After a safe, successful and COVID-19 free summer in 2020 we are all looking forward to the Stone Mountain Adventures (SMA) Summer of 2021. Safely running an overnight summer camp in the middle of a pandemic was an incredible achievement and we did so by our vigilance, our devotion to our COVID-19 Protocols and our attention to detail. We required all campers and staff to be tested pre-camp thus creating our COVID-19 Free SMA Bubble.
We partnered with the CDC, the Pennsylvania Health Department, the American Camping Association, local healthcare professionals and an Epidemiologist from Penn State University to create a comprehensive 32 page SMA COVID-19 Protocol Document. These protocols provided a roadmap for how to navigate the complicated nuances of safely running an overnight camp during a pandemic. COVID-19 will likely be with us in some form this summer and we will be ready. The success we achieved last summer has prepared us to provide another healthy summer at SMA in Central PA. Here is an overview of our COVID-19 Protocol from 2020.
Pre-Camp COVID-19 Prevention
We required campers to take the following steps in the weeks leading up to the opening day of each 2 Week Session:
- Pre-camp 2 week
- quarantine in their family bubble
- Keep a 14 day temperature log
- Complete the SMA pre-camp Epidemic Tracking Survey
- Arrive at SMA on opening day with a recent negative COVID-19 swab test
COVID-19 Prevention on Opening and Closing Days of Camp
We significantly modified the drop-off and pick-up procedures on the opening and closing days of each session to mitigate potential contact.
COVID-19 Prevention during each session
For the most part our day-to-day camp experience was the same, with a few changes outlined below:
- We are able to run all camp activities in and out of camp that do not involve anyone entering or exiting our SMA COVID-19 free bubble. Examples of activities we can run include horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, wakeboarding and waterskiing, SUP and sailing, hiking, fishing, art studio, music studio, camping overnights, white water rafting, canoeing and traditional sports.
- Increased handwashing stations around camp and handwashing frequency
- Cleaning and Sanitation: We increased our already rigorous sanitation standards to match or exceed recommendations from health care professionals.
- Additionally we made significant changes in the following areas: Cabin Safety, Meal-Time in the Dining Hall, Camper Laundry and Staff Time Off.
COVID-19 Detection Protocols During Camp
Our promise to deliver a safe and responsible summer program while maintaining the classic Stone Mountain Adventures experience required us to take the following COVID-19 Detection Protocols:
- Daily temperature and symptom check and tracking
- Daily jelly bean test to check for loss of taste
- Campers will be encouraged to speak up if they are experiencing any
unusual symptoms at any point throughout the day.
In order to prevent a camp-wide outbreak, we have developed the following response protocols should a camper or staff present with COVID-19 symptoms.
- In the event a camper or staff exhibits COVID-19 symptoms we will contact parents immediately and then isolate the person and contact our Camp Doctor to determine if immediate testing is required.
- If testing is recommended we will test the person immediately while keeping them isolated.
- If the test is negative the person will return to camp.
- In the event there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 parents will be required to pick up their child immediately. All parents will be contacted. We will consult with our Camp Doctor to determine if we can continue the SMA program.
Stone Mountain Adventures was a closed community in 2020 for all campers and staff. That allowed us to minimize the risk of someone unknowingly being exposed to the virus outside of camp and then bringing it into camp
The above protocols were put in place to ensure the safety of our campers, their families, our summer staff, our support staff and our local community. By abiding by the protocol we were able to run a successful summer program without fear of an outbreak and were able to provide our campers a safe and memorable experience at camp.