COVID-19 Health & Safety

Camp Tel Noar operated safely for its entire 2021 season. We will apply a similarly-careful approach to planning and partnership in 2022.

In Summer 2021, we welcomed campers and staff back to Tel Noar for much-needed joy and connection. We grounded our plans in solid medical data, recommendations from the CDC, and State guidance, advised by our expert Medical Advisory Committee. We balanced safety and mitigation strategies with efforts to return to a near-normal camp experience—and it worked!

While no one cannot predict what the COVID-19 pandemic will mean for Summer 2022, you can rest assured that we will prepare for camp with the same rigor.

We will update information about Summer 2022 in early Spring. In the meantime, you may care to explore the Summer 2021 information below.


Summer 2021 NH state guidance on opening camps

We are excited that overnight camps in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts will be able to open this summer!

Latest update
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) decides what rules every camp must follow. The New Hampshire Camp Directors Association (NHCDA), where Cohen Camps President Jonathan Cohen serves on the Board, has worked with the State of NH to secure timely, responsive guidelines. (The Massachusetts Camping Association (MCA), which includes our sibling Camp Pembroke, has been doing the same.)

The State of NH has now released its directions for Universal Best Practices for all organizations and businesses, along with a 4-page guidance document for Overnight Congregate Settings for Children. Because our plans already incorporate best practices from the CDC, with advice from our own Medical Advisory Committee and that of the American Camping Association, our plans as set out below can remain in place. We will continue to update if anything changes.


2021 Cohen Camps Plan

The Cohen Camps are committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for all three of our camp communities in Summer 2021.

Layered health & safety protocols
First and foremost, Camp Tel Noar will adhere to the layered health and safety protocols referred to as Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs). The data shows that these are the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. NPIs we will implement include:

  • Cabin-based family groups
  • Mask wearing when needed
  • Physical distancing
  • Hand washing
  • Being outdoors as much as possible
  • Improving ventilation of indoor spaces
  • Enhanced cleaning 

Our Medical Advisory Committee, experts in the field who know our camps, are counseling us on how best to manage the COVID-19 risk within our specific camp communities. Based on the committee’s advice and our comfort level to mitigate risk for our communities, we will update our protocols accordingly. As always, the health and safety of our campers and staff remains our first priority.

Two-of-Three Rule
This summer, campers and staff will adhere rigorously to multiple layers of NPIs (see previous item for more explanation): masks, outdoor activities, small groups, and social distancing. A simple way to navigate these layers is by using the “Two-of-Three Rule.” This rule specifies that when interacting with anyone from outside your own bunk or living space, people must adhere to at least two of these three factors:

  1. Masks when needed
  2. Outdoors
  3. Social Distance
Masks
Based on the current guidance:

Outdoors: Mask wearing outdoors will not be required for any group while outdoors with other bunk groups unless in crowded, close quarters. We have created our program to minimize all of those situations during the summer.

Indoors with other bunks: At this time, all campers and staff will be required to wear masks when inside buildings with other bunks, except while eating.

In their own bunk: Campers will not be required to wear a mask when inside their bunk.

Vaccinations and Testing
We are gathering vaccination information from our staff and age-eligible campers. Please complete this brief survey about your camper’s vaccine status and upload your camper’s COVID vaccination card to your MyCampTelNoar account under forms if you already have it.

We welcome the news that children ages 12 and older may be eligible for vaccinations, and support campers and staff getting vaccinated prior to camp. The interventions planned for this summer are designed to keep everyone healthy, including everyone in our community who is not yet eligible for the vaccine.

Overview:

  • All staff will be fully vaccinated before campers arrive and tested appropriately.
  • Campers will need documentation of vaccination or recent COVID-19 recovery or a recent negative PCR test. We will test each camper again on their session’s Opening Day, 5 to 7 days later, and maybe beyond.
  • Regardless of vaccination status, every camper must still adhere to the pre-camp 10-day period of low-risk activity and masking. This is especially important for unvaccinated campers.

Any campers or staff who arrive without appropriate documentation or who do not pass the arrival screening will not be permitted to enter camp.

Creating the Camp Bubble
Camp has always metaphorically been called a bubble, a special “world apart.” This summer, we’ll make it a more physical bubble, too. So that we can operate as normally and safely as possible for everyone here, we’ll establish a closed environment in an attempt to limit exposure to COVID. Once the bubble forms, it will exist for the session.

Campers will not be allowed to leave the camp for appointments or family events (like weddings or graduations.) Please make any necessary routine medical appointments for your children before or after their time at camp. Campers who need to leave camp because of a medical emergency will do so with strict protocols in place to safeguard them and any staff member assigned to take them for medical consultation/treatment.

Staff who live with and interface regularly with campers maintain the safety of the bubble from orientation through the end of camp. The social and emotional health of our staff is one of the most important components for a happy camp. Given the latest guidance and the fact that our staff will be fully vaccinated by the time campers arrive, we will allow fully vaccinated staff to leave camp for a limited time during free periods to engage in safe activities like buying iced coffee in a drive-through or picking up take-out food. We expect staff will continue to take all proven precautions, like wearing masks where necessary outside of camp, regardless of their vaccination status.

After the first week of the first session, once results of the in-camp PCR testing have been received, we are hoping circumstances allow fully vaccinated staff to leave camp for their days off. This will also come with the expectation that they will engage in low risk activities and use the non-pharmaceutical interventions we have become accustomed to while away from camp. We will evaluate mid-summer before deciding the practice for second session.

The camp has several local staff who live outside of camp, like maintenance and kitchen staff, who do not need to interface with campers or staff directly. Daily screenings before entering camp, maintaining distance from our campers and staff at all times, additional testing, and mask wearing will be strongly enforced.


