Summer 2021 | Camp Ramah Northern California

Enrollment 2021 is Now Open

We are officially counting down to the start of Kayitz 2021!

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This past summer has reinforced that camp is an indescribable gift to our children - a community in which they can strive, thrive, and grow emotionally, socially and as Jewish leaders.

We are planning to safely open camp for kayitz (summer) 2021, while understanding that we will have to be flexible and that camp may look different in order to accommodate health and state regulations. We value the incredible relationship we have with our camp families, and we will always consistently communicate openly and transparently about all camp matters.

In conjunction with medical experts, community leaders, state and local health agencies, and camping professionals, we are convening committees to research and review best practices to ensure that we develop a program that is focused on health and safety while maintaining our cherished Ramah traditions.

We have published a draft operational guide for our camp community and will regularly update this guide to provide a clear picture of our current plans and considerations for summer 2021 both with what we know and what we do not know for the sake of transparency.

Operating Assumptions

Camper families send their children to us with trust in our planning and programmatic preparations, our safety and staff. We cherish this trust and want our camper families to know that if at any time during our camp planning process, we as a staff, Medical Committee, COVID Taskforce, or the Board of Directors feel that we cannot keep our camp community safe, we will take appropriate action.

Camp Ramah in Northern California is licensed by the Santa Cruz County Department of Environmental Health (SCEHS) and the California Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Additionally, Camp Ramah in Northern California is accredited by the American Camping Association and works in partnership with key programmatic organizations including the National Ramah Commission(NRC), and the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC). As part of our planning process we are collaborating with each of these agencies and partners to ensure we develop our protocols inline with their recommendations and requirements.

At this time, medical experts have notified us that the likelihood of a vaccine specifically for children prior to summer is low. If a vaccine for adults exists that is widely available prior to the summer, we will review vaccination requirements for our staff and adult guests. We will continue to monitor vaccine development for both children and adults and will update policies accordingly.

Our summer planning process assumes that COVID-19 will continue to exist in communities outside of camp and may potentially exist in our camp community as well. Our operating plan currently focuses on developing protocols that include pre-camp screening and testing, onsite screening and testing, cohort systems, and programmatic adaptation in an effort to mitigate spread, and best create a system that allows us to handle any cases should one appear. We are utilizing a multi-layered approach to our planning process in an effort to keep our camp community safe and healthy this summer.

We are operating under the assumption that accurate rapid and standard testing will be available both at home and camp and will not be cost prohibitive to complete when necessary throughout the summer.

Pre Camp Guidelines

As part of our commitment to create a safe and meaningful summer experience, we ask camp families and staff to partner with us and follow behavior guidelines and requirements as informed by the CDC and recommended by our medical committee. Behavior of our entire camp community prior to arriving at camp will be a significant contributing factor towards the success of our 2021 summer program. We are asking our camp community to sign a pre-camp brit (covenant/agreement) prior to the summer that will outline pre-camp expectations for the 14 days prior to arrival at camp, as follows:

Camp Community Expectations During the 14 Days Prior to Camp:

  • Pre Camp Testing- Campers and staff are asked to take two pre-camp molecular COVID tests (e.g., PCR, rt-PCR, NAAT). See Pre-Camp Testing for specifics.

  • Pre Camp Symptom Monitoring- Campers and staff will monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Hygiene- When outside of the house we ask that household members wash their hands frequently and avoid touching their face/mask and practice general good hygiene.

  • Masking-  Campers, Staff, Parents/Guardians and other household members should wear masks when interacting with anyone outside of their immediate household. Vaccinated individuals should follow current CDC guidelines for behavior and continue to take masking precautions.
  • General Behaviors- We ask that interactions of our camp community be kept to essential activities, masked, socially distanced, with a limited time frame, and outdoors whenever possible. This includes all members of the camper and staff household. 
  • Refrain from Large Gatherings- We ask that families refrain from large gatherings regardless of location (indoors or outdoors) or masking requirements.
  • School/Day Camps (masking requirement)- The camp community may attend school or day camp prior to arriving at camp if the program requires all participants to be masked, cohorted, socially distanced and outdoors when possible. We ask that the campers or staff not participate in an in-person program that does not utilize these safety measures.

  • Overnight Camp Immediately prior to camp- We recognize that some campers may attend other overnight camps in the weeks prior to attending Ramah Galim. We ask that you contact Rabbi Sarah to discuss the protocols of the other camp to ensure those protocols align with our pre-camp safe behaviors.

Pre-Camp Monitoring

Camper families are asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 during the 14 days prior to arrival at camp. The monitoring process includes identification of signs and symptoms listed below. Should campers present with these signs and symptoms, contact camp immediately (nurse@ramahnorcal.org).

  • DIARRHEA
  • BODY ACHES
  • PERSISTENT HEADACHE
  • SORE THROAT
  • FEVER
  • COUGH
  • CHILLS
  • VOMITING
  • CHANGE IN TASTE OR SMELL
  • CHANGE IN APPETITE
  • GENERALLY NOT FEELING WELL

Camper families are asked to also indicate that their camper has not been around anyone with any of the above listed symptoms or diagnosis of COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to camp including others in the camper’s household.

