COVID-19 Expectations + Protocols Summer 2021
The following information is designed to keep our camp families informed of how we plan to adapt and modify our program as we welcome campers back to MMR this summer. We have developed these protocols based on guidelines and best practices from the CDC, California Department of Public Health (CDPH), American Camp Association (ACA), and our local health authorities. While we strive to communicate the most accurate information, please note that some protocols and policies may change as new information and guidelines emerge.
We are thrilled to welcome the MMR camp family back together this summer. And while COVID-19 has made operating camp much more challenging, we are ready to offer the connection, exploration, growth, and unplugged atmosphere our campers need in the safest and healthiest way possible.
While people within our camp family (campers, staff, and parents) may have different opinions about specific COVID-19 responses and procedures, we can all agree that our children need camp more than ever this summer. After a long year spent on screens and, for many of our campers, not with friends or outdoors, this summer will be an amazing time of getting back in touch with themselves and nature and connecting with others.
Our ability to operate camp successfully this summer rests on the cooperation of every member of our community abiding by our health protocols, regardless of our individual opinions about those protocols.
Mountain Meadow Ranch is well-suited for operating safely within the guidelines and expectations due to our mostly outdoor setting. Campers live in cabins that are easily ventilated due to mild summer temperatures, eat in the open air, and participate in outdoor activities. Cabins, bathrooms, and our Health Center are the only indoor facilities campers will be using this summer. We are adapting every aspect of our program – including dining, activities, and transportation – to mitigate the risk of exposure to and spread of COVID-19 while maintaining the fun and integrity of our camp program.
We are working hard to make this summer one of the best and as normal as possible under the restrictions. We will be implementing many layers of Non-Pharmacological Interventions (NPIs), to help keep our entire MMR camp family safe.
Pre-Camp COVID-19 Checklist*
*Details for each step can be found in later sections
- Review and submit all forms by June 1, 2021.
- Complete your camper’s Pre-Arrival Screening Form. This will become available within your Parent Account two weeks prior to your camper’s session and must be COMPLETED and SUBMITTED on the Saturday prior to your camper’s session.
- Review and sign the Aj Ypekanbe Commitment. This is a camp family-wide agreement to keep each other and ourselves safe this summer. You can review, sign, and submit a copy within your Parent Account.
- Plan for your camper’s pre-camp COVID-19 PCR Test.
In order to operate a safe and successful summer, we must all work together to send healthy campers to camp at the start of the session. We are asking all campers and staff to follow important health and safety measures before and during camp. The preparation for camp must include new things this year as we aim to keep the safety of our camp families a top priority. Thank you for supporting and adhering to the precautionary measures outlined below.
Pre-Camp Expectations: Staying Healthy Before Camp
As our camp family includes members from different areas, we are asking families to follow these precautions in the days leading up to camp to protect our community. A healthy camp starts at home.
- Follow all CDC guidelines for vaccinated individuals.
- Avoid any unnecessary travel in the 14 days prior to camp.
- Follow common-sense health protocols to avoid COVID exposure while traveling to camp and in the days leading up to camp. These guidelines include:
- Wear a face covering at all times when outside of your household.
- Avoid close contact with those outside of your household.
- Do not attend any large, indoor gatherings.
- Do not participate in any sports tournaments or other large outdoor gatherings.
Campers who are still in school or must attend out-of-home childcare during the week leading up to their session are required to follow masking and distancing guidelines while there and maintain family bubble expectations while not at school. Campers who are attending a different camp program that overlaps with the two-week period prior to MMR arrival must be cleared by a Director to confirm the program’s health and safety protocols and that MMR’s pre-camp requirements can still be observed.
COVID-19 Pre-Arrival Screening Form
(due the Saturday before your session begins)
This form will be available two weeks prior to your camper’s arrival at camp and must be submitted NO LATER than the SATURDAY (day before) before opening day. This is where you can submit your camper’s negative PCR test result, vaccination verification card, COVID-19 health history, and pre-camp behavior from the 14 days before the start of your child’s session. This form is REQUIRED for all campers attending camp this summer. If we do not receive this form by SATURDAY (the day before) prior to your session start, your camper will not be able to join the camp family.
