SZARVAS CAMP & COVID-19 GUIDELINES (6 MAY, 2022)

The information surrounding COVID-19 is constantly changing and evolving, and these guidelines are subject to change in case of need between the time of publishing and the end of the sessions of summer 2022.

Every summer we take pride in creating magical memories for our Szarvas Camp community. We know that the coming summer will look and feel different from pre-pandemic summers, but as the Jewish people always took pride in their ability to adapt to evolving realities, we believe that the continuation of the Jewish overnight camp experience is a necessity more than ever. However, the success of the camp more than ever depends on each of us being committed to the guidelines set by experts and camp management.

These guidelines were developed using COVID-19 best practices published by the CDC, the ECDC and the American Camp Association (ACA), as well as learnings from other camps, schools and youth programs that have operated in the past two years. We have learned the importance of a multilayered mitigation strategy, which enabled camps to prevent any secondary spread of the COVID- 19 virus through testing and creating a more permanent environment (with minimal people coming in or out of camp). These guidelines are meant to provide Szarvas Camp families and staff with information about how we are adapting our policies and procedures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 during camp sessions. As information changes and evolves, so, too, will these guidelines to reflect current realities. 

We recognize that regardless of the level of preparedness, we cannot guarantee that COVID-19 will not be present at Szarvas Camp, but we are confident in our ability to run the camp in a safe and meaningful way. In fact, we are operating as if the virus would enter the camp. We believe that we can care for campers and staff if they do contract COVID-19, and that we can isolate and stop the virus from spreading when it does enter camp. 

These guidelines will address and share how we plan to operate safely this summer. This document includes a wide range of topics, including:

As already mentioned, these guidelines are subject to change. In case of a change, you have the right to opt-out. This means that if you already registered and paid for any of our sessions and we change these guidelines and you or your camper can no longer or will no longer comply with our regulation, you have the right to a certain refund. However, in case of attendance, all regulation needs to be followed at all times. We ask that all parents and legal guardians to review these guidelines together with campers. We strongly recommend reading our COVID-19 Guidelines in their entirety.

 

CORE ASSUMPTIONS

As we plan for the summer of 2022, we want to share our philosophy and approach for opening safely. We have two primary goals which we are working towards simultaneously: 

  1. Ensuring the health, safety, and security of our campers, staff and community 
  2. Providing a meaningful Szarvas Camp experience

The core assumptions listed below are the foundations on which our COVID-19 guidelines were created. As the situation regarding the pandemic and related guidance continue to evolve, we reserve the right to adjust these assumptions and the components of our guidelines accordingly.

  1. We can operate safely. We have learned from several sources (camps and events which operated in 2020 and 2021, the CDC, ECDC and the ACA), giving us confidence in our ability to apply a comprehensive strategy of multilayered, nonpharmaceutical interventions in order to safely operate the camp this summer. If at any time the organizers including the Educational Staff, the Medical Staff and other team members assume that we can no longer operate safely, we will not hesitate to act accordingly. 
  2. It takes a village. We rely on a deep partnership with our camp families each summer, but this summer that partnership will be more important than ever as the safety of all campers depend on our families to strictly follow these guidelines including pre-camp and post-camp requirements, including but not limited to specific pre-camp behaviors, COVID-19 testing, daily symptom and temperature monitoring, and reporting of any physical and mental health concerns.
  3. We assume that this is the best we can do. This pandemic has created multiple narratives on most layers of society. We understand that considering the past two years, the trust towards formal institutions have declined, and we also understand that many in our communities have invested considerable time and energy to become informed and do their best for their safety and the safety of their families. We accept differences of opinion and we welcome debate, however, this guideline must be followed at all times, even if you don’t agree with it. We hope that in the coming years, some or all of the pandemic-related regulations can be relaxed, but for the current year, we did our best to consult top-notch experts in and out of our communities to define our modus operandi. Following them at all times is a pre-requisite to participate or work in the camp. In case of any questions or comments, please send us an email at info@szarvas.camp 
  4. COVID-19 vaccination is a must to our campers and staff. Based on consultation with medical experts, we expect all of our campers and staff to be fully vaccinated before camp begins this summer. We accept all vaccines accepted by the WHO, ECDC & the Hungarian National Health Authorities
  5. COVID-19 will remain a public health concern during the summer. We are working closely with the Hungarian National Health authorities and we are operating under the assumption that COVID-19 will still be present during the summer in the communities we serve across the world as well as COVID-19 will be present in our camp community.
  6. Testing will be available to allow for early detection of the virus in our campers and staff. We believe that testing (both rapid antigen and PCR) and testing supplies, will be readily accessible. For campers and on-camp staff, testing will be required on the day of the arrival. There will be additional frequent screening (testing) based on the internal testing protocol of Szarvas Camp.

