Campers will need camp more than ever after a year or more of limited outdoor and social experiences with peers. Camp Echo goals of safety, community, personal growth, and FUN! will still be at the forefront of our planning, achieved through the evolving lens of COVID.
Note: We are aware of the CDC updates that were announced on Thursday, May 13. We expect updated guidance from the State of Michigan and the State of Illinois by Thursday, May 20. Our goal is to provide an update on any changes to our practices on Wednesday, May 26.
We are excited to share that we are working with Grapefruit Testing for all of our COVID tests this summer. Click here to see a letter from Grapefruit including who they are, how they work, and what’s next. Grapefruit is working with many summer camps to facilitate COVID testing at zero cost to families by billing through health insurance via the CARES act, and they are HIPAA compliant.
IMPORTANT: If you have not already submitted your camper’s health insurance information via the Health History form on CampInTouch, please do so urgently!
It is medically appropriate and consistent with CDC and ACA guidelines to perform testing as part of a comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation program at intervals including:
- Pre-arrival PCR testing of all campers and staff
- PCR testing of all campers and staff 3-5 days after arrival
- Testing of any symptomatic campers or staff
Camp Echo is sending all camper’s health insurance information and mailing addresses to Grapefruit at the end of this week. Prior to each session, Grapefruit will send a PCR test kit directly to camper’s homes. Families will then mail the test to Grapefruit’s lab via FedEx.
We know some families have pre-camp travel plans, and you will have the option to update your mailing address for the pre-camp PCR test. We also know that at home testing may be a challenge for some families! Camp Echo staff will be available at the McGaw YMCA in Evanston to support in person testing the Thursday afternoon before each session.
Testing at Camp
Grapefruit will support on-site PCR testing at Camp Echo the first Wednesday of each session. Camp Echo will also have access to PCR tests to use if any campers or staff present COVID symptoms.
How does it work?
Whether at home or on-site, each patient will have a video call with a practitioner from Grapefruit. They will ask a few questions and give instructions for how to self-administer the test. Tests will then be mailed back to Grapefruit’s labs. As we mentioned before, these tests will be billed to patients’ health insurance at zero cost to you through the CARES act. The video visit is a key component of this process!
Adventure trip participants will follow the same protocols as on-site campers, however their second PCR test will be done upon completion of their trip. Trip guides will also have rapid tests on trail to test any symptomatic campers or staff.
Results & Communication
Pro-active communication with families will continue to be of vital importance to our team this summer. When campers are sick at camp, hearing directly from our team reassures parents and guardians, provides an opportunity for our team to answer questions, and allows for direct communication with campers if necessary.
In alignment with best practices of medical care and communication, parents will be receiving test results from Grapefruit Testing prior to, or at the same time as, Camp Echo staff. However, if a camper were to be displaying symptoms of COVID, they would have already heard from our team and parents who are receiving notification of a positive 3-day COVID test result in the summer without hearing from us can be confident that their camper is asymptomatic.
Prior to camp, we will share sample communications in the event of a positive test at camp, whether it is their camper, a cabinmate, or someone else at camp. In any of these situations, we will be communicating pro-actively with updates on the health of our entire camp population.
We are hopeful that the increasing vaccine availability for campers and staff will lead to a safer summer at camp. At the same time, we will remain very cautious with our COVID safety protocols and testing procedures. Camp Echo staff members are being strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and, as of late April, approximately 90% of Camp Echo summer staff are already in process of being fully vaccinated.
Based on what we know now, we expect to require vaccinated campers and staff to participate in our testing practices throughout the summer. Vaccinated campers and staff will continue to follow the COVID-mitigation interventions such as mask usage, physical distancing, and frequent handwashing.
We are working with Grapefruit to align our testing strategy for campers and staff who may have been exposed to a positive case at camp, in accordance with ACA, CDC, and Michigan Department of Public Health guidance. This plan will take into account whether or not individuals are vaccinated.
I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS AND THOUGHTS, WHO CAN I CONTACT?!?
There are many more questions to answer, so please share ANY COVID-related questions you have (including about Grapefruit and our testing strategy) through this Google Form. Please do not email questions directly to the Camp Echo staff.