(taken the Thursday before your session begins)
Any updates to our testing program will be communicated prior to your camper’s session.
Vaccinated campers (unless symptomatic) do not need to provide a PCR SARV-CoV-2 test but they must provide a copy of their vaccination verification card on the Pre-Arrival Screening form to be exempt.
All unvaccinated campers must provide results of a negative PCR SARS-CoV-2 test taken on the Thursday prior (within 72 hours) to the start of the session. Test results need to be included on the Pre-Arrival Screening form on the Saturday before your session begins. Failure to provide proof of a negative PCR test result from within 72 hours of opening day will result in campers not being admitted to camp.
Only PCR test results will be accepted. Do not submit results of any antigen-based testing; these will not be accepted and the camper will not be admitted to camp. All expenses incurred from this test will be the responsibility of the families.
All campers will be additionally screened upon arrival at MMR or the designated Reno Airport drop-off location. We anticipate additionally testing all unvaccinated campers 3 days after arrival at camp. We will also be testing and isolating campers or staff in the event they present high-risk symptoms not explained by other conditions.
Traveling by Personal Vehicle (Recommended)
Campers who are arriving by car should only travel with people from their immediate family. Further, while traveling they should follow the CDC’s travel guidance. You will be allotted a time window for dop-off. To ensure a smooth transition for all arriving camp families, please respect and honor your time. We encourage families to make use of the trip to camp and start their goodbye process early.
To protect our camp community, these are our camper drop off procedures for this summer:
- You will be greeted in the parking lot by our staff who will ask you medical screening questions and take your child’s temperature. You will then follow the signs to the designated drop-off location located in the heart of camp.
- At this time, you will have a small window of time to chat with a Director and say one last goodbye to your camper.
- All parents must wear appropriate face coverings and maintain distance during drop-off.
- To accommodate all of our campers, you will need to depart the drop-off location after your child has been screened and connected with a staff member.
- A staff member will help sanitize non-porous areas of your camper’s luggage and accompany them into camp to get settled in.
- We will not be offering tours of camp beyond the designated drop-off location and only our campers and staff are allowed on camp premises.
Traveling by MMR Shuttle
In order to minimize the risk of COVID transmission, following the guidance of the ACA, CDC, and in consultation with health officials:
- Bus seating will be assigned by cabin group, so that campers are only in close contact with people who will already be in their bubble.
- We will maintain physical distancing between bubbles on the bus.
- In order to ensure that we can maintain appropriate physical distancing on the bus, we will assign a reduced number of seats on the bus.
- To reduce risk of transmission at the bus stop, parents will not be allowed to exit their cars and intermingle with staff, other campers, or other camp families.
- Everyone on the bus will be required to wear a face covering unless they are drinking water.
- No snacking will be allowed on the bus. The trip from RNO to MMR is just over an hour. Campers and staff, after screening upon arrival to MMR and connecting with their cabin group counselors, will have the opportunity to visit the dining hall for lunch outdoors where they can eat with their cabin group, appropriately spaced from other groups.
- Your family will be assigned a specific time to arrive at the bus stop. In order to maintain the safety of our camp community, parents will not be allowed to exit the car (except for a goodbye hug). Each family will be greeted by a staff member who will ask medical screening questions, take your child’s temperature, move your luggage to the bus, and get your camper settled in and meeting friends.
- To accommodate all of our campers and safely board our buses, you will need to depart the parking lot after your child has been screened and has boarded the bus.
Traveling by Air
Campers arriving by air will follow the CDC’s travel guidance. Campers who travel to camp via a flight at the Reno Airport will need to schedule arrival/departure before or as close to 12noon as possible. Campers are required to follow all CDC recommended health guidelines, including masking, while in public places or on public transportation traveling to camp. Campers will be greeted at the airport by camp staff, screened, introduced to other campers, and board the bus (with counselors) to travel to camp.
