Keeping You Informed: COVID-19 FAQs
We are aware that the state of Michigan has lifted mask requirements effective June 22, 2021. As a licensed program, we are awaiting guidance from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs before making any changes to our policy.
YMCA Camp Eberhart had always been committed to providing a safe, fun, and enriching camp experience for all of our participants and staff, and this year will be no exception. Engaging with our local agencies – the Branch, Hillsdale, St. Joseph County Health Department, Michigan’s State Licensing Agency, the CDC, and the American Camp Association throughout the past year has allowed us to continually update our policies and procedures as they relate to health and safety.
YMCA Camp Eberhart will be layering many different procedures and adaptations to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19. At this time, Camp Eberhart will be requiring testing, masks in various capacities, reducing group sizes, adapting activities and schedules to provide physical distance between groups, good hygiene practices, and daily screenings.
Here you will find our current practices and protocols for the upcoming summer. As recommendations and best practices evolve, so will our protocols. We will continue to update this page and provide regular communication prior to your time at camp to remain transparent about our adaptations in camp programming for 2021 so that you can make the best decision for your family.
Thank you in advance for working with us to provide the safest experience we can at YMCA Camp Eberhart. We encourage you to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Pre-Camp Health Screening
In order to lower the risk of COVID-19 entering Camp, participants and staff will need to take additional safety measures in the 14 days prior to their arrival. This includes good hand washing often, avoiding large group gatherings and close contact with people outside your household, and wearing a face covering that covers both your mouth and nose when around others.
We ask families to perform health screenings of their camper for 14 consecutive days prior to their scheduled arrival at Camp. Symptoms to monitor for include a fever of 100.4 or higher, signs of a fever with chills or sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, sore throat, new uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing, new onset of severe headache. We will also perform a health check on your camper as part of the check-in procedures.
In addition to Pre-Camp Safety Practices for all program participants, camp is currently employing the following testing regimen for all resident campers. Please expect that camp will require the following as a minimum for program participants and staff prior to attendance.
All resident campers are required to take a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test at check-in.
Testing Prior to Attending Camp
Campers are recommended to have a PCR COVID-19 test administered 3-5 days before their scheduled arrival at camp.
- If the PCR test is negative, campers may come to camp.
- If the PCR test is positive for COVID-19, we ask that your camper stays home.
Negative PCR Test
Campers who receive a negative PCR COVID-19 test and attend camp will still be administered a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test at check-in. If your camper tests positive at that time, they will be asked to leave and you will be issued a full refund. Proof of a negative PCR test prior to camp is the only way to receive a refund if a positive COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test is returned.
Scenarios With No PCR Testing Required
- If a camper is fully vaccinated, they may submit their vaccination record in place of taking a PCR test
- If a camper has had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, they will need to submit their positive PCR test with their provider’s documentation.
- Both of these scenarios still require a Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test at check-in and qualify for a full refund should that test be positive upon arrival at camp.
PCR Test Results Not Ready Prior to Check-In
If your camper has taken a PCR COVID-19 Test and the results are not ready before the start of camp, please come to check-in as normal. We will administer a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test. If the test produces a negative result, your camper will be allowed to attend camp. If that test produces a positive result, your camper will be asked to leave. If your PCR COVID-19 Test comes back negative (after check-in) you are still eligible for a full refund.
My Camper Did Not Take a PCR Test
PCR COVID-19 Tests are not required before attending camp. However, they are the only way to receive a refund should your camper's COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test produce a positive result.
If a Camper Starts Showing Symptoms
- Should a camper start to show symptoms and is required to be picked up by a parent or guardian, they will take an on-site antigen test prior to check out.
Staff or participants will not be permitted to participate in programming if:
- They exhibit COVID-19 symptoms in the 14 days prior to arrival
- They have a positive COVID-19 test
- They have COVID-19 symptoms on the day of their arrival
- They are not fully vaccinated and have been determined to be a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
Day Camp Programs
- Should a camper start to show symptoms and is required to be picked up by a parent or guardian, they will take an on-site antigen test prior to check out.
We will not require vaccines for our campers. The American Camping Association (ACA), which is working with the CDC and public health experts, has 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 at 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.
Overnight Camp Check-In
Check-in for Overnight Camps will look slightly different in 2021. To limit potential exposure and ensure an efficient check-in, we ask all campers and their guardians to wear masks for the duration of drop-off. We also ask that not more than one adult per camper be present at check-in.
Upon arrival to Klinger Hall, campers will receive their cabin assignment and complete additional health steps will include confirming the PCR test and/or providing proof of vaccination card, rapid-antigen test for all non-vaccinated campers (15-minute response), health screening questions, and a temperature check. If the participant is exhibiting any symptoms or has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they will not be permitted to join us at Camp that day.
Upon successful screening, guardians will be able to drop their camper off at their cabin. Only one adult will be allowed to enter the cabin with their camper and must sanitize their hands before entering and wear a mask at all times. After drop-off, we ask that guardians depart quickly to allow the flow of check-in to continue.