Pre-Camp Testing

Campers and staff are asked to take two molecular COVID tests (e.g., PCR, rt-PCR, NAAT) in the 14 days prior to arriving at camp. The first should be taken 12-14 days prior to camp, and the second no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. Only molecular tests will be accepted. Antigen, “rapid”, antibody and other non-molecular tests will not be accepted.

Vaccinated staff and campers are still asked to provide negative molecular COVID testing prior to camp.

Campers and staff must have negative molecular COVID test results 0-72 hours prior to arrival in order to attend camp. Without these results, campers and staff will not be allowed to attend camp.

SessionTest 1: 12-14 Days From ArrivalTest 2: 72 Hours From Arrival
Session 1 (June 21 Start)Tested on June 7-June 9Tested on June 18
Session 2 (July 6 Start)Tested on June 22-June 24Tested on July 2 
Session 3 (July 21 Start)Tested on July 7- July 9Tested on July 18

Please contact nurse@ramahnorcal.org if your camper has had a confirmed COVID-19 illness in the 90 days prior to the first day of camp to discuss testing accommodations.

Travel

For Summer 2021, all local families will drive their children to camp. Please plan to depart camp shortly after drop off to ensure that your campers can begin their Ramah experience in a fun, safe, and meaningful way.

Things to know:

First Day of Camp

  • We ask that families drop their children off at camp between 11:00am and 12:30pm during their assigned arrival time.  Please follow posted signs and staff member instructions to best ensure a safe and efficient camper drop off experience.
  • To ensure proper care of your child, we are unable to welcome your camper before 11:00am.

Last Day of Camp

  • We ask that families pick children up between 9:30am and 10:30am. Please follow posted signs and staff member instructions to best ensure a safe and efficient camper pickup experience.
  • We ask that families not pick up campers earlier than 9:30am on travel day to ensure that they have eaten breakfast, have had time to say goodbye to their friends and counselors, and have all of their belongings in an easily accessible space.
For those who will be flying to camp from out of the area, we have listed suggested flights in our arrival window of 9:00am-12:00pm into San Jose airport (SJC). We have also suggested flights from SJC during our departure window from SJC of 1:00pm-4:00pm on the final day of each session. We ask that you only book flights within this travel window to guarantee that our staff can provide transportation for your camper(s) to and from camp. If you cannot find a flight to/from SJC during our travel window, we kindly ask that you email Ari Friedman at arif@ramahnorcal.org to coordinate alternative transportation plans.
Navigate to our Travel information page for more information.

Life at Camp

  • Campers and staff will receive molecular PCR tests both upon arrival and on an ongoing basis throughout the duration of camp. 
  • Campers and staff will have regular common symptom checks for the duration of camp. 
  • We are currently reviewing additional testing and monitoring systems and will update our camp community as decisions are made.
  • Camper & Staff Cohorts: Campers and most staff will be placed into cohorts with which they will primarily participate in programs, prayer services, sleeping, and meals. Cohorts will primarily be based on age group, with consideration towards specialty and intensive program participation.
  • Senior Staff & Medical/Essential Staff: We recognize the need for directors, senior staff and medical/essential staff to interact with multiple cohorts on a regular basis. We are developing requirements for these interactions with non-pharmaceutical interventions (PPE, physical distancing, and outdoor interactions when possible).
  • Campers and staff will wear face coverings at camp, except when in one’s personal living quarters, during meals, or in activities only with their assigned living group 
  • Cohorts will be socially distanced from one another. 
  • Medical staff will be required to wear medical PPE that is appropriate for the specific setting. Such protocols are under development and will continue to be updated regularly.
  • We are currently evaluating PPE/mask protocols and best practices for any community member required to leave property for camp-related business or any camper needing to visit a healthcare facility.

If there is a case at camp

  • If a camper or staff member presents symptoms of COVID-19 that are not severe enough to warrant outside medical care, they will be isolated in the mirpa’ah until their test results are returned.
  • If a camper tests positive for COVID-19, they will be isolated, and be supervised in the Mirpa’ah by our medical staff until their parent or guardian can pick up their child. Campers who test positive must be picked up by a parent or guardian at camp within approximately 48 hours of parent notification. Camp will be in touch with the camper family to determine if/when the camper can return to camp.
  • We recognize that the idea of isolation at camp may come with a whole mix of feelings/frustrations and want to assure our camp community that the protocols under development will allow those community members in isolation to experience camp in a meaningful safe manner.
  • Campers and staff who were exposed to a positive case will be quarantined together for a minimum of 7 days, following county guidelines, while continuing camp activities in quarantine. Parents of these campers will be notified by camp. 
  • All persons exposed to a positive case will receive ongoing monitoring and testing.
  • Campers and staff will continue with camp-style activities while in quarantine with modifications as necessary.
  • We will continue to update protocols for any campers and staff who may present with COVID-like symptoms or who may test positive as best practice and health guidance continues to update. 
  • We recognize that the idea of isolation at camp may come with a whole mix of feelings/frustrations and want to assure our camp community that the protocols under development will allow those community members in isolation to experience camp in a meaningful safe manner.

