COVID-19 Guidelines for Teen Programs

Home / COVID-19 Guidelines for Teen Programs

COVID-19 GuidelinesTeen Programs

This plan is a living document that will evolve as we continue to evaluate best-practices and adapt as we receive any new information and guidance. We are working with our COVID-19 Medical Committee and following the American Camp Association and CDC guidelines.

We know it is critical to keep you updated on what we are learning and implementing as we continue to educate ourselves about COVID-19. We want you to understand and feel confident in the steps we are taking to minimize risk. 

We feel there are three major components to being able to open camp at this point: quarantining, testing, and creating a camp “bubble”. While we will take every measure possible to minimize risk, we must all enter under the assumption that at some point there may be suspected and/or confirmed cases of COVID-19. This known risk does not derail our confidence in our ability to keep our campers and staff safe.

Key Terms

Camp Bubble - We will create a camp-wide bubble environment to protect against the transmission of virus from outside and within the camp population. Camp will be closed to outside visitors and guests. Campers and staff will leave camp for hiking/canoe trips, and other small excursions, but will take proper protocols to maintain the integrity of the bubble.

Pod - Your pod is your camp “family”. Because of the small community, all of Camp Kennedy and Camp Olmsted will be one pod. Just like at home, when you are with your family, you will not need to physically distance or wear a mask. When campers and staff come in contact with someone outside their bubble, for example a bus driver, they will wear a mask.

Social Distancing - When we come in contact with other hikers on the trails, for example, we will wear a mask and maintain social distance (6 feet apart).

Quarantining - A public health practice that covers a period of isolation that will help control the spread of potential infectious diseases, including limited contact with others.

Pre-Camp Health Screening, Quarantine, and Testing

Pre-Camp Health Survey - Families will receive a Pre-Camp Health Survey. This survey will ask about possible COVID-19 symptoms and exposure. We will email this form to families with more instructions before your child’s arrival. This form should be printed out and completed, and must be handed in on arrival day.

Quarantine - We will ask that every camper quarantines and self monitors for 7 days. This means you will do everything within your control to make sure when your camper is tested (48 hours before camp begins) their test is going to be negative. We understand that childcare is a necessity for some and that people in the household might be going into work. Please use all necessary safety precautions including mask wearing, social distancing, and limiting the amount of time in public places. Also, during the quarantine period, refrain from interaction with members outside your immediate family. For example, quarantine includes no day camp, vacations, and going out to dinner. While in quarantine, we will ask all staff and campers to self monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. To enter camp, all participants must be symptom free in addition to their negative test. Once the camper is tested, we expect a strict home quarantine to take place until they arrive at camp.

Testing - Tamarack Camps has a contract with Integrated Laboratory Providers LLC, who will conduct the majority of the COVID-19 tests that we will require. All tests will be a nasopharyngeal (NP) PCR test. We will send detailed information about when and where you will need to go for these tests prior to camp. Your camper’s insurance information will need to be provided and the test will be billed to insurance. In the small chance your insurance does not cover testing, all families will be expected to cover the cost. They will also be conducting all PCR testing at camp, with supervision and assistance from our Director of Health. Tamarack Camps will cover the cost of any tests not covered by insurance that have been administered during the session.

Camper Testing - Campers will be required to take a PCR test within 48 hours of arriving at camp. The Director of Health will receive results from that test prior to campers arriving on the first day.

Local Testing - If a camper or staff exhibits symptoms or concerns of COVID-19, in consultation with the Director of Health, they will be tested at a local testing facility.

Staff Testing - Staff members will be required to take a PCR test 24-48 hours before arriving at camp. The Director of Health will receive results from that test before the staff members are to report to pre-camp. Staff members will be tested again 7-8 days after arriving at pre-camp.

Out of State Campers

When traveling to Michigan, here are the options in order of preference: 

Option 1 - Arrive in Michigan a week early and begin quarantine. Your camper will be tested prior to camp with the in-state campers and then follow in-state camper protocol.  

Option 2 - Fly/Drive to Michigan on the day prior to camp beginning. 

  • You still must quarantine at home for 7 days before arrival.
  • We are REQUIRING testing pre-flight. You must have a negative test before boarding the plane/traveling in town.
  • You will coordinate with the Director of Teen Programs as to when your camper will be tested in Michigan.

