Summer 2021 Updates 3.1*

*May 27, 2021, v. 3.1.

New sections: Final Pre-Arrival Requirements, including Testing Strategy for ALL Vega Campers and Camper-Parent Zooms & Virtual Visiting Day Packages

Updated: Creating our “Vega Bubble” in the First 5 or 6 Days of Camp, What if my daughter tests positive?, and What if a positive case is confirmed at camp, and my daughter is considered a close contact/exposed?

Final Pre-Arrival Requirements, including Testing Strategy for ALL Vega Campers

Vaccinations*

The recent CDC and Maine guidance relaxing precautions for fully vaccinated individuals are most welcome, however they do not apply to our Vega Family of 500 individuals of approximately 300 campers, ages 7-16, and 200 staff. 

We only have one chance to “get this right” and are requiring fully vaccinated Campers and Staff follow the same pre-arrival protocols and testing procedures as unvaccinated Campers and Staff. 

*Nurses from the Maine General Medical Center in Augusta are available with advance scheduling to come to Vega to administer Pfizer doses to campers 12+. Please let us know if you are interested so that we can discuss next steps, consent forms, risks, etc.  It is not guaranteed that Vega will move forward with this, but want to consider all our/your options.


Pre-Arrival Responsibilities for All Campers (and Staff)

The most important step in successfully creating our “Vega Bubble” is everyone arriving healthy!!  While being fully vaccinated will certainly help with this tremendously, being vaccinated does not mean you are immune from carrying and transmitting COVID-19. 

If your daughter becomes infected it will delay, or possibly ruin, your daughter’s chance to join us at camp, not to mention putting the entire Vega summer – and  your summer plans – at risk were she to arrive infected. 

We are counting on you, our Vega Families, to be vigilant about minimizing your daughter’s chances of exposure, especially in the ten (10) days leading up to her Arrival. 

  • Beginning on June 15th/16th:
    • When not at home, physically distance and wear a mask
    • Avoid unnecessary travel
    • Avoid high-density settings or situations where you/she cannot limit exposure such as large group gatherings or even eating at restaurants
    • Refraining from indoor social gatherings with people outside of your household
    • Please don’t take any risks! Follow best practices and when in doubt, ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” 

Pre-Arrival Testing

We are asking you, our Vega families, to arrange for all Pre-Arrival Testing. All campers must follow Vega’s testing strategy and you must email official test results to covidtesting@campvega.com by the due dates and times outlined below in order to attend.

1. Pre-Arrival PCR: 5-7 Days before arrival

  • Every camper must obtain a PCR Test on one of the following days. Please schedule your daughter’s test now for:
    • Saturday, June 19th,
    • Sunday, June 20th, OR 
    • Monday, June 21st
  • Email official test results to covidtesting@campvega.com by:
    • Wednesday, June 23rd by 10:00pm Eastern Time

2. Pre-Arrival Rapid PCR or Rapid Antigen: 2 Days before arrival

  • Obtain a Rapid Antigen, or Rapid PCR if accessible, on:
    •  Thursday, June 24th 
  • Prepare to use a local clinic, testing center, home kit or doctor’s office for this test. If you must use a home kit, we recommend purchasing the BinaxNOW Antigen Self-Test. They are available at most retail pharmacies or online and are usually approx. $25 for a 2-pack. The BinaxNOW home kit has instructions for sharing results. 
  • Email official test results to covidtesting@campvega.com by:
    • Friday, June 25th by 10:00pm Eastern Time 
  • West Coast Campers arriving on Friday, June 25th must obtain your Pre-Arrival Rapid PCR or Rapid Antigen test on Wednesday, June 23rd. Test results must be emailed on Thursday, June 24th no later than 10:00pm Eastern Time 
  • This test should capture any active infections before traveling to camp and is inline with the CDC and State of Maine recommendations for proof of a negative viral test 72 hours or less before arrival.

Medical Documentation Required in order to join a Vega Travel Group or enter Vega

If any of the below are missing or incomplete, your daughter will NOT be allowed to board a Vega flight, motor coach or enter any Vega vehicle, or if being dropped-off, enter Vega grounds.  