Day Camp Check-In/Out - At Camp
Check-in for Day Camps will look different in 2021 than previous years and will be more of a “drive-through” style. Please follow signs and staff directions to help guide you through the process of drop-off. Prior to exiting your vehicle, Camp staff or volunteers will ask your camper symptom screening questions and perform a temperature check. If the participant is exhibiting any symptoms or has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they will not be permitted to join us at Camp that day. Campers will need to wear a mask until they are with their cohort.
Day Camp Check-In/Out - At Bus Sites
To limit exposure risk, parents/guardians are required to stay with their camper in their car until it is time to check-in and get on the bus. Staff will ask your camper symptom screening questions and perform a temperature check. If the participant is exhibiting any symptoms or has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they will not be permitted to join us at Camp that day.
Upon successful screening, your camper will get on the bus. While on the bus, we will follow current bus requirements. At this time, this includes properly wearing a mask, hand sanitizer before entry, and no eating or drinking while on the bus. Campers will wear their mask until they are with their cohort at Camp or back in their vehicle with their parent/guardian.
While in their cabin or participating in an activity with only their bunkmates (indoors and outdoors), campers and staff will not be required to wear masks. Masks can still be worn if the camper chooses to wear one. However, masks cannot be worn during swimming or boating activities.
While participating in an activity with campers from other cabins, campers will be required to wear their mask at all times both indoors and outdoors.
Camp will be requiring all participants and staff to utilize face masks that cover both their nose and mouth. We recommend that campers pack a minimum of 2 masks per day. Additional masks will be available at all times.
- While sleeping, showering, or brushing teeth for all overnight participants
- While in their own cabin for all overnight participants
- While eating and seated during meal times
- During high energy physical activity (ex: Trail Biking, Climbing Tower) Physical distancing will be encouraged
- When participating in swimming or boating activities
The capacity of every camper cabin, lodge, and treehouses 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 at 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.
Camp will apply many of the mitigation strategies described above to our program areas at Camp. In general, here are some modifications participants can expect:
- Washing or sanitizing hands and equipment before and after each activity
- Mask wearing when participating with campers from other cabins
- Maintaining physical distancing as needed
- Staff will wear masks in all areas
- Games will be modified to limit interactions like holding hands, linking elbows, etc.
Inside the Cabin
Campers in cabins will be able to remove their masks when in their cabins. Campers are required to sleep in specific directions to maximize space between camper’s heads.
Planning and partaking in unique off-site trips are a special part of our Leadership Core program. We will continue to include this experience as part of our program with the exception of sleeping off-site. Some changes will include the bussing procedures and the distance of travel.
Prior to all meals, all participants will be instructed to wash their hands with soap and water or to utilize hand sanitizer, as appropriate.
Meal service at Camp Eberhart will be a mix of staff-served family dining by cabins and individually packaged salad and sandwich options from our grab-and-go staff-supervised salad bar. We will also provide two seatings for each meal so that cabins are properly spaced out around the dining hall.
Day Campers will be served cafeteria-style separate from overnight camp meal service. They will also have access to the individually packaged salad and sandwich options from our grab-and-go staff-supervised salad bar
Daily screenings will occur for staff and participants. Overnight participants and staff will receive a temperature check each morning and our Health Office will monitor the wellness of all people at YMCA Camp Eberhart.
Should a participant or staff member begin to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, they will be immediately removed from their cabin group for evaluation at the Health Center. All areas that were utilized by the group with the symptomatic person will be emptied and sanitized before use again. If determined necessary, the participant will be isolated until a guardian can pick them up, and tested on-site with an antigen test for COVID-19 before checking out. If a participant or staff member tests 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, the following steps will be taken:
- Participants or staff will remain in quarantine until the results of the test are confirmed.
- Contact tracing will be completed and additional tests administered as warranted.
- While maintaining confidentiality, Camp will notify the families of the affected participants and the steps that Camp has taken.
- Affected summer campers will be transferred to another Summer Camp session if available, or issued prorated refunds or credits upon request.
From the CDC website - People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of the symptoms below, seek emergency medical care immediately. These are not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
Cleaning, Handwashing and Sanitizing Procedures
While Camp Eberhart has always employed a high level of cleanliness, we have added extra precautions and a higher frequency. Our cleaning processes follow current recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Michigan Department of Health.
Cleaning around Camp is a two-step process: Cleaning and Disinfection. Cleaning entails washing with soap and water to remove dirt from surfaces. Once a surface has been cleaned, disinfection with an approved disinfectant is performed.
In some areas around the property, you will notice staff performing different levels of cleaning as determined by the specific area’s frequency of use. Expect frequently touched surfaces, restrooms, and shared spaces to be cleaned and disinfected a minimum of once daily. In higher use areas, expect cleaning and disinfection to occur more frequently.
Handwashing continues to be a very important risk mitigation step as it helps stop the spread of germs. In addition to the lavatory sinks found in all restrooms around Camp, you will also find additional hand sanitizing stations throughout Camp for use when water and soap are not available.
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!