 

CULTURE OF COMPLIANCE 

We are prepared to reduce the risk of COVID-19, and we are prepared to respond should it impact our community. Using the international health guidelines and recommendations, we will reduce the risk of COVID-19 both entering camp and spreading through camp. Throughout these guidelines, we will share with you how they impact our plans and protocols for Summer 2022. We expect our staff and campers to comply with Szarvas Camp’s policies. Non-compliance could result in removal from camp.

 

MULTIPLE LAYERS IMPROVE SUCCESS

We operate under the assumption that each individual prevention measure has its own strengths and weaknesses, however, by layering multiple prevention measures on top of each other, the virus will have radically fewer pathways to enter and spread throughout camp. We are designing our activities and all aspects of camp to adhere to the following prevention measures:

 

PRE-CAMP EXPECTATIONS LOW RISK BEHAVIORS

All campers and staff agree to observe the following behaviors beginning 10 days prior to their arrival at camp. During this period, campers, staff, and members of their household will: 

 

COVID-19 TESTS

All campers and staff must obtain a PCR and antigen COVID-19 test on the arrival day and, following that frequently based on the Szarvas Camp internal testing protocol. All the tests will be run by (and under supervision of) our allocated medical team and are included in the participation fee.

TEMPERATURE AND SYMPTOM MONITORING

During the 10-day period before arriving at camp, all campers and staff should self-monitor for symptoms related to COVID-19 and check their temperature daily. All campers and staff will be required to be completely symptom-free – without the use of any medication – for at least 72 hours prior to their arrival.

 

VACCINES REQUIREMENT

In the summer of 2022, we cannot accept the application of non-vaccinated campers or campers whose vaccination protocol does not comply with our standards described above.

 

NONPHARMACEUTICAL INTERVENTIONS AT CAMP CLEANING AND SANITIZATION PROCEDURES AND ENHANCED HYGIENE

Door knobs, handles and other commonly touched areas will be disinfected regularly. Public bathrooms and shared spaces (e.g. dining hall) will be cleaned and sanitized multiple times per day, per ECDC and WHO recommendations and guidelines. Every space and program area that we are using around camp will also have its own spray bottle of disinfectant. Szarvas Camp uses disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19. 

All members of the Szarvas Camp community will receive instructions on hygiene measures such as cough and sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene, with the requirement to clean hands with soap and water or approved hand sanitizer before and after all activity periods, meals, and other high-touch interactions. The number of hand sanitizing stations throughout the camp will be increased to accommodate enhanced protocols.

Staff will have additional training on enhanced hygiene and sanitization procedures.

 

ENTERING & LEAVING CAMP

This summer, Szarvas Camp will operate as a closed campus, meaning once our campers and staff arrive, they will not be allowed to leave, with the following exceptions: 

All of these people will have a health screening and temperature check prior to entering camp and they will be required to wear a face mask for the duration of their time on site.

There will be no parents’ day in the Summer of 2022.

We are also mindful that campers and/or staff members may need to leave camp; e.g. to seek out additional medical care. We will carefully welcome those members back into the community, as long as a proper face covering was worn, physical distance was kept, and exposure risk was at a minimum. Additional testing might be required by the medical staff.

 

DAILY HEALTH SCREENINGS

Our staff will be trained on how to conduct daily COVID-19 screenings, and each camper will undergo a daily screening. Anyone reporting a symptom of COVID-19 will be attended by the medical staff for further evaluation. There will be COVID-19 testing (almost) every day.

 

TESTING STRATEGY

Being able to determine whether the virus is present at camp is a critical component to keeping our environment stable and free of COVID-19. Szarvas Camp’s team and medical advisors worked hard to create an internal testing protocol. Campers and staff will be tested based on this protocol regularly. All the tests will be run by (and under supervision of) our allocated medical team.

The following tests will be in use: 

NASOPHARYNGEAL (NP) PCR (testing sample is taken by nasopharyngeal swab). 