  • Pre-Arrival Test Results
    Email results of Pre-Arrival PCR and Pre-Arrival Rapid Test to covidtesting@campvega.com
  • Health History Form
    Complete this online form on Camp in Touch/Campanion App

  • Immunization Record
    Complete or upload on Camp in Touch/Campanion App

  • Pre-Arrival Screening Form
    Complete this online form on Camp in Touch/Campanion App 

Download the free Campanion App from the Apple App Store or Google Play for mobile access to Camp in Touch, Forms & Documents and easy document upload/scanning from your phone, and/or save the Camp in Touch URL – vega.campintouch.com 


Arrival Day & Confirming “Bubble” Testing

3. Arrival Day PCR

  • Your daughter will need to provide a saliva sample for a PCR test on Saturday, June 26th. She will be in a relaxed setting and will have ample time to provide an adequate 1-1.5ml sample.
  • Results expected between 12-24 hours, and by the evening of Sunday, June 27th at the latest. 
    • While campers and staff are not required to mask within their own cohort/bunk, and are not allowed to ever sleep with a mask, we will support any camper or staff member who chooses to do so while awaiting the Arrival Day PCR results. 
  • This test should capture any exposures since the June 19th/20th/21st PCR that may not have been detectable on the June 24th test. 

4. All-Camp “Bubble” PCR

  • All Campers and Staff will need to provide a saliva sample for a PCR test on Thursday, July 1st or Friday, July 2nd. 
  • Results expected on Friday, July 2nd or Saturday, July 3rd. 
  • This test should capture any Travel Day exposure.

During Camp Testing

  • Routine surveillance testing may be implemented.
  • As needed Rapid Antigen and molecular/PCR testing for symptomatic individuals and/or for contact tracing. The same kind of relaxed setting will be organized as on Arrival Day.
  • Vega is able to perform onsite rapid antigen tests, as well as 30 min. PCR-quality molecular tests. PCR tests are sent to a nearby lab with results in 12-24 hours.

Pre-Departure Testing

  • All Campers and Staff are scheduled to receive a saliva PCR test on August 5th. Details may change depending on current medical recommendations and travel requirements at that time.
  • Specific pre-departure travel requirements can be communicated to Kyle and Emily and we will do our best to accommodate them. 

What if my daughter tests positive?

If your daughter tests and is confirmed positive while at Vega, we expect you to pick her up as soon as possible. We are prepared to isolate and care for her at camp until you arrive, and for the entire 7-10 day isolation period, but only under the most extreme extenuating circumstances. She could return to camp/her cabin after registering two negative PCR tests and is cleared by Vega’s physician.

If a camper tests and is confirmed positive on one of the two Pre-Arrivals Tests, she would be unable to come to camp until she isolated for 7-10 days, registers two negative molecular/PCR tests and is cleared by her home physician and Vega’s physician.

What if my daughter tested positive in April, May, or early June?

The CDC does not recommend getting tested again in the three months after a positive viral test if the person does not have symptoms of COVID-19. Campers and staff who have had a positive viral test in the 3 months prior to starting camp and have met the criteria to end isolation should have a letter from their healthcare provider documenting the positive test date and stating the individual is cleared to end isolation.4

If your daughter has tested positive for Covid-19 after April 25th, please contact Kyle and Emily.

Creating our “Vega Bubble” in the First 5 or 6 Days of Camp

This is the time for us to use every control safeguard at our disposal to minimize the possibility of an outbreak, IF there is Covid at camp.

Every cabin will be a “cohort” or “pod” or “household” and we do this to “limit exposure” or “limit close contacts.”

Activities and meals will run under a temporarily modified structure to attain the maximum possibility of cohorting. Once our “Vega Bubble” is confirmed on/around Day 6, campers should be able to begin following their individual schedules and camp overall can mostly operate “as normal.”

Travel to camp

Travel confirmations will be emailed to all families on Thursday, June 4th, which will include travel day safety protocols.

Both airplanes and our contracted motor coaches have measures in place to reduce virus transmission thus limiting exposure such as mandated masking, high air exchange rates, enhanced air filtration and high floor to ceiling air flow rates. With proper masking and distancing while in other congregate indoor spaces like airport security lines and waiting areas, and frequent hand washing/sanitizing, we will limit exposure within travel groups.

We will be keeping diligent record of seating locations, etc. to have on hand in case we need to do any travel group contact tracing.

What if a positive case is confirmed at camp, and my daughter is considered a close contact/exposed?

If a positive case is found at camp, contact tracing will identify all exposed individuals, which is why we are limiting exposure through cohorts and other measures.

If your daughter/her bunk is exposed they would return to cohorting and go to activities and meals as a bun for 7-10 days and two negative molecular/PCR tests.

Layering multiple safeguards

Our goal is to make camp this summer as normal as possible. In order to do so we first need to feel confident that our Vega bubble is secure.

There is not one strategy we can rely on to prevent Covid from entering Vega, or one strategy to prevent transmission if it does. Rather, we need to implement multiple control strategies, layering them to create the safest possible environment for your daughters and everyone in the Vega family.

