A note from the Directors regarding 2021
While we are still in the throes of the pandemic, we do see the light ahead— hopefully coming early this Spring— and we expect by June to be living in a very different “world.” Our passion is child development. Children benefit greatly from camp. With thoughtful planning and the quantity and quality of our long-time key staff and medical personnel, we are undeterred in our mission to provide a SAFE summer for our campers filled with fun, memories and growth which they need and deserve.
We will operate camp this summer with the best-proven practices. Our approach has long been to be well-organized, yet “quick and nimble” and that flexibility (and our camp families’ as well) will surely be called on.
Most importantly, we are going to open this summer for our 104th season and we can’t wait!
As we are sure you’ll understand, our Covid-related policies are subject to change as additional information emerges and further considerations are given.
Richie, Max, and Andy
SUMMER 2021 UPDATES
A Modified Bubble …What Does That Mean? It’s likely we’ll operate in a modified bubble this summer. This will allow us to limit who comes in and out of camp. We’ll run an incredibly fun program and camp will feel very much the same. The primary difference: there’ll likely be no out-of-camp day trips other than hikes and rafting trips. Additionally, staff time-off will likely be limited to “staff only” areas on our campus. These and other measures will allow us to be protected and safe. Even in a modified bubble, camp will very much feel “normal.” Instruction, lake activities, Hobbies, games, Leagues, and other special events and traditions (including of course Green & Gray and Song Contest) will happen as always! While overnight trips (other than campouts) are very unlikely and trip days limited, we are still hopeful that we can have some appropriately distanced events such as brother-sister-cousin visiting and socials and intercamp games with nearby camps— assuming we agree on health and safety protocols.
What About Masks? Campers and staff will wear masks while traveling to camp, and in all likelihood for at least the first five days after arrival. We’ll then “de-mask” once we have tested everyone at least three times and are “in the clear” (which we expect to be by Day 5 or 6). Masks will likely still be required in certain scenarios, such as in the Clubhouse with more than one Group, or when in line for food inside the dining room.
Summer Dates and Visiting Day: While we are expecting no change to our summer dates (June 26 – August 13), Visiting Day plans are yet to be finalized. We will, of course, update you as soon as the decision has been made, but we are considering the possibility of hosting Visiting Day for our younger campers (Junior Bs and below) and first-year campers only, or having no Visiting Day at all this summer.
Travel To Camp: Plans for travel to camp have yet to be finalized. We will, of course, let you know once a final decision is made, but one option we are currently considering is having only one bus stop in Westchester, with separate buses based on Group, and staggered boarding and departure times. As we have done in prior summers, we do plan to make airport pickups (in accordance with NY State travel guidance and medical screening requirements).
Our Medical Team: We are very fortunate that BLC’s Medical Director, pediatrician Beth Bernstein, M.D., Ph.D., works with us year round, and continues to tirelessly aid and advise us on plans and preparations for this summer. Additionally, Head Nurse Stephanie Bland has been attending numerous (Zoom) medical conferences keeping abreast of evolving best practices.
This summer, our Health Center will be staffed regularly with two or more doctors and approximately 10 nurses on rotation for the summer. Dr. Bernstein will be on-site every day.
Pre-Camp Compliance: We are asking our BLC parents to play an important role in our preventive measures. We will ask all our campers and families to be overly cautious about all contacts outside the home and school in June, especially the ten days preceding camp.
In addition to a pre-camp testing requirement, all families will be asked to complete a documented clinical pre-screening prior to camp, which will include a daily temperature and Covid-19 symptoms check and a contact disclosure.
What Testing Might Look Like This Summer: There will be more specific information to share at a later date, but it’s likely we will require all campers to complete at least three tests: one about five days prior to camp, one on opening day, and one about five days after arrival.
While we continue to research and evaluate the best testing options available to us before making specific and final decisions on this protocol, we are fortunate that Brant Lake Camp has a CLIA Licensing Number and our Health Center is FDA certified as a CLIA-Waived Clinical Lab.
What If My Child Tests Positive For COVID-19 Just Before Camp Or At Camp? Proof of a negative test result for Covid-19 will be required for a camper to come to camp. If a camper tests positive from the pre-camp test, they will be unable to come to camp until they quarantine for the CDC and NY State required time-frame (currently 7-10 days), and are subsequently cleared by their home physician and BLC Medical Director.
If a camper tests positive at camp, they would be isolated and need to be picked up from camp. Because of the nature of contagion and the duration of the quarantine period – even though children who are tested and confirmed positive may “feel fine” – it would be difficult, at best, for a child to be fully isolated at camp for the required time period.
What Happens If There Is A Positive Case Of COVID In My Child’s Bunk? If there is a positive case at camp, campers and counselors in that bunk would move into a “Pod Camp” and would be screened and tested regularly. Those campers and staff would quarantine and participate in activities and meals as its own group for the required timeframe for “close contacts” (currently 10 days). Contact tracing will help identify others who may need to be tested
The First Six Days Of Camp: It is likely that we will ask everyone to wear masks during the first 5-6 days of camp. Fortunately, BLC has always run our program with smaller “mini-camps,” including different wake-up times, meal times, counselors (including “specialty” counselors/instructors), and facilities. We have three dining rooms and multiple ball fields, courts, and other sports facilities, spread across our large campus. All of this means that we will be able to vigilantly maintain cohorts during these first few days of camp without significant deviation from the spirit and philosophy of our program.
Indoor Spaces: There will be limited use of indoor facilities—especially during the first few days of camp. We will take maximum advantage of our open-air, covered “Big Top” facility, as well as our many covered porches (including Arts & Crafts) during inclement weather. Masks are likely to be required while in indoor facilities other than one’s bunk, e.g., in the Clubhouse and when in line for food in the Dining Room.
All buildings, including bunks, will have windows fully open at all times (they have screens) – even on cold nights. Fans will be strategically placed in all indoor facilities, including every bunk, to maximize general ventilation. HEPA filters will be installed in Health Center air conditioning units.
Dining At Camp: As always, we will eat meals in shifts by Division, which allows us to spread out. Meals will take place outdoors as much as possible. We have purchased additional tents to allow for outdoor meals even in inclement weather.
Food will be served to each camper and counselor at the food-service station. All food and beverages will be served by staff members wearing masks and gloves, with a plexiglass partition between the food/server and campers/counselors. It is likely we will require facemasks to be worn while in line and at the food-service station inside the dining room.
What’s Next? Our next update will be in mid-March.
We cherish our relationship with our camp families and are humbled by the trust placed in us. We routinely assess our procedures and protocols and will continue to make whatever adaptations necessary to ensure that we are able to keep your boys healthy and safe. We are grateful for the support of our BLC families — past, present, and future — and look forward to a fantastic summer.
The entire Brant Lake Camp family needs camp more than ever, and we can’t wait to hear the sounds of unbridled laughter, a buzzer beater on center court, a buddy check at the lake, and the alma mater being sung by all of us together — the way it should be.