Travelers from outside the United States will need to comply with State Department requirements for travel at the time of their trip (a comprehensive list is available here). If the test used to fly will be older than 72 hours at the time of your arrival at camp or the bus stop, you must arrange for a test in the United States to meet that requirement.
Flight recommendations from LAX, SFO, and SEA-TAC can be found in the 2021 Parent Handbook. For recommendations or assistance booking flights from other areas, don’t hesitate to contact us.
For each of our campers, their cabin group is their “household” for their time at MMR. They will live together in the same ventilated cabin, have meals together, sit together at campfires or other all-camp gatherings, and enjoy all-camp activities together. When with their group, masks and distancing will not be required.
The 2 of 3 Rule
We will be following the 2 of 3 Rule any time campers are interacting with campers and staff outside of their own cabin group.
The 2 of 3 Rule means MMR family members will meet two out of three of the following protocols:
- Be outdoors
- Wear a mask
- Be 6’ apart (3’ if between campers)
When in larger groups or areas where they are mixing with other cabin groups, campers and staff will follow the 2 of 3 Rule.
All campers and staff will be required to have a mask on hand at all times when outside of their cabin building. We recommend purchasing a mask chain or lanyard for campers to easily keep and locate their mask each day. Please refer to the 2021 Parent Handbook for mask and mask lanyard recommendations.
As mentioned in the “Cabin Group” section above, campers will not be required to wear masks when with their own group.
Unfortunately, we are not offering any out trips this summer. Fortunately, MMR is nestled at the base of a beautiful wilderness area beckoning to be explored. We hope to offer other types of “out trips” within the MMR property.
Due to smaller camp numbers, we may not offer every activity every period. However, we will offer our most popular activities that many returners know and love. To pick activities, the camp family will meet at our campfire and sit in their cabin designated locations, distanced from other cabins. Once campers leave their cabin group and join an activity group, they will be required to abide by the 2 of 3 Rule.
As always, campers will wash their hands thoroughly prior to each meal.
We are following a staggered meal arrival schedule with cabin groups assigned a meal arrival time to reduce the overall number of people entering the dining area at any given time.
While walking in and out of the dining hall for any reason campers and staff will wear masks, as when in any other indoor facility other than their cabin. Occupancy inside the dining hall will be limited and entrances and exits will be designated. While sitting down and dining with their cabin group, campers and staff will not be required to wear masks.
Most meals will be served family-style or in an adjusted buffet style. We will share more information about how dining and meals will be conducted closer to your session start.
New Medication Protocol For 2021
To free up our Health Care staff to attend to the increased health screening, testing, and treatment protocols required this summer, all camper prescription medications, as well as any over-the-counter medications or vitamins taken daily, must arrive at camp in a strip of individually packaged single doses prepared by a pharmacy of your choice. The only exceptions to this new requirement are liquid, injection, or inhaled medications. For any questions or concerns please contact our office.
For example, if the camper takes two different prescription medications in the morning, both medications must be placed in the same pharmacy labeled package for morning distribution by our Health Care staff.
Please do not send over-the-counter medications that are NOT taken daily, as these are already stocked in our Health Center. For over-the-counter medications taken daily, please have your pharmacy include those in the appropriate individual package(s) by dose if combining with prescription medication.
To help with the distancing of our cabin groups during medication distribution, cabins will be assigned a specific time to stop by the Health Center, and those times will correspond with the staggered meal arrival times and evening cabin time. You may choose any pharmacy to pre-package your camper’s medication. CVS is one of the large pharmacies that offers this service.
We will not accept dosed medicines in unlabelled pill dividers, they MUST be allocated and packaged by a pharmacy.
Daily Health Screening
Counselors will do a visual and verbal health screening as well as temperature check of each of their campers every morning prior to breakfast and will report to the Health Care staff the status of their campers’ health. Any campers with illness symptoms or health needs will be referred to the Health Care staff for assessment and treatment.
Large group events will be held outdoors and, if adequate spacing between cabin groups is not possible, masks will be worn. We will follow the 2 of 3 Rule at all times in these scenarios.