Multilayered Control Strategies1

  • Pre-screening and pre-camp behaviors/compliance
  • Viral testing
  • Symptom screening
  • Masking
  • Cohorts
  • Move and socialize outdoors as much as possible
  • Physical distancing
  • Create a culture of safety and good habits
  • Decrease density
  • Ventilation in all indoor locations
  • Cleaning and disinfecting

If we all do our part before and after arrivng, and especially in the 10-14 days before camp and the first few days after arriving, we have a MUCH greater chance of successfully securing our Vega bubble.

Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Ventilation

In addition to our daily housekeeping procedures, we are adding multiple layers of cleaning and disinfecting protocols to further reduce the potential for transmission.

Vega has purchased three electrostatic sprayers to effectively and quickly destroy viruses, including COVID-19, in high-traffic, indoor spaces. Trained staff will use the sprayers alongside our already rigorous disinfection procedures

Hand sanitizer dispensers are being installed at every building and location’s doorway or entrance, and everyone will be trained to “wash-in/wash-out” to further protect everyone’s health.

All camper cabins are already equipped with ceiling and window fans, industrial ceiling ventilation fans. UV lights above ceiling fans (where appropriate) will further help reduce transmission.

UV light wands will also be distributed throughout camp, including for each cabin for trained counselors to assist in disinfecting surfaces and items in the bunk as needed.

Until our Vega bubble has been confirmed, all indoor activities will be modified to take place outdoors. Tents for some activities (and the dining hall) will be installed.

What about masks and physical distancing?

The CDC’s current guidance for what constitutes an exposure/a close contact is everyone in the infected person’s household/cohort and anyone else who was within 6 feet of the infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. The definition of a close contact applies regardless of whether either person was wearing a mask, inside or outside.5

So, based on the CDC’s current guidance:

  • No masks/distancing needed when only with your cohort, including inside your own cabin.
  • Masks and 6+ feet distance between different cohorts.
  • Sisters will be able to see each other within 6 feet, even give quick hugs, as long as they are outside, wearing masks and are within 6 feet for less than 15 minutes.
  • The whole Vega Community can come together during the cohorting phase, as long as we are outside, wearing masks, and cohorts stay 6+ feet apart from other cohorts.

If everyone follows our Covid protocols before and at camp, and our Day 6 PCR test results on/around Day 6 are all be negative, then we can expand cohorts (most likely to age groups), begin individualized schedules, and have camp operating relatively normally, with extreme caution of course.

The Dining Hall

“Dave and crew here’s to you!” That’s right, our award-winning Dining Hall Manager, Dave Roberts, is back for his 15th summer at Vega. You can look forward to popular favorites, yummy new menu items and the same array of delicious options you’ve come to expect.

There will be some differences. Instead of self-serve buffet lines, we will have staff-served buffet lines. We will also have to spread ourselves out, especially during the initial cohorting phase. To accomplish this we will take advantage of the beautiful Dining Hall Deck and are adding additional tented outdoor seating.

Healthcare Team

Our onsite healthcare team is led by pediatrician Dr. Steven Shukan and his wife Candace (RN).  With over 20 years of summer camp healthcare experience, in addition to a pediatric practice, they are so excited to (finally!) spend their first summer on Echo Lake while helping us provide a healthy and fun summer. 

Dr. Steve and Nurse Candi were prepared to lead our health center in 2020, and are even more ready for 2021.  Their dedicated, kind and professional approach is always evident, and a key reason why RNs who have worked with them at camps in the past have also decided to join Vega’s health care team this summer, which will be larger than ever.

Dr. Jill Baren, MD, (Vega alum – camper and counselor) will provide telehealth back-up and support for Dr. Shukan throughout the summer. Dr. Baren is a board certified pediatric emergency physician who practices at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and is the immediate Past-President of the American Board of Emergency Medicine. She is also working with us to develop and review our Covid-19 protocols.

In addition to our talented healthcare team, we are incredibly fortunate to have an extensive network of resources as we continue to develop and implement our Covid-19 protocols, such as other experienced camp directors, boarding school headmasters, regional and national camp associations and sections of the American Camp Association, Maine DHHS, CDC, leaders in testing and more.

Camper-Parent Zooms & Virtual Visiting Day Packages

We are close to finalizing details for your Three (3) Scheduled Zooms with your daughter. Zooms will be taking place at re-arranged times by age group. You can expect to receive an email from us soon with more information

Similarly, we have developed a Visiting Day Package program, which will encompass so much more than just sending food and treats. We are excited to share with you soon!