The test detects SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA by real-time RT-PCR (NAAT) technology.

Considering the clinical performance of the NP PCR, it has very high sensitivity and positive predictive value to detect COVID19, so it is an optimal test for screening. It also has very high specificity and negative predictive value, so it is an optimal test for diagnostics also. 

SALIVA BASED PCR (testing sample is taken by self-collection kit during self-sampling process).

Saliva based PCR gives the opportunity of an alternative sampling method. Self-sampling based process is optimal in case of frequent sampling.

RAPID ANTIGEN (testing is based on saliva sample taken by self-collection kit during self-sampling process). 

The test detects SARS-CoV-2 viral antigen by qualitative membrane-based immunoassay (RAT lateral flow) technology. Despite of these limitations in sensitivity antigen testing has its own strengths since it has high specificity, gives alternative sampling method and provide rapid on the field result with limited sensitivity. 

We will work alongside our medical team and use best practices to determine when to administer these tests. Anyone for whom it is determined that a COVID-19 test should be administered will be quarantined until the results are known. Their group will continue camp programming. 

Camp reserves the right to request any member of our community who presents with a symptom of COVID-19 to be tested to rule out the presence of the virus.

While at camp, if a camper displays symptoms of the virus, they will be placed in isolation and COVID PCR tested by our allocated medical staff. Test results are expected within 24-36 hours from the lab. If the test result is negative, the individual will remain in the Health Center until their symptoms have improved in accordance with existing camp policies.

 

GROUPS

At Szarvas Camp, our daily schedule and program has always been oriented around the activities of a group of campers (usually 10-16 campers with two staff). A group is like the immediate family; members do not need to wear a mask when around one another.

Essential staff who support the overall operation of camp, (Core Team, Support Team, etc.) will only interact with groups outside or in well-ventilated interior settings throughout camp. Campers and staff may not enter the living quarters of any other group, with the exception of maintenance and housekeeping staff who will only enter while cabins are vacant. Unit Heads will manage the madrichim (group leaders) who are overseeing multiple groups. 

 

WATER BOTTLES AND DRINKING FOUNTAINS

Campers will receive a water bottle (labeling is encouraged) for use throughout the day. There will be water-filling stations around camp so campers can fill their water bottles.

 

CAMP PROGRAM

We are hard designing a program that meets our criteria of a fun, joyful and engaging camp experience for this summer. We know how important and meaningful campers’ experience will be this summer after two years of constant change in routines, physical distancing, and interaction limited to sitting in front of screens. 

To accomplish this, we will need to make some adjustments to how we deliver some of our programs, as detailed in these guidelines. In addition, we will remain flexible in our programming this summer and will be prepared to quickly pivot based on the needs and interests of our camp community. We are examining how each activity may need to be modified to ensure the health and safety of our camp community. Each activity area will have adjusted plans that follow all ECDC and WHO rules, and the recommendations of our allocated medical staff. 

 

DAILY SCHEDULE

Campers will continue to have a mix of group activities, unit-level activities and free-to-choose activities.

 

MEALS

Campers will be eating all together most, but not all of their meals in the dining hall.

 

SHABBAT

Shabbat links us as a Jewish community. Gathering on Friday night is a highlight for us each session. This summer won’t be any different. We’re exploring a number of options that will enable us to accomplish this in a way that allows us to deliver on our Shabbat traditions, in a safe and responsible way. This might include multiple Shabbat services. We will share more information about what our Shabbat experience will look like closer to the start of our summer.

 

ALL-CAMP PROGRAMMING

All-camp (usually evening) programs create some of the most unforgettable memories. We are still planning to offer our signature all-camp programs this summer. While some of them may be adapted, they’ll be just as memorable. Between now and the start of camp, our programming team will be working to maintain the unique spirit of these experiences while at the same time balancing the required best practices in health and safety.

 

COOLING OFF REQUIREMENTS (POST-CAMP SUGGESTIONS)

Despite our best efforts, some campers or staff might return home infected with the virus, symptomatic or not. Protecting our communities is of utmost importance, therefore the following post-camp cooling off procedures should be followed:

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▸ Who can attend Szarvas Camp in 2022?

In the summer of 2022, we cannot accept the application of non-vaccinated campers or campers whose vaccination protocol does not comply with our standards described above.

▸ What precautions are going to be taken in the camp so my child is not going to get sick?

