Parent Update #4 (Sent April 29th)
Greetings from camp! I hope you are all continuing to stay healthy, safe, and as connected as possible during this super-challenging time.
While perhaps expected, the announcement of schools around the country being suspended for the rest of the academic year came with a heavy weight and shows that we still have a way to go before we can resume our normal routines. I know that it may have raised the question for a lot of you, “What about summer camp?”
The short answer is, we still don’t know the status of camp yet. Decisions regarding the safe operation of overnight camps this summer rest first with state health authorities and then with local departments of health. Camps were told last week that these decisions will begin to be made over the next three to five weeks.
Our amazing team of camp leaders are problem-solvers by nature. From challenging social dynamics among campers to experiment malfunctions to poor weather conditions, we’re used to being able to dive in and help find solutions. This spring has presented one of the biggest challenges we’ve all ever faced. We want to be able to offer answers, and the coronavirus pandemic is requiring us to do something we’ve often urged parents to do: Be patient and trust the experts.
I wanted to share directly with you a message camps received from the American Camp Association, our accrediting body, late last week:
“The CDC is currently developing specific guidance for day and overnight camps and has connected with ACA to engage them around their work. In addition, ACA is also working with independent experts in public health, epidemiology, infectious disease medicine, and organizational design to provide educational resources for camps to assist them in meeting the guidance required by CDC. This CDC guidance specific to running camp is expected to be in place by no later than the end of April. ACA resources will follow very soon after that, as they need to take the full CDC guidance into account.”
We are still moving forward with all of our preparations for this summer, and we will be ready to go when we are able. We are aiming for a final decision date in mid-to-late May. Many parents have inquired about the final payment deadline of May 15th. Please be assured that we will not be charging families until we have a more concrete decision on the summer so that deadline will likely be extended. We will update you before May 15th with more information.
It has been comforting amidst all the uncertainty that as camps, we are united in how we will be approaching decisions about summer programming and will be getting significant guidance and resources from ACA each step of the way. Here is a link for some parent resources from ACA: ACA Resources for Parents. While we recognize how hard it is for all of us and our kids especially, to live amidst so much uncertainty, it’s still just too soon to have a decision about camp for this summer.
In the meantime, even with the distance between us, camp is still here. Keep an eye on your emails and our social media (AstroCamp Instagram & AstroCamp Facebook) for some camp energy for you to enjoy. Every Tuesday at 3pm, our AstroCamp staff go live on Instagram in one of our AstroCamp labs and share some cool experiments! Also, we hosted our first virtual elective last Friday to great success and look forward to providing more opportunities in the future. Check our social media for details.
As always, we appreciate your patience and flexibility. I hope that the next time I am communicating with you we have a more concrete idea of summer. For now, stay safe and healthy, and know that we will continue to stay in touch as more information becomes available.