COVID-19 Updates

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We are actively planning for an in-person summer at Westtown, while mindful of the evolving considerations due to COVID-19. We are working in partnership with our colleagues across the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), and have had numerous conversations with medical advisors, with residential camps that operated in Summer 2020, and with partners at the Foundation for Jewish Camp and American Camp Association. We will continue to work closely with these partners over the next several months and into summer, to offer a safe camp experience for our community.

Vaccine Policy

All year-round and seasonal staff and Faculty are required to complete a COVID-19 vaccination series prior to entering camp. Individuals must provide proof of vaccination, in order to avoid posing a direct threat to the health and safety of our camp community members. 

Is URJ recommending that we vaccinate our camp 12 years old and older?

Yes. The FDA has approved under an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 12-15. This adds to the EUA for teens and adults 16 and older. Vaccinations will provide an important tool to mitigate the risks of COVID at Camp this summer. · Our URJ Camps Medical Advisory Team strongly encourages the families of all who are eligible to join our fully vaccinated staff. The higher our percentage of vaccinated individuals becomes, the better for the camp community.

What if we cannot get both Pfizer doses for our 12+-year-old campers prior to the summer?

The ideal situation is to get both doses, three weeks apart, with the second dose administered two weeks before your session’s Opening Day. This will be easier for later-starting camps and for those campers arriving second session.

If you cannot get the second shot, you are still protected two weeks after your first shot. The second dose can be given after camp.


Why do vaccinated campers need to be on the same testing schedule as non-vaccinated campers?

While vaccines are incredibly effective, they are not 100% effective.

The camper community is also not 100% vaccinated. Of the 2-dose Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, some eligible campers have had two doses pre-camp, some have had one dose pre-camp, and some have chosen not to vaccinate.

Because of the recent approval of the EUA, campers who have been vaccinated may not be fully immunized until partially through their camp session.

Masks at camp
  • All members of the camp community will wear 3-ply disposable masks, rather than cloth masks. We ask that you pack 3-4 per camper per day of camp.
    • All activities done in pods, with few exceptions
    • Songsessions and services OUTSIDE can be done WITH masks and distancing
    • Songsessions and services INSIDE WITH masks, distancing AND

MedCon 3 (Opening Day through the completion of testing)

  •  Masks Off:
    • Vaccinated staff with all vaccinated staff
    • Pod is alone in activities or walking alone between activities (specialist should be masked)
    • Eating, sleeping, swimming
  • Masks On:
    • Staff working with a pod other than their own
    • Any activities (indoors and outdoors) with individuals from multiple pods
    • Individuals with underlying health conditions
  • Pods:
    • All activities done in pods, with few exceptions
    • Songsessions and services OUTSIDE can be done WITH masks and distancing
    • Songsessions and services INSIDE WITH masks, distancing AND Jo-Ellen or Kara’s permission

MedCon 2 (after Day 6 testing and all results are negative)

  • Masks Off:
    • Vaccinated staff with all vaccinated staff
    • Unit is alone in activities or walking alone between activities, indoors or outdoors
    • Eating, sleeping, swimming
    • Staff or faculty working with members of a single Unit
    • Any outdoor activities with the same unit
    • For Ritual Outside seated in pods or Units and physically distanced
    • While performing with members of the same Unit for Showcase
  •  Masks On:
    • Any indoor activities with individuals from multiple pods or units
    • Individuals with underlying health conditions
  •  Handwashing, contained coughing and sneezing are still a priority!



    Pre-Camp Expectations

    Why do we still have to quarantine before camp, even if we are vaccinated?

    · There are still “break-through” cases, and we want to help make sure that you are not one of them.

    · There are other viruses out there that are not COVID. If you come in with one of those, we will probably have to rule out COVID by isolating you and your bunk while we test to see what you have.

    · Many viruses present with COVID-like symptoms. Quarantining with your family not only keeps your immediate family safe, but also helps to safeguard our entire camp community against COVID and other viruses that may make their way into camp. Thank you in advance for doing your part to help keep our community healthy this summer.

    Why Seven vs Fourteen Days?

