Summer 2021 COVID Plans

We are excited to be planning for summer 2021 at Beyond Akeela! As always, our goal of creating a socially immersive community that promotes experiential learning is guiding all of our preparation work, in addition to an unwavering commitment to the emotional and physical health of our campers and staff. The information below will inform you of some of the steps already being taken to ensure that the Beyond Akeela experience in 2021 will be safe and fun for our entire community.

Our objective, in sharing the information below, is to keep you informed about where our plans stand at this time. These details may evolve in the coming months. In fact, we are already preparing for a number of scenarios, allowing us to confidently run Beyond Akeela in whatever environment we find ourselves in come June.

We will update this page accordingly and of course share final policies and procedures with our families closer to the beginning of summer. Last update: March 16, 2021

See some commonly asked questions below.

Can you give me a summary?

Absolutely! The takeaway is that we are opening Beyond Akeela this summer, and that we have a lot of plans and procedures ready to go!
Here are the basics of what to expect from camp, as of now:

  • In collaboration with Franklin Pierce University, we will take extensive measures to create a community of healthy young people for the entirety of our two sessions.
  • All campers and staff will be monitored, assessed and tested prior to arrival, upon arrival, and during each camp session.
  • There will be a lot of cleaning and sanitizing … and even more handwashing and hand-sanitizing.
  • We are confident in our ability to respond if a case of COVID were to be discovered in our community.
  • Beyond Akeela will not be exactly the same as it was in 2019 and before. Campers and staff will be asked to wear masks often. Some of the program and daily logistics will feel different. However, the essence of Beyond Akeela will be as present and as strong as ever. We will be together, surrounded by friends, in a beautiful place, enjoying all that camp has to offer.

Has New Hampshire approved summer camps to open in 2021?

Yes. The State of New Hampshire’s Safer at Home team is responsible for issuing guidance for the reopening of all businesses in the State. The Safer at Home team is making a concerted effort, in collaboration with camp directors, to open overnight programs this summer with appropriate health and safety guidelines to operate under. In fact, they have already issued guidance for summer 2021 that allows camps to open, which have been approved by the governor. They will continue to work with directors to adjust that guidance as the summer approaches.
Do you have COVID-19 policies in place?

Yes. We have created extensive guidelines to proactively create safe programs by limiting the spread of communicable disease. All practices were developed to meet or exceed guidelines put forth by the American Camp Association (ACA), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of New Hampshire’s Safer at Home Re-Opening Task Force. This FAQ will give you a brief glimpse into some of our plans, as they stand to date. Details with updated policies will be available to families as we get closer to the summer.
Are you adding any screening procedures?

The health of the camp community is our top priority. To that end, several procedures will be in place to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 being brought into camp. In addition to quarantining and testing (see questions and answers on these topics below), we plan to pre-screen our campers and staff for the 7 days prior to their arrival. During the quarantine, all Camp families will log daily temperatures of their camper and self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms on a form Beyond Akeela will provide, which will be reviewed by our camp medical staff. Upon arrival, our camp nurse will complete a health check of each camper and staff member. We will not allow any person with symptoms of COVID-19 or an identified COVID-19 exposure in the prior 10 days into camp.

Throughout the session, we will perform daily screenings to ensure the ongoing health of our camp population. We have a protocol in place for any community member who becomes symptomatic and requires quarantine or isolation.

Does my camper have to quarantine before attending Beyond Akeela?

All campers will be required to quarantine for 10 days prior to Camp. Contact should be restricted to members of the household only. Campers should not unnecessarily engage or interact with others outside their immediate household contacts other than during travel to camp or for other necessary purposes (eg. school, medical visits).

We ask all household members to take appropriate physical distancing measures (wearing a mask, staying six feet apart from other people, and washing hands with soap and water frequently) during the quarantine period prior to camp as well. We ask that families do not engage in any high risk social activities (eg. large gatherings, weddings).

