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Camp SAY: A Summer Camp for Young People who Stutter


COVID Response Plan - Summer 2021

Camp SAY COVID Response Plan 

Following a year of uncertainty and change, our camp team has seen the growing need and has felt a tremendous desire to offer Camp SAY in person for the 2021 season. We have spent many months thinking and planning for the safest possible experience for our campers, while continuing to consult with medical professionals and observe the ever-changing climate of health and safety. 

We have put together a COVID Response Plan that we hope will give you an idea of what to expect for camp this summer and we will share more of the finer details with you as we get closer. Our plan will continue to evolve and grow over the coming months as we learn more and see more changes in COVID infection rates and more access to vaccinations. Camp SAY is committed to providing a camp experience that is as safe as possible, and has the same core values of kindness and community that make us who we are! 


This summer Camp SAY will operate in a bubble, meaning we are working to establish a group of healthy campers and staff before arriving at camp and will be testing on arrival day to help ensure that no one has COVID.  


This summer we will be leaning on camper families to join us in partnership, especially during the weeks leading up to camp. We are asking that campers and their households quarantine for 14 days preceding camper arrival on Monday, August 2nd, 2021, by not scheduling any non-essential activities or participating in gatherings that would potentially risk unnecessary exposure to COVID. Communication between families and Camp SAY is most important in navigating this pre-camp preparation time. If these quarantine requests prove to be a hardship, we can work together to find safe solutions. (CDC Quarantine Recommendations

We require that campers have a negative COVID test administered 7 to 10 days before arrival day (Monday, August 2nd) to allow time for us to get results and confirm the final attendance of campers. The test can be either a rapid test, or a Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction test (RT-PCR). If possible, the preference would be the RT-PCR test, but if that’s not available, the rapid test is acceptable. In addition to sharing the camper COVID test results, families will be expected to complete daily at-home screenings (temperature checks, symptom assessments, etc.) for 14 days prior to camper arrival. Completed COVID tests and screenings will be reviewed by our Health Care Team ahead of arrival day. 


For families dropping off and picking up campers by car, we are asking that only one adult family member accompany campers whenever possible. We will not be providing any families with arrival day tours of camp. We will still be offering a bus pick-up/drop-off service from NYC and Newark Airport with social distancing and mandatory mask measures in place. We will contact families with campers flying to camp individually about air travel to and from the New York area.  


This summer we are implementing a specific and evolving testing plan in conjunction with the latest scientific practices and recommended guidance from our health professional partnerships.

All campers will be expected to have a pre-camp local COVID test 7-10 days before arrival day.

During camp, there will be 2 rounds of RT-PCR COVID testing: The first test will be on arrival day and the second test will be on day 6 of camp. We have chosen the RT-PCR test as it is the most accurate test available, and we aim to have all test results back within a 24-hour period of them being administered. We will also make use of rapid antigen tests as needed. The costs of all COVID testing at camp will be covered by Camp SAY. (RT-PCR Accuracy Findings


Pods are social bubbles formed by individuals (usually of about 10 people) who agree to follow the same set of rules, allowing them to relax the use of masks within the group. During the first week of camp, campers and staff will remain in pods according to their cabin groups or departments for meals and programming throughout the day. Camper cabin groups will still have plenty of time to be outside and enjoy a variety of awesome Camp SAY activities to explore with their group, while maintaining social distance from other pods while moving around camp. Once we have the “all clear” (i.e. no positive tests) from our second round of test results we will plan to expand the size of the pods (according to age groups) and we will allow masks to be optional. 


Face masks will be mandatory for all staff and campers at the start of camp and for the first 24 hours campers will wear masks when in their cabins as well (with the exception of sleeping). When we receive the “all clear” (i.e., no positive tests) from arrival day testing, each pod (or assigned group of campers) will not be required to wear masks in their cabins and while participating in their private group activities. Our goal is that after receiving the “all clear” from our second round of testing, masking will be optional for campers and the majority of staff, with certain exceptions (i.e., when inside non-cabin communal buildings). Masks will not be required at meals – social distancing, and outdoor eating (when possible) will be implemented to minimize risk at these times.


We have been fortunate to be able to consult with wonderful medical professionals in our world about additional precautions and procedures we can take for camp this year. Alongside testing and mask-wearing, we will have outdoor programming whenever possible, handwashing/hand-sanitizing stations, touchless water dispensers around camp, daily camper temperature checks, additional deep cleans, and sanitization of cabins, cabin-bathrooms, and communal areas after every use. Individual cabins will be the default restroom for campers whenever possible, and all public restrooms will be single occupancy.  


In keeping with our bubble approach to camp, we will not be able to have a Visiting Day in-person this year. As we continue to develop our plans we will look to posting our Confident Voices shares online for family and friends to enjoy! 


If a camper tests positive for COVID in the weeks leading up to camp, unfortunately they will not be able to attend this season. Because the length of camp is 2 weeks, we would not be able to allow for the proper quarantine period campers would need and still host them at camp. Every camper must have a negative COVID test that was administered 7 to 10 days prior to camp arrival day, Monday, August 2nd. 


If a camper tests positive for COVID at camp, the first step would be to move them to our designated quarantine housing at camp, where they can be monitored by our Health Care Team. We would work to be sure that the camper was supported and still engaged in camp even through the isolation period. All camper families will be notified to keep everyone informed and immediate individual communication would happen with that camper’s family and the family of any other campers who are directly affected. The camper will be retested to ensure that results are accurate. If the results confirm a positive case, we will work with their parents/guardians to pick up their camper within 24 hours, and aim to make the transport home safe and comfortable for the camper and their family.


A camper who tests positive will be immediately isolated in our designated quarantine housing at camp, and they will be retested to ensure results are accurate. All campers in the same pod will undergo a quarantine period for 72 hours, and they will be tested and screened to ensure there are no other positive cases. All other potentially exposed campers and staff will undergo the same quarantine period. We will thoroughly clean and disinfect the pod’s entire cabin and any other areas of use. We will begin twice-daily screenings (temperature checks and symptom screening) for those in quarantine and will repeat testing 72 hours after the first test. All camper families will be notified to keep everyone informed and immediate individual communication would happen with the families of any campers who are directly affected.

Our staff knows the importance and the impact of camp on our whole community and we are so excited to provide a creative, innovative, inspirational, and FUN Camp SAY experience this year!! While this summer may have some different plans, the heart of Camp SAY remains STRONG, and we are committed to making this summer AMAZING and profound for each camper! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

Travis Robertson, Camp Director: Travis@SAY.org, 646.403.3516

Noah Cornman, Executive Director: Noah@SAY.org, 646.403.3514

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