Is Summer Camp Safe During COVID?

Many parents are asking if summer camp is safe during COVID as we approach another summer impacted by the pandemic. In this blog, we focus on how has Camp Winnarainbow made Summer Camp safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out our COVID-19 Safety Measures and the COVID music video Camper’s made last summer at Camp below!

How Winnarainbow adjusted to COVID-19 in 2020:
Last Spring, as we all adjusted to quarantine and life in a global pandemic, this is the question that the Camp Winnarainbow staff and board focused on. Following the American Camp Associations and CDC guidelines along with consulting a team of nurses, doctors, public health specialists, and epidemiologists, we weighed the risks and benefits of organizing Camp during COVID. What we were seeing in our community was that children and families were suffering at being isolated and stuck inside. We saw that, more than ever, our youth needed Camp Winnarainbow. So, with the guidance of our medical team and the American Camp Association, we set to work to brainstorm if and how we could redesign our program to serve our community while keeping us all safe. This year, we’re working directly with Dr. Larry Brilliant and to build a specific COVID safety models for Residential Camp.

Designing Summer Camp to keep our community safe:
With a whole bunch of safety measures, we adapted our traditional sleepaway camp format to Day Camp here in the Bay Area. Here are the top ways we created a safe camp experience during COVID. We’ll be running Camp again this summer, using all of these safety measures again and more.

Winnarainbow COVID-19 Safety Measures:

  1. Weekly COVID Testing of all campers & staff: we provided tests to everyone, every week to keep our community safe.
  2. Pod/Cohort system: We designed a system in which campers were all part of socially distanced cohorts in order to lower exposure risk.
  3. Diligent Sanitization of all equipment and spaces.
  4. Hand Washing and Hand Sanitizing has always been important at Camp, and of course is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, so we added a ton of hand washing and sanitizing stations and structured in routine hand washing into our daily program. 
  5. Masks & Social Distance: all campers and staff were always masked and socially distanced to keep us all safe.
  6. Staggered Drop Off & Pick Up: We designed a specific, socially distanced drop off & pick up system to lower exposure risk for our families.
  7. Safe Meal Time: In non-covid years, our campers eat together family style. During the pandemic, however, we adjusted meal time so that campers received their own personal meals prepared and served safely.
  8. Safe Circus Classes: We redesigned our circus & performing arts curriculum to meet social distance safety measures, while still having a ton of fun!
  9. Preparedness: While taking all of these safety precautions, we knew that there was still a risk of COVID exposure, so we made sure to have exposure and emergency plans ready just in case. (Thankfully we never needed them! But of course it’s  better to be safe and ready!)
  10. Highly Trained Staff: Camp Winnarainbow Staff always go through an intensive training every year. We added immense COVID safety training to our staff training to ensure that all staff were trained and prepared in our COVID safety policies and procedures.

Of course, in true Camp Winnarainbow style, all of these safety measures made their way into a camper created performance. Check out this music video created by the Campers and Staff of Session A 2020: