COVID-19 UPDATE

Night Eagle Will Be Open This Summer!

A Letter to Our Night Eagle Family

June 4, 2020

We hope this message finds you and your family safe and well. 

 

Waiting for the state of Vermont to give summer camps the go ahead to open has been a long process, and we want to thank you for your patience and understanding, and for the support you have given during this long process. 

 

While we are excited to be one of only two boys’ camps in Vermont that will be open this summer, one of our priorities has always been to do whatever is necessary to protect the health and safety of our campers and staff.

 

Nurse Trudy, Summer Bear (EMT), and I have been hard at work the past two weeks adapting the State of Vermont’s Reopening Guidelines to Night Eagle and are adhering strictly to the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations. As a matter of fact, we have learned that many of the CDC’s current recommendations for prevention of Corvid-19 have always been part of our standard operating procedures at Night Eagle:

  • We wash our hands regularly before all meals and after using the Maxwell Houses.

  • We maintain the integrity of our community by not allowing visitors during the summer.

  • We close and lock our camp gate to deter people from wandering into camp uninvited.

  • We eat balanced meals designed by a certified dietician and we get plenty of exercise and sleep.

  • We clean and disinfect the food shelter, counters, and serving tables before and after meals.

  • We have everything in camp, including our water source, inspected each summer by an official from the Vermont Department of Health who consistently scores us in the 90’s.

  • Our staff arrives a week before the campers to learn how to be great counselors.

 

So how will Night Eagle be different this summer? 

  • We have a Communicable Disease Plan in place based on informa-tion from the CDC, the ACA/YMCA Guidelines for Summer Camps, and the State of Vermont Department of Health Guidelines for Re-opening Summer Camps.

  • Prior to Staff Week, all counselors are required to complete the online Health and Safety Training developed by Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Agency to inform them of the safety measures necessary to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic 

  • During staff week, the staff will be trained on what they need to do to prepare the COVID-19. We will emphasize good hand washing and cough etiquette during Staff Training and teach symptoms of illness and methods of transmission.

  • Campers and staff will have to quarantine at home before camp opens. The three options of quarantining can be found in the “Documents” section of our website.

  • Parents will submit a pre-camp screening form when campers arrive.

  • Campers will be met at the front gate when they arrive, be screened by an EMT, and walk into camp with the counselors; however, parents and other family members will not be allowed to walk in with them this summer. Once campers arrive in camp, Nurse Trudy will do a complete screening.

  • We will have disinfectant in the Maxwell Houses, in the food shelter, in the tipis, and on the serving table when meals are not being served.

  • One, Two, and Three-week campers will arrive together and depart when their session is over. Counselors will walk with them to the front gate to meet their parents.

  • Social distancing will be in effect, but that won’t be difficult on 140 acres. 

  • This year, in addition to Nurse Trudy, we will have two EMT’s on staff.

 

There will be other changes, but we hope that your sons will be having so much fun that they won’t even notice them!

 

We know that Night Eagle plays a vital role in the lives of your sons, and we are thankful that you allow us to be part of their growth. Now more than ever, we remain committed to supporting you and your family because we feel that summer camp has never been more important than it will be this summer. Boys need a break from technology, a refuge to escape the worries of the outside world, and a chance to play in the woods among friends as they deeply connect with Nature. 

 

We hope your son can join us as we strive to provide the kind of experience that boys desperately need and deserve!

Stay Safe and Think Summer!

Bruce

May 29, 2020

Today in his noon press conference Governor Scott announced the guidelines that summer camps would have to follow in order to open. We have been working hard at Night Eagle and already have our COVID-19 Protocol in place.

We will continue to offer all eight sessions (1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 weeks). The only difference this summer is that the 1, 2, and 3 week sessions begin together. The first three-week session begins on June 28, and the second three-week session begins on July 19.

I will  post a more in-depth update this coming Sunday. For now, if you live outside of Vermont and are considering sending your son to Night Eagle, you need to know the following:

 

All out-of-state staff and out-of-state campers must complete one of the following quarantine protocols in order to attend an overnight summer camp in Vermont.:

14 DAYS AT HOME: Campers self-quarantine at home for 14 days before traveling to Vermont, provided they come directly to camp without making any stops along the way that could potentially expose them to the virus (This option is not available to campers who fly to Vermont.)

7 DAYS AT HOME + NEGATIVE TEST RESULT: Campers are “quarantined” for 7 days at home. Prior to departing for camp, the parents will arrange for their son to take a test for COVID-19 using a test that’s recognized by the State of Vermont and remain quarantined while they await the result. Timing is arranged so that they depart for camp within 24 hours of receiving a negative test result, and they come directly to camp without making any stops along the way that could potentially expose them to the virus. (This option is not available to campers who fly to Vermont.)

 

7 DAYS AT HOME + NEGATIVE TEST RESULT: Campers are “quarantined” for 7 days at home, and then parents will arrange for their son to take a test for COVID-19 using a test recognized by the State of Vermont. If test results are negative, campers should take a one-way flight to Vermont. The campers must wear masks in public. At camp they will be quarantined for 7 days with their pod. If they show no symptoms of COVID after one week in camp, they will be permitted to mix with other campers outside of their pod.