    · Fourteen days is the CDC recommendation for unvaccinated individuals. We believe that seven is sufficient for fully vaccinated individuals to keep other viruses out of camp.

    What if I have had COVID within 90 days before the start of my camp session?

    · Contact your camp in advance and bring the test results with you. After 90 days, if the camper is still in camp and if the camp is still in its testing week, the camper will pick up the same testing schedule as the camp.

    What kinds of COVID tests do I have to do before my Camp session.

    · See the below section of “Testing” for specifics. All pre-Camp tests are PCR tests. If your test comes back positive, please let your Camp’s office know.

    Testing for COVID-19

    The URJ Camps’ medical protocols around COVID-19 for this summer are being developed by our Medical Advisory Board, a team deeply committed to and connected with our camping movement.  

    Testing for COVID-19 will be a key element of how we safely open and operate URJ camps this summer.  We will be using the following approaches, together, for maximal protection of our campers and staff.

    Pre-Camp Testing Day 0 Testing Day 3 Testing Day 7 Testing Multi-Session Campers

    All participants must take a PCR test 72 hours prior to opening day.

    This test should be taken on the Saturday before the camper’s opening session.

    Participants flying to camp must take a rapid test within 24 hours prior to their flight, ideally the morning before their flight.

    Participants driving to camp will take a rapid test at camp, on-campus.

    Participants will be administered a PCR test by Northshore Medical on day 3 (Friday) of the camp session. Participants will be administered a PCR test by Northshore Medical on day 7 (Tuesday) of the camp session. Campers staying for more than 1 session of camp will take a rapid test on the Monday of intersession. This is their second day 0. They will then start the series over with the new session of campers on day 3 (Friday) and day 7 (Tuesday).


    • All campers will be required to undergo PCR testing 3 days before camp, and the results must be available and negative before arrival.
      • Since our camp Opening Day is on a Tuesday it is imperative that your child be tested three days before, on Saturday. If you are concerned about turnaround time of the test result because the testing window falls over a weekend, or quick testing sites are not available near you, you can get the PCR test for your child as early as five days before they arrive to camp, which is Friday. You will need to upload the results of the negative PCR test to your child’s CampInTouch account prior to arriving to camp or bring the negative test result with you. 
    • Any PCR that is positive at that time will require at least 10 days of recovery before arrival, and the details of that recovery time will be determined by medical staff on a case-by-case basis.
    • Because PCR tests can remain positive for many weeks after recovery from COVID-19 infection, optional testing may also be performed 12-14 days before camp.  If this test is positive, the remaining days before camp will satisfy the time requirement before arrival, and repeat testing is unnecessary.  If this test is negative, repeat testing is still required 3 days before arrival.

    Upon Arrival (by car)

    Upon Arrival (by plane)

    • In addition to getting the PCR test 3-5 days prior to travel to camp, please purchase an at-home Rapid Antigen Test (which is available at any local drug store or retailer) and perform that test the day of travel to camp.
      • If a camper tests positive on the rapid antigen test, a second rapid antigen test should be administered. If the second test is also positive, it should be followed by a PCR test, and they may not attend camp that session.
      • Campers must follow CDC and airline policie, remaining masked during all airport and in-flight steps of travel.
      • If you are unsure of which test to purchase, or where to purchase a rapid test, or want to talk through your day-of-travel procedures, please reach out to Melissa Frey, partner to the URJ camping system, who will work with your family to find a solution for your unique situation.

    During Camp

    • Campers will take 2 separate PCR tests during the session. We will likely conduct these PCR tests on day 3 (Thursday), and day 7 (Monday).
    Isolation Procedures at camp
    • If a person tests positive, that person will be isolated in our second health center. We will ask families to arrange for the camper to be picked up from camp.
    • The cohort will isolate, subject to further testing, and follow a shadow schedule.
    • Campers who are with us for either 2 or 3 sessions must attend intersession as it would be impossible for campers to leave between sessions and still adhere to our pre-camp testing protocols prior to the next session beginning.
    • All campers staying for multiple sessions must adhere to all testing procedures.