We’ve developed COVID-19 guidelines using best practices published by the CDC, the ECDC and the American Camp Association (ACA), as well as learnings from other camps, schools and youth programs that have operated in the past two years. We have learned the importance of a multilayered mitigation strategy, which enabled camps to prevent any secondary spread of the COVID- 19 virus through testing and creating a more permanent environment (with minimal people coming in or out of camp). These guidelines are meant to provide Szarvas Camp families and staff with information about how we are adapting our policies and procedures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 during camp sessions. As information changes and evolves, so, too, will these guidelines to reflect current realities. 

We recognize that regardless of the level of preparedness, we cannot guarantee that COVID-19 will not be present at Szarvas Camp, but we are confident in our ability to run the camp in a safe and meaningful way. In fact, we are operating as if the virus would enter the camp. We believe that we can care for campers and staff if they do contract COVID-19, and that we can isolate and stop the virus from spreading when it does enter camp. 

These guidelines will address and share how we plan to operate safely this summer. This document includes a wide range of topics, including 

As already mentioned, these guidelines are subject to change. In case of a change, you have the right to opt-out. This means that if you already registered and paid for any of our sessions and we change these guidelines and you or your camper can no longer or will no longer comply with our regulation, you have the right to a certain refund. However, in case of attendance, all regulation needs to be followed at all times.

We ask that all parents and legal guardians to review these guidelines together with campers. We strongly recommend reading our COVID-19 Guidelines in their entirety.

▸ Do I need to test my child before the camp?

It is not a requirement but we strongly encourage to do so. There will be two tests run on the day of the arrival. 

▸ How many vaccines are required for my participation?

In the summer of 2022, we cannot accept the application of non-vaccinated campers or campers whose vaccination protocol does not comply with our standards described above.

▸ Do you accept any type of vaccines?

Everyone attending Szarvas Camp must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by the vaccines accepted by the WHO, ECDC & the Hungarian National Health Authorities.

▸ My child is not vaccinated, can I bring PCR test results instead?

No. 

In the summer of 2022, we cannot accept the application of non-vaccinated campers or campers whose vaccination protocol does not comply with our standards described above.

▸ My child received 1 or 2 vaccines, is it enough?

No. 

In the summer of 2022, we cannot accept the application of non-vaccinated campers or campers whose vaccination protocol does not comply with our standards described above.

▸ Is a booster (3rd) vaccine obligatory?

Not in every case.

In the summer of 2022, we cannot accept the application of non-vaccinated campers or campers whose vaccination protocol does not comply with our standards described above.

▸ My child cannot receive a COVID-19 vaccine / booster shot due to the local policies. Can my child still attend the camp this summer?

Not in every case.

In the summer of 2022, we cannot accept the application of non-vaccinated campers or campers whose vaccination protocol does not comply with our standards described above.

▸ My child cannot receive a covid vaccine / booster shot due to his/her health condition. Can my child still attend the camp this summer?

In this case, please get in touch with your local coordinator for further clarifications. We can’t guarantee your participation in this case. Our general principals are the following:

▸ Can my child get a 2nd/3rd vaccine less that 21 days prior to the session?

No. Participants should be fully vaccinated (two or three vaccines, as described below) by the 21st day prior to the start date of the participant’s session. 

In the summer of 2022, we cannot accept the application of non-vaccinated campers or campers whose vaccination protocol does not comply with our standards described above.

▸ A family member of the camper / staff got COVID-19 few days prior the camp. What should I do? 

Please notify your local coordinator, and, if possible, isolate the camper into a different environment. We strongly encourage you to run a PCR test prior the departure to Szarvas Camp. Additional testing will be required on the day of the arrival (run by our allocated medical team).

 Will Szarvas Camp provide any tests prior the arrival?

No. All campers and staff must obtain a PCR and antigen COVID-19 test on the arrival day and, following that frequently based on the Szarvas Camp internal testing protocol. All the tests will be run by (and under supervision of) our allocated medical team.

 Do you accept negative PCR tests from home?

No. All campers and staff must obtain a PCR and antigen COVID-19 test on the arrival day. These tests will be executed by our allocated medical team.

 Will you do tests in the camp?

Being able to determine whether the virus is present at camp is a critical component to keeping our environment stable and free of COVID-19. Szarvas Camp’s team and medical advisors worked hard to create an internal testing protocol. Campers and staff will be tested based on this protocol regularly, starting the day of arrival.

