This document has been compiled by YMCA Camp Bernie with the assistance of the New Jersey Department of Health and Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. in conjunction with the YMCA of the USA and the American Camp Association. As the current coronavirus health crisis is an ongoing, rapidly changing situation, YMCA Camp Bernie will continue to monitor publicly available information.
Our 2020 COVID-19 procedures include implementation of the following steps:
A May 8, 2020, review of recently published medical and scientific papers concluded that: “COVID-19 appears to affect children less often, and with less severity, including frequent asymptomatic or subclinical infection. There is evidence of critical illness, but it is rare. The role of children in transmission is unclear, but consistent evidence is demonstrating a lower likelihood of acquiring infection, and lower rates of children bringing infections into households.”1
Considerable attention is being focused by the medical community on the health of children experiencing a condition now termed as pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, a rare disease affecting children that is potentially related to COVID-19. Government announcements, media accounts, and the medical literature are being tracked to provide current advice on this development.
Coronavirus, COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily through person-to-person contact. COVID-19 can lead to severe illness, personal injury, permanent disability, and death. Even with the most stringent precautionary measures in place, participating in YMCA Camp Bernie programs could increase the risk of contracting COVID-19. YMCA Camp Bernie in no way warrants that COVID-19 infection will not occur through participation in camp programs.
1) DTFM COVID-19 Evidence Review, May 8, 2020, https://dontforgetthebubbles.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/COVID-data-8th-May.pdf)
The YMCA Camp Bernie Executive Director and Camp Bernie staff will be communicating regularly with students and their guardians to address questions and concerns relating to COVID-19, including:
Prior to the programs:
During the programs:
In the case of a confirmed or suspected case:
Communication may be in the form of letters, emails, website notifications, and social media.
The Health Officer will make all healthcare decisions for YMCA Camp Bernie. If any COVID symptoms arise in a participant or staff, they are to be examined immediately by the Health Officer.
Follow up this process with full cleaning/sanitizing of any potentially exposed facilities/equipment (including fogging of buildings).
Determine refund/credit considerations for infected/impacted participants based on the specific situation.
Check-in guidelines will be distributed to parents prior to the start of the program to clearly outline expectations.
Check-in staff greeting cars will be wearing masks and gloves. Parents will not handle pens.
Program check-in will be conducted from vehicles. New participants will be given a decal to put in the front window. This will identify cars so counselors know where to direct cars & will serve as pick-up authorization for the end of the day. If the card cannot be produced at check-out, staff will ask for a photo ID.
Upon arrival, each participant will be asked COVID-19 screening questions:
Cars will be sent to the appropriate drop-off locations. At these locations participants will exit vehicles, staff will meet participants, take temperatures, and ask a series of screening questions. If they pass the screening, participants will be given a squirt of hand sanitizer and sent to their cohort's meeting area. Participants will not be permitted to visit other tables or friends in other cohorts, except at a safe distance, though this rule may be lifted as New Jersey moves through the stages of opening and cohort sizes are increased.
Belongings will be stored in these locations, separated from each other.
Staff will be checked in each morning by the Program Director. They will be asked the COVID-19 screening questions and their temperature will be taken.
Anyone failing the COVID-19 screening, either by answering yes to one of the questions, or having a temperature reading above 100.4º will not be admitted to camp. Participants and staff must be symptom-free for 48 hours, cleared by a doctor, or have a negative test result in order to return.
If a guardian must exit their vehicle for any reason a face mask is required, particularly if entering the Main Office or other camp building.
In preparation for the start of the fall season, the YMCA Camp Bernie Maintenance Team will perform an operational inventory of all camp buildings that may occupy persons during the programs, including checks of:
During program operation, ventilation in camp buildings will be maximized by keeping windows open and fans positioned to optimize air flow.
Waterfront activities such as canoeing, kayaking, and raft building may be included in programs. There is no current evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in a waterfront. For natural waterfronts, it is best to follow proper physical distancing and good hygiene practices as outlined in other sections of this guide.
YMCA Camp Bernie will not be providing food service as part of the programs this fall. Participants who will be on-site during lunch hours will need to bring a packed lunch. Participants are also welcome to bring snacks.
The Trading Post, a camp store for snacks & souvenirs, may be opened upon request, and will operate without participants entering. A designated staff member will be responsible for managing the Trading Post, handling items/supplies, and processing payments. All snacks/drinks will be prepackaged. They will wear a face mask, wash hands & wear gloves when handling items that will be purchased by students. As New Jersey enters later phases of reopening it may be decided that participants may enter the Trading Post in their cohorts. Commonly touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected between cohorts. participants will be discouraged from handling items and staff will limit displays to keep most items out of reach. Participants will sanitize hands before entering & when leaving.