Get your camper ready for Summer 2021

When it comes to keeping camp safe and healthy, the risks we take collectively matter most. We know how challenging these sacrifices have been this past year for all of us. In order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 being brought into camp, campers and their families must adhere to the following requirements:

For 10 days prior to camp
Tel Noar campers and their families must remain vigilant and refrain from non-essential contact with people outside of their households and immediate family for the time period recommended by the CDC, currently ten days, prior to their arrival at camp, REGARDLESS of whether or not they have been vaccinated for COVID-19. This is especially important for unvaccinated campers.

During this time, we ask that other household members take appropriate social distancing and preventative measures to keep their campers healthy including, but not limited to:

  • Wearing a mask when near non-household members.
  • Staying at least 6 feet away from people outside the household.
  • Utilizing curbside store/restaurant services only.
  • Washing hands with soap and water frequently.

We also ask parents to monitor and document any possible COVID-like symptoms in discussion with your camper. In addition to providing an early warning of the virus, this process will also help campers build habits prior to their arrival so they know what to look for independently while they are at camp. We will continue to monitor for symptoms at camp.

Pre-Camp Testing
We are gathering vaccination information from our staff and age-eligible campers. Please complete this brief survey about your camper’s vaccine status and upload your camper’s COVID vaccination card to your MyCampTelNoar account under forms if you already have it.

Anyone with prior disease must provide camp with documentation of illness with the date of the positive test; please email us to discuss.

Pre-camp negative PCR test required: Unvaccinated campers will need a negative COVID-19 PCR test performed 5-7 days before their 2021 camp session begins for entry into camp. Please bring documentation of your camper’s negative result with you when you arrive. 

1st Session campers: Get tested on June 22, 23 or 24
2nd Session campers: Get tested on July 19, 20, or 21

In the five days before camp, your ENTIRE household should limit risky activities even further to ensure that the arrival test shows the same negative result as the pre-camp test.

NO pre-camp test required: At this point, all campers and staff who are fully vaccinated (2-weeks after the final dose by opening day) and anyone who has a documented positive test within the previous 90 days are not required to perform the pre-camp COVID-19 PCR test.

We will have further information soon about at-camp testing for unvaccinated campers and for our camp community during the camp session.

Any campers or staff who arrive without documentation of their vaccination or negative PCR test or who do not pass the arrival screening will not be permitted to enter camp.

Transportation
New Hampshire now allows domestic travel from any US State without self-quarantine afterwards.

Families driving to camp should plan for direct home to camp travel with no stops along the way.

For families flying to camp: to minimize exposure, please use the most direct route possible, using nonstop instead of layover flights and follow CDC recommendations for air travel. Please fly into the airport closest to your child’s camp: Manchester Regional (MHT) is preferable to Boston Logan (BOS). We will not be able to pick up campers at the airport as in the past, so please call us to discuss alternative arrangements. Please contact camp to discuss plans BEFORE you purchase your tickets.

If you are traveling internationally in the 10 days before arriving at camp, please refer to the NH guidelines for out-of-state visitors.

Getting luggage to camp from far away
For families who will not arrive at camp by car: As we’ve recommended in other summers, you are welcome to ship luggage to camp in advance using UPS, FedEx, or other shipping service. You can schedule it to arrive at camp anytime on or after June 7th; please schedule delivery at least 2 days before your camper’s session starts.

Please clearly label all shipped luggage and belongings with your camper’s name and Bunk #. (Bunk assignments are communicated in early June.) Please also email us the shipping information, including shipping company name, anticipated date of delivery, # of bags, luggage description, any other helpful information. We will deliver shipped luggage to your camper’s bunk on their arrival date.

Arriving at camp
Arrival at camp this summer will be different than in the past since we will be required to perform PCR tests on all campers arriving, in addition to our usual checks.  We will set up an arrival schedule in order to limit the numbers of people arriving at one time so we can maintain proper physical distancing. This schedule will be provided as we get closer to camp. Adhering to the assigned schedule will be critical for everyone’s health.

This year, parents will not be allowed beyond the intake area during drop-off. Parents will drop their children off with their luggage at a designated intake spot, and promptly leave camp. Our staff will take luggage to cabins, and our counselors will help campers unpack, settle in, and begin to experience bunk life with new and old friends. We will schedule virtual meetings for parents and campers so you can meet your counselors prior to camp.

What happens if...?
We hope everyone will have a safe healthy summer. Please keep in mind: even with all these careful steps, it is possible we will see a case of COVID-19 at camp. Success means that any COVID-19 cases at camp are managed safely and spread is limited.

In case there is  a case of COVID at camp, our approach will adhere to the New Hampshire Safer at Home Overnight Camp COVID-19 Reopening Guidance:

“If a person is confirmed to have COVID-19, they should leave camp immediately and be picked up by family and brought back home by private transportation… Close contacts to a person with COVID-19 must quarantine. Any person requiring quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure should leave the camp… In cases where close contacts are the cohort of the individual(s) who tested positive, they may remain at camp and quarantine together…”


Questions? Specifics about your child?

Parents, if you would like to speak with the Director, Assistant Directors, Head Counselor, or Health Center about your child, you will have that opportunity leading up to camp. We will send out a way to sign-up for this as we get closer to Opening Day. As always, we are available to discuss your child and answer questions at any time.

We are thrilled that all three Cohen Camps were able to operate safely all season in Summer 2021! To all our families and staff, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your ongoing partnership. Working together as a community we made it a safe and fabulous summer for everyone, and we can’t wait to do it again in Summer 2022!