 Who will run the tests at Szarvas Camp?

Campers and staff will be tested based on this protocol regularly. All the tests will be run by (and under supervision of) our allocated medical team.

 What type of tests will you do at Szarvas Camp?

All campers and staff must obtain a PCR and antigen COVID-19 test on the arrival day and, following that frequently based on the Szarvas Camp internal testing protocol.

The following tests will be in use: 

NASOPHARYNGEAL (NP) PCR (testing sample is taken by nasopharyngeal swab).

The test detects SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA by real-time RT-PCR (NAAT) technology.

Considering the clinical performance of the NP PCR, it has very high sensitivity and positive predictive value to detect COVID19, so it is an optimal test for screening. It also has very high specificity and negative predictive value, so it is an optimal test for diagnostics also. 

SALIVA BASED PCR (testing sample is taken by self-collection kit during self-sampling process).

Saliva based PCR gives the opportunity of an alternative sampling method. Self-sampling based process is optimal in case of frequent sampling.

RAPID ANTIGEN (testing is based on saliva sample taken by self-collection kit during self-sampling process).

The test detects SARS-CoV-2 viral antigen by qualitative membrane-based immunoassay (RAT lateral flow) technology. Despite of these limitations in sensitivity antigen testing has its own strengths since it has high specificity, gives alternative sampling method and provide rapid on the field result with limited sensitivity. 

 How many times my child will be tested at Szarvas Camp?

Being able to determine whether the virus is present at camp is a critical component to keeping our environment stable and free of COVID-19. Szarvas Camp’s team and medical advisors worked hard to create an internal testing protocol. Campers and staff will be tested based on this protocol regularly. All the tests will be run by (and under supervision of) our allocated medical team.

 Do I have to pay any extra fees for the tests?

No. All the tests are included in the participation fee.

 My child’s test was positive on the day of the arrival. What’s next?

The camper will be isolated in a separated facility at Szarvas Camp and stay under the allocated medical team’s supervision with daily testing. Once their test result will be negative, they can return to other campers with a request of wearing face mask for additional 24–48 hours.

 Can I get a vaccine during the camp?

No. Szarvas Camp do not provide vaccination. Participants should be fully vaccinated (two or three vaccines, as described below) by the 21st day prior to the start date of the participant’s session.  

In the summer of 2022, we cannot accept the application of non-vaccinated campers or campers whose vaccination protocol does not comply with our standards described above.

 Is it obligatory to wear a face mask in the camp?

At this point, only certain staff members and those who has symptoms with negative test will have to wear a face mask (KN95, FF2) at required location and timing.

 Will you provide any masks if necessary?

Yes, in the case of need we’ll provide our campers and staff with the necessary FFP2/KN95 masks.

 I would like to visit my child. How can I do it?

This summer, Szarvas Camp will operate as a closed campus, meaning once our campers and staff arrive, they will not be allowed to leave. No parents/legal guardians will be allowed to visit Szarvas Camp this summer.

 Can my child leave the camp for a short period of time?

This summer, Szarvas Camp will operate as a closed campus, meaning once our campers and staff arrive, they will not be allowed to leave. We are also mindful that campers and/or staff members may need to leave camp; e.g., to seek out additional medical care. We will carefully welcome those members back into the community, as long as a proper face covering was worn, physical distance was kept, and exposure risk was at a minimum. Additional testing might be required by the medical staff.

 What if my child gets infected during the camp session?

The camper will be isolated in a separated facility at Szarvas Camp and stay under the allocated medical team’s supervision with daily testing. Once their test result will be negative they can return to other campers with a request of wearing face mask for additional 24-48 hours. If the infection occurs on the last days of the camp we will still provide medical (and full board) care until the possibility of travel home.

▸ Can I take my child home if they get infected at Szarvas Camp?

We can’t stop you from doing so but for your own (and your environments’) safety we strongly suggest not to. The camper will be isolated in a separated facility at Szarvas Camp and stay under the allocated medical team’s supervision with daily testing. Once their test result will be negative they can return to other campers with a request of wearing face mask for additional 24-48 hours. If the infection occurs on the last days of the camp we will still provide medical (and full board) care until the possibility of travel home.

 Who will inform me if my child got infected at Szarvas Camp?

You’ll be informed by our medical team. They will have the full medical history of your child.