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Spring COVID-19 Update

A Message from Jared & Phil

We are very hopeful that there will be a much lower prevalence of COVID-19 by summer 2021. However, we are prepared to run camp regardless. As camp directors, we must be able to keep your children, our staff, and their families safe. We have never taken a risk with safety, and we never will.

What have we learned over the past few months? Firstly, face coverings are incredibly effective. In a survey of 300 summer programs that opened in 2020, there were no cases of community spread of Coronavirus when camps enforced common sense masking policies.

Secondly, Coronavirus is much less likely to spread outdoors. Our region saw a very low level of transmission during the summer months.

We are very encouraged by the progress of rapid testing, vaccines, and therapeutics. However, even without progress on those fronts, we now have enough information to keep our community safe AND provide the high level of service that Ramaquois families and staff expect and deserve.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions. If you would like more detail, please call us (845.354.1600), watch our COVID FAQ videos on our blog, or visit our COVID manual for parents. This information will change as we approach summer in response to regulations, new information, and changes in the virus’ behavior.

Until we get much closer to the summer, we are planning for a spectrum of outcomes. We know what camp was like in 2019, and we will explain what camp will look like if the COVID situation in summer 2021 is similar to summer 2020. The most likely outcome is that this summer will be somewhere between those two extremes.

Over the next few months, the spectrum will narrow. Our goal is to be transparent about what camp will be like in 2021. Camp will be safe, fun, and rewarding for campers, staff and their families.

With gratitude,

Jared Gelb & Phil Rainone

Directors

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Frequently Asked Questions

For more details, please call our office at 845.354.1600 or view our COVID Manual for parents.

How is Ramaquois preparing for summer 2021?

In preparing for 2021, we are thinking about a variety of possibilities because of the rapidly changing developments regarding testing, vaccines, and therapuetics. Currently, our assumption is that the same regulations as 2020 will apply in 2021. However, it is likely that these will be relaxed.

The main components of a COVID-safe summer are:

  • Health Screening and Testing - We’ll use best practices, and err on the side of safety, in order to keep anyone who might be sick out of camp.
  • Outdoor Activities - Ventilation is crucial to stopping the spread of Coronavirus. We’ll shift our activities outdoors to keep our community as safe as possible.
  • Cohorting - Keeping campers in groups reduces the likelihood and size of outbreaks. Cohorting also minimizes the number of people impacted by a contact trace.
  • Face Coverings - Masks are remarkably effective at reducing the likelihood of transmission, and have become part of our daily lives! It is very likely that face coverings will be a part of our 2021 camp season.
  • Cleanliness - We have always taken great pride in keeping Ramaquois clean. This summer, there will be an increased focus on sanitizing, disinfecting, and handwashing.

Will Ramaquois provide transportation in 2021?

Yes! We have done extensive research on mass transit and busing systems. There will be extensive “behind the scenes” changes to our transportation program, and we are working closely with our bus company partners regarding sanitizing, driver testing, and protocol compliance. From a camper’s perspective, it is likely that they will notice the following changes.

  • Ventilation will be increased by opening windows and using non-recycled air-conditioning.
  • Face coverings will be required.
  • It is likely that there will be assigned seating that maximizes distance between campers. Campers will also be health screened and temperature checked before boarding the bus. We will ask for parents’ cooperation with this process.

What will lunch be like?

Lunch at Ramaquois is a daily highlight, and it will continue to be in 2021! Similar to transportation, there are many behind the scenes changes that will keep our staff and campers safe. Our kitchen complies with the same Department of Health regulations that are placed on restaurants. Though subject to change, we are planning for three major changes that campers will notice:

  • Increased ventilation - Rather than remaining enclosed and air-conditioned, our dining hall will become similar to an outdoor seating environment by removing the windows and opening the doors that comprise over 50% of the wall space. Our exhaust fans will provide significant additional ventilation. Between 50% and 85% (depending on the COVID situation in June) of campers will eat outdoors, under covered tents. The balance will eat in the open, ventilated dining room.
  • Increased separation - There will be more room between and within groups/cohorts and it is likely that there will be plexiglass barriers.
  • Procedure changes - Campers might notice some changes in lunch procedures that will reduce the amount of shared surfaces and utensils. We don’t anticipate these procedural changes impacting the experience in any meaningful way for campers.

Will Ramaquois be open on Rainy Days?

Since many day camps are planning to close on rainy days (similar to snow days in school), some parents have asked if Ramaquois will be open during inclement weather. Yes! Ramaquois will be open on rainy days!

If it is raining, we will use all of our covered areas, as well as some indoor areas. Only one cohort will use each area at a time. Face coverings will be required, and all surfaces will be sprayed with disinfectant between groups. We have seen that this combination of cleaning, cohoroting, and covering faces has been very effective in schools and will be implemented on rainy days.

Will Swim Instruction be offered?

Yes! Ramaquois will continue to offer top-notch swim instruction for our campers. Because we have nine pools, we can offer swim instruction to each group (cohort) separately. Campers will have the same quality and quantity of swim instruction as in pre-pandemic summers.

Additionally, general swims and lake activities will remain, though cohorting restrictions will be enforced.

There are so many incredible activities and special events at Ramaquois. What will change?

In a COVID environment, we will move all activities outdoors (except for Woodworking, for older children, which would be unsafe to do outdoors). Ramaquois offers over 60 different programs, and we anticipate being able to offer about 95% of these programs. All of our program areas will be modified to varying degrees to keep our campers and staff safe, and to abide by regulations. However, our activities will still provide the outcomes that are important to the Camp Ramaquois experience - building community, having fun, and encouraging teamwork, sportsmanship, and self-confidence.

Will camp’s capacity be limited?

In 2020, New York State limited the number of campers per group. It is possible that there will be a similar limitation in 2021. It is also possible that Ramaquois will choose to limit the total number of groups in camp in order to accommodate COVID-19 best practices. In the event that capacity is limited, priority will be given to campers that enrolled earliest.

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