 

Campers who are living with family or friends in Vermont can self-quarantine in Vermont for 14 days and come directly to camp without making any stops along the way that could potentially expose them to the virus.

 

NOTE: Families must exercise extreme caution when bringing campers to camp:

 

1) No more than one family member may travel with the camper;

2) No overnight accommodations will be available to families dropping campers off;

3) Families will drop off at the front gate of camp without entering the camp facility;

4) Campers and staff will practice physical distancing.

 

Stay Safe and Think Summer!

Bruce

May 25, 2020

In March the ACA and the YMCA joined to hire Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. to put together CORVID-19 guidelines for summer camps. On Monday, May18, 2020, EH&E finally released its 82 page Field Guide for Camps On Implementation of CDC Guidance.

 

In addition to consulting with medical professionals and other camp directors, we have been using the above document, as well as the CDC Guide for Camps, the CDC Camp Opening Decision Tool Checklist, the Restarting Overnight Summer Camps in Maine COVID-19 Prevention Checklist, and the Vermont Resident Camp Re-Opening Plan (3rd Draft Proposal) to put together Night Eagle’s COVID-19 Protocol while we wait to hear from the governor.

 

After reading and rereading the above documents, I was pleased to see that many of the things that the documents recommend don’t pertain to Night Eagle, many are already done at camp, and the remaining can certainly be done with a little planning and help from parents. Because of our low camper numbers, we can adapt to change fairly easily without significantly altering our program; because of our belief in simplicity, we don’t have to deal with a lot of “stuff” in camp; and because we are outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, we have no problem with social distancing in an environment that is not virus friendly!

 

That being said, we have had to make one fairly major concession this summer because of the virus. As you know, Night Eagle basically offers two three-week sessions, and boys can choose to attend for one, two, three, or six weeks. Two, three, and six-week campers arrive together. At the end of two weeks, the two-week campers leave and the one-week campers arrive the next day.  For safety purposes we have decided that one-week, two-week, three-week, and six-week campers must all arrive together this summer. This will prevent any camper from coming into the group from outside of camp at the end of one or two weeks and possibly infecting someone in camp. The down side of this change, however, is that the number of one-week campers we can accept may have to be limited because a one-week camper (who cannot be replaced when he leaves camp after one week) will prevent a two or three-week camper from attending. 

 

Because many camps across the nation are not going to open this summer, we anticipate families will be contacting us over the next few weeks to inquire about openings, and two or three-week applicants will have to take priority over one-week applicants. We will do our best to accommodate everyone, but we are playing a numbers game and do have a maximum of 32-36 campers per session that we need to stay under.

 

I hope to finish writing the Night Eagle’s Virus Protocol in the next day or two, and now that the governor has had the EH&E document for over a week, I expect him to be issuing his expectations this week for reopening summer camps. As soon as I know something, I will post it on the website.

 

Stay Safe and Think Summer!

Bruce

 

May 17, 2020

The third draft for re-opening camps in Vermont has been submitted to the Deputy Secretary of the State Department of Commerce. There are still a few questions to be resolved, but nothing that would prevent Night Eagle from opening.

The Vermont Camp Association is working with Vermont state officials and the American Camp Association to produce a guidebook that will summarize and define best practices and recommendations for day camps and overnight camps with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. Once that is completed and released the governor will determine what the final guidelines for operating a summer camp in Vermont will entail. Then it will be up to individual camps to decide whether they can comply with the regulations and operate this summer.

At this point we feel that it will be possible for Night Eagle to operate. I have been working closely with Nurse Trudy and Summer Bear (EMT) creating the protocol for dealing with COVID-19 at Night Eagle. One thing that I can tell you is that if your son is coming to camp this summer, he will have to be quarantined in your home for one or two weeks (to be determined), and you will have to screen him daily for symptoms of COVID.

So far, six of the ten boys’ camps in Vermont have announced that they will not be open this summer. Of the remaining four, Night Eagle is, by far, the smallest and most primitive, and that should make our job preventing the spread of the virus much easier. Many large camps have huge dining halls, cabins with bathrooms, lots of shared athletic equip-ment, gatherings for movies and dances with sister camps, and a hun-dred or more campers and staff to manage. We have the food shelter, Hocoka, the crafts shed, the clearing, and lots of fresh mountain air to breathe, wetlands to romp through, and woods to play in! We also have a maximum of 32 campers on site at any one time during the summer.

Once the governor has made his final decision and we feel that we can operate camp safely, I hope to begin actively recruiting campers again to fill any empty slots we may have for the summer. So now is the time to send in your son’s application and deposit for the coming summer to ensure that he has his spot. If for some reason camp is not able to open, all paid fees will be returned.

I hope that my next update will be to let you know exactly what the governor's plan for re-opening camps will entail, and barring any unforeseen problems, I will confirm that Night Eagle will be open this summer. At that time I will also let you know exactly what we will be doing to provide the safest environment at Night Eagle for our campers and our staff and exactly what you will need to do before bringing your son to camp. In the interim, we will continue to plan for the summer!

Stay safe and "Think Summer!"

Bruce