Cleaning & disinfecting procedures will be utilized to reduce transmission risk to participants and staff. All staff will be trained on proper procedures for cleaning and disinfecting various supplies & equipment used by students.
Plastic Picnic Tables/Plastic Surfaces
Wooden Picnic Tables
Program area equipment/supplies will be cleaned & disinfected as directed by CDC and manufacturer guidelines. They include the use of soap & water and disinfectant wipes & sprays.
All activities will be held outside unless there is inclement weather. Student cohorts will have a designated space separate from other cohorts. Cohorts will be spread out at least 6 ft apart from each other. Most activities will take place at or around this base location, as well as on trails or various nature spots. Any instructors that work with multiple groups are required to wear cloth face masks. Posters demonstrating proper coughing techniques, hand washing, etc. will be displayed throughout the camp. Students will be asked, at a minimum, to sanitize their hands before & after all activities.
Archery: Bows, arrows, targets & arm guards will be cleaned & disinfected between users, after each class. Students will use the same equipment for the duration of the class.
Arts & Crafts: Students are welcome to bring their own basic supplies (pack of crayons, markers, etc.). Supplies will be provided and cleaned & disinfected between users.
Bikes: Bikes, helmets, knee & elbow pads will be cleaned & disinfected between users. Students will use the same equipment for the duration of the class.
Canoeing: PFDs, paddles, seats & commonly touched surface areas will be cleaned & disinfected between users with hot soapy water and disinfectant.
Challenge Courses: Challenge elements will be assessed on an individual basis. Equipment will be cleaned with a combination of hot soapy water and disinfectant between users & classes.
Nature: Classes may take place in a cohort’s base location or various nature spots. Tables will be cleaned and disinfected following use.
Sports: Younger aged students will be practicing sports skills with individual equipment. Older students will play games in their cohorts that limit physical closeness. All equipment needing to be cleaned & disinfected will be put in a designated location. At the end of the day, this equipment will all be cleaned & disinfected.
Rainy Days: Indoor locations are specified for each cohort for inclement weather. These locations allow for social distancing between cohorts. Cohorts will participate in individual activities or group games that allow for social distancing (trivia, name that tune, etc.).
Individual Cohort Activities: Activities will be determined based on age group. Activities may include the above-listed camp activities as well as group games, scavenger hunts, board games, dances, hikes and more, based on the preferences of the group. Activities will incorporate social-emotional development and teamwork.
Cohorts at Camp
As stated in the WHO/CDC guidance, in the current phase of reopening, groups of cohorts of up to 50 persons (students and staff) can assemble for discrete activities. Keeping cohorts separate by six feet from other cohorts serves to prevent these groups from mixing and optimizing infection prevention and control.
At YMCA Camp Bernie, our cohorts will consist of 1 staff and a maximum of 15 students.
Using the cohort strategy, contact tracing can be undertaken promptly by trained professionals in coordination with local and state health resources, with isolation and surveillance implemented in short order. The combination of NPIs and the cohort approach can support the development of effective communicable disease management plans for the 2020 Advantage Care program.
The following outlines how we will be grouping students to reduce the possible spread of infections and to allow for more rapid identification of suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
Primary care providers are in the best position to make a professional judgment based upon an individual’s health status and their suitability for the camp environment at this time. If you are concerned about your child’s health condition(s) and level of risk, please consult your primary care physician.
It is the YMCA’s goal to provide a healthy, safe, and secure environment for all participants. Children who attend the program are expected to follow the behavior guidelines based on the four core values and to interact appropriately in a group setting.
At times students may behave inappropriately. Some of their behaviors may even be injurious to themselves or others. In order to preserve the safety of the children, these behaviors must be controlled. Due to the increased concern over the spread of COVID-19 this fall, behavior issues that put the camp community at greater risk will not be tolerated.
The YMCA reserves the right to suspend any child from the program if necessary. If your child continuously displays inappropriate behavior (i.e. fighting, stealing, abusive language, running away, germ aggression, etc.) she/he may be dismissed from participating in the Advantage Care program indefinitely.
YMCA Camp Bernie is working with local school districts to provide transportation between camp and the schools. Currently, only Lebanon Township Schools will be providing bus transportation. Below are the bus transportation guidelines.
Written notice must be received at least 1 week prior for any enrollment changes or program withdrawal. No refunds will be given after the 1st of the month.
*Please keep in mind that YMCA Camp Bernie is a non-profit charitable organization, and we ask that, in the case of cancelation, you please consider making a donation to our youth-serving and community-building organization.
The Ridgewood Y offers programs and community connections that positively impact lives through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, building spirit, mind and body for all.
The Ridgewood Y is a nonprofit charitable organization that serves youth, adults, and families founded on Christian principles and committed to strengthening our Northern New Jersey and Camp Bernie communities since 1902, as part of a worldwide YMCA.