We understand that some campers are not able to fully socially distance for 10 days before camp, for circumstances beyond their control. If this is the case for your camper(s), please reach out to our office so we can discuss your family’s situation and whether we are able to accommodate your teen.

What is your plan for COVID-19 testing?

We plan to implement a testing protocol that includes mandatory tests prior to camp, on arrival, and during each camp session. We have been in regular contact with our local health care providers and authorities; we will continue to partner with them to make sure that our protocols are consistent with their recommendations.

We will require a pre-camp COVID-19 test within 2-4 days prior to arrival at camp. This test must be an “upper respiratory tract” PCR test, which includes either a nasal swab or saliva-based test. A negative result must be received and communicated to camp before campers arrive at camp. Additional information on testing options available to our families will be provided likely in May. As mentioned above, all staff and campers will be required to quarantine before and after the pre-camp test, to maximize testing accuracy. We plan to do two tests upon arrival at camp (both a rapid antigen and a PCR test), and a third test 5-6 days after arrival.

We are prepared to conduct additional testing further into the camp session, as needed. We will also have tests on hand in the case any campers or staff show symptoms of COVID-19.

How will campers get to and from Camp?

We are requiring all families who are able to drive their teen directly to camp do so. This includes families planning to fly to New England. If your family is able, please have a parent/guardian fly with your teen and drive them to camp.

We understand this may not be possible for all families for circumstances beyond their control. If you are unable to drop your teen off at camp, please consider one of the following options.

  1. Pair up with another family in your teen’s age group and carpool with that family directly camp; OR
  2. Have your teen fly independently to Boston Logan Airport. Beyond Akeela staff will transport your teen from the airport to camp in either a school bus or a van (with windows open, while masked and appropriately distanced).

We understand that travel to camp requires more effort on everyone’s part this summer. Being together at camp this summer is so important after a year with limited social opportunities. To that end, we will partner with you to help ease this process, so that your teens can have the wonderful experience they deserve!

At the end of each session, we will provide transportation back to Boston Logan Airport and the New York metro area for families to pick up their teens. Campers can also fly home independently out of Boston Logan Airport on the last day of each session.

Please view the transportation section of our Family Handbook for specific details about travel to/from camp.

How will Beyond Akeela interact with the community and Franklin Pierce staff?

Camp operates on a college campus that will have other summer camps present simultaneously, and allows its employees to commute to and from campus. Franklin Pierce University has successfully navigated having over 1000 students on campus throughout the fall and spring semesters, and will implement similar protocols to keep our community safe and healthy. There will be minimal interaction with other groups on campus. There will be interaction with employees of Franklin Pierce at various times, and we will maintain appropriate physical distancing and masking protocols in those environments.

As things stand now, off-campus activities will look different than in previous years. We will follow State guidelines and use our best judgment in planning off-campus activities that require us to interact with others. Campers and staff will always wear masks when interacting with other people, and we will limit, as much as possible, indoor activities with others. We will provide education and clear guidance to campers so they feel confident in understanding the expectations for masking and physical distancing whenever we are off campus.

Will campers and staff be required to wear masks?

As of now, in order to contain possible exposure and spread of COVID-19, Franklin Pierce University requires that appropriate face masks are worn while we are on campus. We and the University require face masks that cover both the nose and mouth. The exceptions are when campers and staff are eating, brushing teeth/showering, in their rooms, or swimming at the lake.

During off-campus trips when we are interacting with the surrounding community, campers and staff will be required to wear masks. In instances when we are off-campus and not interacting with community members, campers and staff will not be required to wear masks when they are with their cohort, or outdoors and physically distant from other cohorts.

Campers should bring ten washable masks with them to camp. Campers will wash masks when they do their laundry.

Will there be limitations on group sizes?

Group sizes will be limited in accordance with guidance from the State. We will likely have each age group cohort together for the duration of camp, along with the staff members in those groups. Pending group sizes and guidance from the State, some age groups may be split into smaller cohorts.