*Any travel options other than those listed above must be approved by the Camp Director or Director of Health.*

Departure and Arrival Day Expectations

Departure Day - Campers will be dropped off in the metro-Detroit area. Please limit the number of people attending departure. Different than in previous years, only one car per camper may come to drop off. Departure day will be “curbside”.

Arrival Day - Similar to departure day, campers will be picked up at a local area.

Use of Masks

When campers are within their pods, they will not have to wear masks. When campers are mixing with anyone outside their pod, they will be required to wear a mask and social distance. Neck gaiters are not an acceptable form of face covering.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

We will have enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols throughout our programs to reduce risk to campers and staff members.

  • Communal Spaces - The group will clean and disinfect communal spaces on a regular basis.
  • Frequently Touched Surfaces - Cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces and common spaces. Examples of frequently touched surfaces include tables, door handles, hand railings, light switches, countertops, cabinet handles, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • Outdoor Surfaces - Cleaning structures made of plastic or metal will be carried out according to typical camp cleaning practices. More frequent cleaning of high touch outdoor surfaces, such as railings, will take place. Outdoor wooden surfaces, such as benches will be cleaned according to standard camp practices and more frequently if needed to remove obvious soiling.

Personal Hygiene - At the beginning of the summer, staff members will educate campers on behaviors and precautions they should abide by to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including:

  • How and when to effectively wash and sanitize hands
  • How to practice physical distancing in various settings (in the backcountry, etc.)
  • Face covering policy
  • Which symptoms to look out for and when to report them and to whom
  • Coughing etiquette

Hand Hygiene

  • We will have hand sanitizer stations near the entrance of each building and activity area.
  • We will ask campers to use these upon entering and exiting.

Bathrooms and Showers

  • Campers will avoid sharing common bathroom supplies (towels, soap, toothpaste, etc.)
  • Campers need to bring their own bathroom supplies and a container for toiletries to be stored in for the duration of camp (for example, a bathroom tote or a 1-quart clear plastic bag labeled with their name.)
  • Campers should keep personal items in their bag or tote and store their bag or tote in a designated area in their cabin.
  • We will have a staggered shower schedule to limit the number of people using the bathroom/shower facilities at one time.
Social Distancing Protocol
  • We will very rarely come in contact with anyone outside of the camp bubble at the outpost camps.
  • If there is a circumstance when we do come in contact with someone not in our bubble, we will maintain at least 6 ft of distance.
  • We will be operating on the basis that COVID-19 vaccines will not be readily available to all our staff and campers.
  • Even if you have had the COVID-19 vaccine, participants in all areas of camp must still adhere to all COVID-19 related guidelines including quarantine and testing.
  • We recommend that everyone eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine receives it.
Health and Safety

More than ever, health and safety continues to be the number one priority at Tamarack Camps.

  • As in typical years, Camp Kennedy and Camp Olmsted will have 24 hour access to the Director of Health and the medical team at the clinic at Camp Maas.
  • The medical team will be on call all summer and will direct the staff if a camper needs to go to urgent care, etc.
  • All staff will be certified as Wilderness First Responders.

Important examples to note:

  • If a camper/staff has a positive COVID-19 test, they may need to be picked up from camp.
  • If a camper/staff has a fever, they will quarantine away from the group. A PCR test will be performed at a local facility. The camper/staff can return to the group after a negative test and symptom free, based on medical guidance.
Communication with Parents

Parent communication is an integral part of the medical team's mission at camp. Routine care will be done without further communication (for example, if your camper has a headache and they need a dose of a pain reliever). You will receive a call from a medical team member if:

  • Your camper needs to be placed on antibiotics.
  • If your child has a positive COVID-19 test.
  • Your camper had a COVID-19 test outside the normal testing schedule.
  • We need to take your camper out for medical reasons such as x-rays or ER visits.
  • If your child receives an immobilizer such as a sling, brace, etc.
  • If someone in your camper's pod has tested positive and your camper has gone into quarantine and had an additional PCR test.
Medication Distribution

The medical team will continue to dispense scheduled medications as directed. ALL medications, including over-the-counter (OTC), must be ordered through AMAC pharmacies and entered into CampDoc, our electronic health record. Directions on how to get a prescription sent in will be found in the medication section in CampDoc as well as on our website. No medications can be brought into camp unless approved by the Director of Health.

  • If a camper presents to the clinic and needs routine care, the clinic will distribute routine over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol and ibuprofen.
  • We will not accept new medications that are given to us on the first day of camp.
  • Further directions to follow in CampDoc.