adult per camper be present at check-in. We will also be asking all campers and guardians to wear a mask through the entirety of the check-in/out process.
Prior to entering Klinger Hall, camp staff or volunteers will ask your participant health screening questions and perform a temperature check of both the camper and guardian. If the participant or guardian are exhibiting any symptoms or has a temperature of 100.4 or higher, the camper will not be permitted to join us at camp that day. Additionally, all campers, staff and guests must sanitize their hands before entering Klinger Hall.
We will be limiting the amount of people allowed in Klinger Hall at one time. Please plan for check-in/out to take just a bit longer than in previous summers. We greatly appreciate your patience and grace!
Following the current State of Michigan mandates and the CDC guidelines, campers and staff will be required to wear their mask as outlined below. Should the mandates and guidelines change, our policies will reflect those changes.
At this time, masks are to be worn at all time indoors except when eating, sleeping and bathing. Masks are also to be worn at all times outdoors except when participating in properly distanced strenuous physical activity (mountain biking, climbing tower, etc) and during water-based activities (swimming, skiing, sailing, boating).
The capacity of every camper cabin, lodge and tree house has been reduced to provide proper physical distancing of campers and staff while indoors. All open-air Stone Cabins and Hill Cabins will sleep no more than 12 people per wing, Leighton Leadership Lodge and Morris Lodge will sleep no more than 12 per cabin section and Baker Cooper Lodge will sleep no more than 8 per wing. The Tree Houses will sleep no more than 10 each. Campers and staff will be required to sleep head-to-toe with a six foot distance between the heads of each bunk. Per the CDC, 6 feet separation is not required between the top and bottom bunk because of the physical barrier between campers. Camp Staff will keep written record that each bunk rail is sanitized daily and all door handles and shared surfaces are sanitized multiple times daily (corresponding to the times campers are in their cabins). Hand sanitizer will also be available all times in each cabin.
Interactions with other cabins will be limited to 3-5 cabins, creating a village. Campers in each village will be able to interact with their peers while outside and masked. Additionally, modifications will be made to program areas to enable layers of protection.
This summer we have reduced the max capacity of our dining hall to 132 (non-covid capacity is 300). This will allow us to provide significant space to spread out 11 tables per meal. Campers will eat with their cabin at their own table and camp staff will clear and sanitize tables after every meal. A healthy variety of salad bar items will be available pre-packaged and campers will be able to pre-order sandwiches for any meal.
YMCA Camp Eberhart will conduct daily screenings of all campers and staff that includes a daily check-in and logged temperature checks.
Should a participant or staff member begin to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, they will be immediately removed from their cabin group for an evaluation at the Wellness Center. All areas that were utilized by the group with the symptomatic person will be cleared and sanitized before use again. If determined necessary, the participant will be quarantined until a guardian can pick them up and be tested for COVID-19.
If they test negative for COVID-19, they may return to the program following 24 hours of being symptom free without medicine.
If they test positive for COVID-19 contact tracing will be completed while maintaining camper confidentiality. Camp will notify the families affected with the steps that have been taken as well as next steps. As applicable, summer campers will be allowed to transfer to another Summer Camp Session if available or issued prorated refunds or credits upon request.
Cleaning, Handwashing and Sanitizing Procedures
While YMCA Camp Eberhart has always employed a high level of cleanliness, we have added extra precautions and a higher frequency. Our cleaning and sanitizing processes follow current recommendations from the CDC and State of Michigan Department of Health.
The cleanliness and sanitizing of cabins and program areas are the responsibility of all camp staff. Our full staff team is trained to perform and document different levels of cleaning and sanitizing as determined by the specific area’s frequency of use. Shared program equipment (life jackets, bows, helmets, etc) will be cleaned and sanitized after each use. Bathrooms are also cleaned and disinfected multiple times a day.
Handwashing will continue to be a very important risk mitigation step as it helps to stop the spread of germs. In addition to the lavatory sinks found in all restrooms around camp, there will also be additional sanitizing stations throughout camp, at every program area and cabin. Additionally, all staff will be equipped with hand sanitizer to encourage frequent use.
To ensure we do not inadvertently introduce Covid-19 to our campers and staff, visitors will not be allowed this summer. Camp will continue to allow deliveries for essential camp items. This includes UPS, FedEx, USPS, food deliveries, propane, etc. We have prepared a safe location for all deliveries away from our camper populations and all vendors that need to be on camp beyond this location must check-in with the Camp Office and comply with camp’s protocols to Covid-19 to limit the risk of additional exposure.
Staff Time Off
Appropriate time off for our staff is crucial to the success of our programming, mental well-being and care of your children. Daily on-site staff time off will be incorporated appropriately into the camp schedule. However, at this time, seasonal staff will not be mandated to remain on camp property on their time off between sessions. Staff will be required to abide by and sign a code of conduct ensuring they understand their role is to keep our camp community safe this summer.
I have more questions and thoughts, who can I contact?
We are not surprised to hear it – there is a lot to process right now! The best way to share your questions and thoughts with us is through our Contact Us Form or call us at 269-244-5125. We look forward to hearing from you!