Will camp be happening in 2021? That is the golden question, and it hinges on a few things that are in consideration at this time. This page will be updated as policies and information are released by our governing authorities.
The current COVID-19 situation is fluid: changing daily, sometimes even hourly. It’s testing our adaptability and our patience, and—I imagine—yours as well. Rest assured that we are constantly monitoring the situation, sharing best practices, and communicating with our colleagues, advisors, and partners to help us make the most informed decisions about what we can do to protect you and each other while keeping our program active and vibrant. You can expect an update from us when we know something concrete or make an update to our plans.
Can camp operate safely?
Widjiitiwin is building a comprehensive safety plan for the summer of 2021. Camps have a history of being a safe environment for children, with experience and creativity; for example, when Polio threatened lives in Toronto in the 1950’s many children were sent to camps as a safe place in the midst of the crisis.
Camps are required to have plans in place and provide safety to their campers and to do this we are assisted by public health, policy and global peers that contribute to the industry dialogue with experience and expertise. Based on these conversations, the Ontario Camps Association is currently authoring a guidance document similar to the ACA’s in cooperation with Sick Kids hospital that we expect will be approved by public health Ontario. Our camp policies will be guided by that document and are expected to include some of the following requirements:
Camp Widjiitiwin has some safeguards already in place:
- 15-20 minutes to definitive care hospital
- Multiple First Aiders on site
- Routine disinfection of cabins, washrooms and public areas
- Community rules defining campers’ personal space (ie. bunks and cubbies)
Additional actions that will be added:
- Pre-camp screening
- Smaller camper numbers
- Smaller cabin groups (reduced occupancy and exposure)
- Masks required in shared spaces
- Cohorts of campers
- Physical distancing
- Heightened cleaning and disinfection practices for all areas
We think these practices will work:
As a part of the Muskoka Bible Centre, we have first-hand experience operating a safe environment as we welcomed thousands of guests last summer and, to-date, without incident. We already have experience with the cleaning protocols and effective strategies that were required.
Widjiitiwin will be executing on all levels of the hierarchy of controls by:
- Eliminating activities that cannot accommodate controls
- Substitute new activities and schedules to enhance the camper environment with added safety
- Engineer our spaces to be inherently enjoyable and safe
- Administer distance policies and effective surveillance and response
- Enforce PPE use
“As of October 2020, we believe camps should continue consistent implementation of both cohort strategies and nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to limit the introduction of infected persons and the spread of COVID-19 within camp…”
“Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and health impacts of COVID-19 can be mitigated by proper use of NPIs. The classic hierarchy of controls for management of environmental and occupational health illustrated in Figure 12.1 provides a framework for NPIs” (ACA)
Coming to Camp:
This is the component that is not in our hands, but in the hands of our campers and their parents/guardians. In order to operate camp, we will need to have campers, and so Widjiitiwin has committed to making a decision by the end of March regarding our commitment to open camp. This is to provide our staff time to find replacement employment and families time to find activities for their children in the absence of camp. This then places in our guests’ hands the opportunity to make camp happen by registering today.