Summer 2021 Reopening Information
We are excited for summer 2021 and have been busy preparing to welcome our campers and staff. Ramah Nyack is referred to as the happiest place on earth and we promise to retain that feeling this summer! Nurturing role models will continue to work with your children in our joyful Jewish summer home.
The FAQs below outline important information about our summer plans and represent our working assumptions. Please note that these plans are dynamic and this page will be updated as guidelines and the situation evolve over the coming months. We are planning for the most restrictive environment while hoping for the least restrictive environment.
We are guided by two principles in every decision we make:
1. The health and safety of our campers and staff continue to be our top priority.
2. Camp will feel like camp this summer – with appropriate and necessary modifications.
Our team is guided by:
-The National Ramah Commission (NRC) Medical Committee, chaired by Dr. Cliff Nerwen
-The National Ramah Commission Day Camp Medical Sub-committee
-The Ramah Nyack Reopening Taskforce, comprised of medical experts,
school operations professionals, parents, alumni, and facilities experts
-The local Rockland Department of Health and New York State
-Recommendations from the CDC and the American Camp Association (which reviews our protocol and re-accredits us annually)
Campers will enjoy all of their favorite activities this summer: swimming (instructional and free), a wide-variety of sports, fine arts and performing arts, cooking, nature activities, science, and of course migrash dancing. As a general principle, our programming – including lunch – will occur outdoors. There will be no indoor activities this summer. In addition to our existing outdoor spaces, we are covering many other outdoor areas to provide shade and protection during inclement weather. We are also converting outdoor spaces to accommodate activities that are typically indoors.
Similar to what many schools have implemented this year, camp will operate in a pod system. Pods will consist of approximately 20 campers, a group size that will enable campers to form friendships and socialize while also limiting potential exposure. Pods will participate in all activities together and will not mix with other pods. Our exceptional counselors will remain with their assigned pod throughout the day.
The recommendation of our medical committee is that all campers and staff (regardless of vaccination status) wear masks in camp. Masks will be removed during swimming (per New York State law) and lunch/snack/water breaks.
Pods will eat lunch in their own designated outdoor area, sitting picnic-style in a socially distanced circle to allow for both safety and socialization when eating unmasked. We will continue to provide hot, kosher lunch service to all of our campers and staff. Counselors will distribute the food to their pod. As always, our dietary specialist can be reached through our office to discuss any food related questions.
We have replaced all water fountains throughout camp with faucets for refilling water bottles. Campers will bring a water bottle from home daily so they can drink and refill their bottles regularly throughout the day.
Yes. Like most schools have required this year, we will ask parents to complete a brief app based questionnaire every morning before your child leaves for camp.
Yes. Campers can expect to be greeted each morning by one of our smiling bus counselors who will ensure that your child is comfortable and enjoys the ride. We are working closely with our transportation companies and we anticipate that protocols for bus transportation will be similar to those for schools this year—open windows, masked, assigned seats (to provide for orderly entering/exiting), sitting only with siblings, etc.
Rainy days are challenging and we will continue to work on ways to allow for programming in safe environments. Last summer, some camps built in the equivalent of snow days for when it rained and kept camp closed. We recognize the logistical challenges this would present to our families, and are working hard to create systems to safely keep your children in camp even on rainy days.
Under the direction of our veteran camp medical director, Rachel Kiefer, R.N., we are revamping our infirmary in preparation for the summer. We are expanding the space to include two separate areas—one for children who have possible COVID-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, etc.) who will be isolated until a parent/guardian can pick them up from camp—and the other for children who need a band-aid, take regular daily medication, etc. In an effort to prevent any possible spread, parents/guardians of campers who exhibit symptoms during the day will be required to pick up their child/ren from camp as soon as possible.
Under the direction of our director of camper and staff care, Dr. Marisa Mahler, our team is preparing to handle all of the social and emotional needs that may arise this summer. This has been a difficult year for all of us. We know that mental health needs are higher than ever and we will have—as always—a camper and staff care team that is dedicated to helping campers and staff with any MESH (mental, emotional, social health) needs that arise. We will be conducting extra training this year for all staff on how to recognize and address mental health needs and issues in their campers and co-staff.
If there is a positive case in camp, our medical committee will review the case and, based on current Department of Health guidelines, will determine the precise protocols depending on the case (who will need to quarantine, for how long, etc.).
It will take all of us—staff and families—working together to make this summer safe and successful. We are counting on our entire camp community to do the right thing – both in and out of camp – this is truly a communal responsibility. We will be developing a brit (agreement) for communal responsibility that we will share closer to the summer and that we will expect all members of our Ramah Nyack family to follow and uphold.
This will very much depend on the availability of the vaccine as we get closer to camp. The vaccine will almost certainly not be required for campers, given that no vaccine is yet approved for anyone under 16. We will urge our staff to be vaccinated, but we cannot be sure right now that they will be able to do so. We do anticipate that our Mishlachat (Israeli staff) will all be vaccinated.
We fully anticipate that camp WILL open in 2021. In the highly unlikely situation that camp cannot operate in 2021, we will offer options similar to last year, including a full refund and the option to convert part into a donation.
We are operating with flexibility to work with all of our families’ needs. Please be in touch with us about any payment concerns you are having so we can work out a plan that meets your family’s needs.