Communication

  • In addition to our regular communications about program updates, photo posting and summer fun, we will inform parents through out each session regarding COVID testing, monitoring and if needed quarantine measures.
  • If a camper or staff tests positive for COVID while at camp, we promise to notify all parents with campers in their cohort and identify the specific measures we are taking to address the situation.

Financial Information

  • While it is our greatest hope to run camp in kayitz (summer) 2021, we realize that there are still many unknowns for this summer. As a result, we have modified our normal refund policy (which can be found here):

    • In the event that camp cannot open for kayitz (summer) 2021, all families will again be eligible for a full refund of their deposits and registration fees.

    • If camp opens but it is not medically safe for your child to attend (due to his/her health or a family member’s), you will be able to cancel your child’s enrollment and receive a full refund. COVID-related medical information will be required in one of our pre-summer forms. If your camper or a family member has an underlying medical condition that puts them in a high risk category, please be in touch with us so that we can work with your family and your medical professionals to determine an appropriate plan for camp as well as a decision-making timeline.

    • If camp opens and you choose to withdraw your child without a COVID-related medical reason, our regular refund policy will apply. Withdrawals made prior to March 1, 2021 are 100% refundable under this policy.

    CANCELLATION DATECANCELLATION FEE
    On or before the last day in February, 2021   None
    March 1 – April 1, 2021Full Deposit
    April 2 – June 1, 202150% of Tuition
    After June 1, 2021Full Tuition

    Click Here for the full regular refund policy

    • If camp opens but cannot run at full capacity, and so we need to adjust our dates, families will get a refund if the revised schedule does not work for them. Families will be given an opportunity to opt-in or opt-out of this revised plan.

FAQ

  • The health and safety of our community continues to be out number one priority.  In addition to the in-depth planning we do in a regular season of operation, we are focusing on the following key areas of focus in developing plans for Summer 2021:

    Key areas of focus

    1. Health and Safety Considerations- Work with key *stakeholders to review best practices, establish and update safety protocols, and adjust our operations accordingly.
    2. Covid-19 Updates- Regularly monitor current COVID-19 status as it concerns health and safety requirements/best practices/guidelines/recommendations and camp operations and relay this to our camp community.
    3. Camp Operation Review- Review the ability for camp to operate in a variety of ways using guidelines from local, state and national health agencies, as well as key organizations and committees and relay this to our camp community.
    4. Camper & Staff Experience Considerations- Work with key stakeholders to ensure an intentional and well thought out camp experience as it applies to our campers and staff with considerations towards health/safety and program experience, and MESH (mental, emotional, and social health).
    5. Camp Sustainability Considerations- Work with key stakeholders to ensure camp's ongoing sustainability both for the current year and the future.

    *We are working closely with a variety of agencies and organizations to establish protocols for operating in a safe and healthy manner. Key stakeholders involved in the development of our protocols include:

    • Santa Cruz County Department of Environmental Health
    • California Department of Public Health
    • American Camp Association - The ACA is working with a private company, Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc., to develop a Field Guide for Camps. Additionally, we work directly with the ACA Northern California office.
    • Center for Disease Control
    • The Foundation for Jewish Camp
    • SKIER Insurance, Inc.
    • National Ramah Medical Committee chaired by Dr. Cliff Nerwin
    • The National Ramah Commission Contingency Planning Task Force, overseen by National Ramah Director Rabbi Mitch Cohen.
    • The National Ramah Business Managers Group
    • Camp Ramah in Northern California Medical Committee
    • Camp Ramah in Northern California Board of Directors Covid Committee
    • Local and national medical and camping experts

First, we thank you for your support. If you haven’t joined us yet in this critical fundraising effort, please consider a meaningful gift that will ensure decades more summers at Ramah Galim. We are truly grateful for any contribution you are able to provide right now. Please click here to support our Camp Recovery Campaign.

Kayitz (Summer 2021) Town Hall Series

Our next town hall will be on March 21, 2021 at 4:00pm. During this town hall we will update our camp community on pre-camp expectations, safety guidelines and answering questions.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

More Information

We hope this message finds your family healthy and safe amidst the difficult times in which we find ourselves.

We recognize that our world is still significantly different than it was several months ago, and we want to be open and honest with you about how we’re proceeding on the path towards a safe and successful summer in 2021. We will continue to update our community regularly and provide the most current information available to us to support our families in decision making.

If your family is in need of additional support during these trying times, feel free to reach out to Rabbi Sarah at sarah@ramahnorcal.org.  We are here to help you in any way we can.

We have received many inquires about camp operations and our hope is to be able to answer them as they come up. As always, feel free to reach out. For general inquiries, email info@ramahnorcal.org and we will forward your inquiry to the correct person to respond.