There are several ways we will be providing updates and information to parents while your camper is with us this summer. We will be using emails (be sure firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com are approved senders in your email), text messages, and calls from our Office Line at 530-310-9281 or Parent Line at 530-310-9215. Please check your email regularly before and during your camper’s stay.
See below (in the FAQ) for more details about our criteria for contacting parents.
If eligible, staff, volunteers, campers, and family members should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Ideally, wait 2 weeks after completing vaccination for COVID-19 before traveling to camp.
We are working to ensure 100% of our staff are vaccinated prior to summer and hope that many of our eligible campers are also vaccinated this summer. The more people in our camp community who are vaccinated, the less likely we are to have anyone contract the virus and be required to shorten their camp stay.
Vaccinated campers will not need to submit results of a negative PCR test prior to arrival at camp nor take the additional screening tests at camp. Furthermore, vaccinated campers will not necessarily have all of the same quarantine precautions as unvaccinated campers should someone in their cabin test positive for COVID-19 while at camp.
Visitors & Tours
In order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure, we will not be hosting any camp tours or allowing visitors (including parents and relatives of campers and staff) onto camp premises this summer. Only staff and campers who have met the pre-camp and ongoing testing or vaccine requirements will be allowed on camp premises.
We are not comfortable sending our camper to camp this summer, what is the cancellation policy?
If you are unsure or uncomfortable about sending your camper to camp this summer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you are able. We have extended our cancellation policy until June 1 meaning you have until then to cancel a receive a refund less a $200 fee. After that date you may rollover any funds paid to 2022.
How did you determine your protocols and procedures for COVID-19 at MMR this summer?
We have spent the past year reviewing, adapting, and modifying CDC, ACA, and CDPH guidance and requirements to fit our camp program. We continue to work daily to review and make updates to ensure that our program and protocols are the safest and most up-to-date possible.
What if my camper tests positive for COVID-19 on the pre-camp PCR test?
Unfortunately, your child will not be able to attend their scheduled session. Due to CDC guidelines, any positive test, even if followed shortly after with a negative test, requires a 10-day quarantine period. We will work with you to reschedule your child’s camp stay to a later session or defer enrollment to 2022.
What if my child tests positive for COVID-19 while at camp, whether as a part of camp-wide testing or individual testing following reported symptoms?
Your camper will be immediately quarantined at camp and you will be contacted to pick up your camper at camp within 12 hours. Unfortunately, due to current CDC guidelines and the length of our camp sessions, there isn’t a retesting option.
What if my child’s pre-camp COVID-19 test results are not ready before departing for camp?
We must have your camper’s negative COVID-19 test results (or verification of vaccination) prior to boarding a camp bus or being dropped off at camp.
Does my insurance cover the cost for the COVID-19 test done prior to and during my child’s camp session?
Some insurance carriers may cover testing, be sure to check with your insurance company.
If I have to pick up my child early from camp due to a COVID-19 positive test result will we receive a tuition refund?
Yes, we will provide a prorated refund starting at the time your camper is picked up from camp.
What if a camper or staff in my child’s cabin tests positive for COVID-19 at camp?
Campers who have been exposed to a camper with a positive COVID-19 result will continue with camp programming with some modifications to limit exposure to people outside their cabin group. Changes to programming will conclude after three days with confirmation of a negative test result. Monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms will continue for the remainder of the camp stay.
Are you requiring staff or your campers age 12 and older to be vaccinated?
Per CDC recommendations for summer camps, we are strongly encouraging all members of our camp community who are eligible to receive the vaccination.
What if my child has a condition that may mimic the symptoms of COVID-19?
Please update your camper’s health form to indicate their condition and the symptoms to our Health Care staff.
What if my camper is medically exempt from wearing masks?
We invite them to join us for camp in Summer 2022 when mask requirements are less likely. We, unfortunately, cannot accommodate staff or campers that are unable to wear masks as this is a requirement from the CDC in order to keep the entire camp family safe. For any further clarification on why we came to this conclusion, please feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to answer this more fully.
CDC Guidance for Operating Youth and Summer Camps During COVID-19
American Camp Association (ACA) Field Guide for Camps