Campers and staff will be able to interact with members of other cohorts throughout camp, provided they meet two out of the following three criteria: masked, outdoors, and physically distanced by at least six feet.

Will there be any restrictions to travelling while at camp?

We anticipate continuing our day trip, hiking, and overnight camping activities this summer. In these instances, we will engage with the surrounding community in outdoor settings, remaining socially distant and wearing masks. We anticipate doing mostly on-campus activities in the first week of camp.

We do not anticipate traveling on our three day overnight trips to Portland, ME and Boston, MA. We will replace that time with additional programming on campus and day trips.

How will meals work?

The campus dining center will be open during the summer, and campers will be served by the campus’ catering company, Sodexo. We will arrive for meals at staggered times relative to other groups, and will eat meals in a separate section of the dining room. The university has taken extensive cleaning and sanitization procedures to ensure eating meals on campus can be done safely. Outdoor seating is available and will be used as frequently as possible, weather permitting.

We will continue our cooking program, including grocery shopping and meal preparation as a group. Groups will consist of one cohort only; there will not be mixed cohort groups cooking together. While groups are cooking, they will be required to wear masks. Cooking groups will eat outdoors on picnic benches as often as possible.

What additional sanitizing and cleaning will be performed?

Franklin Pierce University has implemented a thorough cleaning regimen throughout this school year to maintain a clean and healthy environment on campus. Those same protocols will continue over the summer, which include daily sanitizing/cleaning of common areas in our dorm (eg. bathroom, lounges), and high touch surfaces (eg. door handles, railings). The school’s facility team will also sanitize/clean commonly used meeting spaces around camp between uses (eg. dining hall, meeting rooms). Hand sanitizer will be readily available and hand washing protocols will be established throughout the day.
How will Beyond Akeela respond to a potential COVID-19 case or positive test?

All staff are trained to identify COVID-19 symptoms and respond. Any camper or staff who presents COVID-19 symptoms will be taken to our quarantine space on campus and remain isolated. We will conduct a COVID-19 test and the family of the camper/staff will immediately be contacted by a director or camp health professional, who will partner with the family to implement a plan for testing and treatment.

If a camper is confirmed to have COVID-19, they will need to be picked up by family within 36 hours and brought back home by private transportation.

How will the presence of a vaccine affect our plans for the program?

While we are hopeful that a vaccine will be widely available before the summer, we are proceeding with our plans as if that will not be the case. If it turns out that vaccination has a significant positive impact on the virus’ spread, all the better; we will adjust our plans accordingly.

We will not differentiate activities between campers & staff who have received the vaccine and those who have not. Any vaccinated camper & staff members will follow the same protocols that everyone else at camp is following.

Will a vaccine be required for all campers and staff?

We are in a fortunate situation that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for teens as young as 16, which includes the entire Beyond Akeela camp population. Some campers have reported getting their first doses already. We encourage any family who has access to the vaccine to schedule a vaccination appointment for their camper prior to camp, whenever possible. Access to vaccination varies based on rollouts in each state/county, and as such we will not be requiring the vaccine for campers prior to arrival.

We are somewhat more hopeful that staff members, as “childcare providers”, will be eligible for one of the earlier vaccine distribution phases. We are strongly encouraging, not requiring, all staff to get vaccinated prior to camp arrival.

What if someone in my family is immunocompromised?

Individuals who are immunocompromised – as defined by their medical professional – or live in a home with an immunocompromised person should consult with their doctor(s) before deciding whether or not to participate in a summer camp program.

Though we are taking extensive actions to keep our community safe, Beyond Akeela is not able to guarantee that a person in our community will not be exposed to COVID-19; thus, participation in a camp program during the Coronavirus pandemic is not recommended for individuals with known vulnerabilities that put them at greater risk.

If you have any concerns about this policy, please contact our office to set up a time to talk with a member of our director team.