100% COVID Free Last Summer
Multiple layers of mitigation to keep our camp community safe
After a safe and successful 2020 camp season with zero cases of COVID-19, we are looking forward to another memorable summer in 2021. The success we had in running a sleep away camp during a pandemic depended on creating a "bubble", having multiple layers of mitigation, and most importantly having rapid COVID-19 testing onsite.
By partnering with the CDC, State of Maine Department of Health, and the American Camp Association, we created and implemented public health guidelines that we used and followed daily. COVID-19 will likely be with us in some form this coming summer, and we will be ready. Our medical team continues to work with public health officials to decide on best practices and guidelines for this summer. We will build on last summer's experience to provide another healthy summer under the pines. Read below for an overview of our COVID-19 guidelines from 2020.
Every camper and staff member needed a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test within 4 days of arrival. Four days after arrival, every staff member and camper were tested again with rapid antigen tests on site.
Medical Staff and Health Center
We hired additional registered nurses to be ready for any health related needs of campers and staff. A satellite health center was created and ready to use if we needed to quarantine campers or staff. The health center staff was trained in COVID-19 medical procedures and had the proper PPE equipment.
Cleaning and Sanitation
We increased our already thorough sanitation standards to match and exceed recommendations from health care professionals. We hired additional housekeeping staff to accommodate the extra work required. The frequency was increased in areas that we perform deep cleanings of shared surfaces and indoor facilities. We purchased a backpack sprayer and electrostatic sprayer so we had the best tools to sanitize camp. Hand washing and water bottle stations were built around camp. Water fountains were turned off and never utilized. One of the benefits of increased cleaning and sanitation was no cases of the common cold, the flu, pink eye, or strep throat.
Social Distancing and Mask Wearing
Camp was separated into 4 cohorts that we called families. Each family unit was comprised of boys and girls within the same age range. These groupings were done for contact tracing purposes in the event that anyone tested positive for COVID-19. We implemented strategic mask wearing protocols for everyone's safety. Masks were never worn at the waterfront or while eating, and they weren't required within the cabin. We added a large outdoor dining tent so we could separate the family groups during meals.
A Camp Bubble
Camp North Star was a closed community in 2020 for all campers and staff. That allowed us to minimize the risk of someone unknowingly being exposed to the virus outside of camp and then bringing it into camp. Counselors and campers quarantined before arriving at camp. Campers and staff were required to pass a health check at drop-off on the day they arrived. There were no visitors last summer. The entrance and exit to the property were limited to food deliveries only. All other deliveries were left outside of the camp property. North Star staff made the extra commitment to stay at camp during the entire season, including their time off. Arrival and Departure Day were modified with contactless drop off and pick up to minimize interaction between camp families with campers and staff.