Keeping campers and staff safe and, at the same time, running normal camps remain the twin goals of the camp team for 2021. We have said we would modify our safety protocols for COVID if things changed in the country, and today we’re making a number of changes. The virus is not gone, and a major part of our plan is to endeavor to keep anyone from bringing the virus to camp to spread to others. Based on recently posted updates and scientific studies, we are expanding the ways applicants can assure us they don’t have the virus when they arrive.

Here are the details of those changes, which will be incorporated into our full document. Please note that all other parts of that document are still valid and need to be followed, but these changes should make things easier.

Applicants can fulfill the Pre-Camp COVID-19 Testing requirement by a negative PCR test result or by any of the following three ways (all of which are now approved by the CDC):

  1. Proof of a negative result from a rapid antigen test processed in a lab will be accepted. At-home tests are not yet considered to be accurate enough.
  2. Proof of full vaccination (at least two weeks after having received the final vaccine dose) will be accepted in lieu of a COVID test. A digital copy of your vaccination card must be emailed to the camp director at least two weeks before camp starts.
  3. Proof of recent recovery from COVID-19 will be accepted in lieu of a COVID test. For this, you must provide proof of a positive test for COVID, dated at least 14 days but no more than eight months before the start of camp—and you must be symptom-free before coming to camp.[1]
    • This requires a detailed explanation, so please read the rest of this section carefully. There was uncertainty for a while about how long antibodies provide protection like the vaccines (which essentially make the body create antibodies). A recent scientific article on the National Institutes of Health website (part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) concludes that antibody levels “remained fairly stable over time, declining only modestly at 6 to 8 months after infection.” The CDC website now says that reinfection, while possible, is rare—just as “breakthrough” cases of fully vaccinated people getting the virus are rare. However, please note, we need documentation, and there are some strict parameters. Some people just assume they have had COVID based on some symptoms, but never got a positive test result. Out of concern for the safety of the rest of the campers and staff, we cannot accept that scenario, not even if someone takes an antibody test. (Antibody tests are not accepted by airlines.)

If you do not have proof under points 2 or 3 and are concerned about the cost of a PCR or rapid antigen test, please note that in almost all areas there is some free testing available—either through one of the drugstore chains (Walgreens, CVS, etc.) or through your medical insurance company. You just have to search and be persistent in seeking them out. If you need help with ideas, please call the director of the camp you or your child want to attend for assistance.


[1] The CDC says most people are only infectious for 10 days, though adults with severe to critical illness are likely to be infectious no longer than 20 days, so a positive test well before camp should be sufficient—as long as the person is symptom-free by the time of camp. The NIH article says antibodies are still normally effective at up to 6-8 months.