Enrolled Family COVID-19 FAQs
COVID-19 is an ever-changing situation. See below for information for enrolled families and please note that policies are subject to change. This page will be updated regularly.
It’s important that Session A, B, SCIT, TLI and Quest families attend the required Town Hall in May/June to get the most up-to-date information before your child begins their 8 day quarantine. A Taste of Camp families have a required Pre-Camp Orientation in July. Click here for Town Hall and Orientation details and to RSVP.
Has the public health department given the green light for summer camps to re-open?
- Yes. The California Department of Public Health announced on March 11 that residential camps will be able to re-open starting June 1, 2021! As part of our planning process we are collaborating with the ACA and the CDC to ensure we develop our protocols in line with their recommendations and requirements.
Health, Safety & Testing
Do you have COVID-19 policies in place to ensure safety for Camp programs?
Yes. We have developed extensive guidelines to proactively create safe programs by limiting the spread of communicable disease. These guidelines have all been created with our COVID Task Force, a team of experts advising us on best practices. All practices were developed to meet or exceed guidelines put forth by the American Camp Association (ACA), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Tuolumne County Department of Public Health. See below for further information.
What resources does Tawonga have in place to respond to illness at Camp?
- The safety of our community is our top priority. Our fully-equipped health center is staffed 24 hours a day. Our medical team includes a doctor, nurse, and medical assistants. Our Health Center Director, Stacy Dorian, is a highly trained emergency room nurse who has worked with us for seven consecutive summers and was named “Camp Nurse of the Year” by the Association of Camp Nurses (more on Stacy here). Our volunteer physicians rotate throughout the summer, and specialize in emergency medicine, pediatrics, or family medicine.
- We work with a COVID Task Force, a team of experts advising us on best practices. They will be available to advise us throughout the summer.
- We built a brand new Health Center with upgraded amenities to better meet our campers’ health needs. This facility includes numerous isolation rooms to use as needed. We will also have additional spaces available for isolation if necessary.
- All Session A, B, SCIT, TLI and Quest campers will be required to quarantine for 8 days prior to Camp within driving distance of Tawonga. A Taste of Camp campers will be asked to avoid high-risk situations for 8 days before coming to Camp such as air travel, large gatherings, indoor dining, and indoor day camp.
- On the Wednesday or Thursday before Camp, campers will take an RT-PCR test.
- Before boarding the bus, campers will take a rapid COVID-19 test.
- During the first 1-2 weeks of the session, campers will be in a pod with 12 bunkmates and 2-3 counselors. For A Taste of Camp, the campers will remain in their pod of 12 campers and 2-3 counselors the entire session.
- When campers and staff need to interact with people outside of their pod, they will meet two out of the following three criteria: 1) wearing a mask, 2) interacting outdoors, and 3) remaining at least six feet apart.
- For Session A, B, SCIT and TLI, campers and staff will receive another RT-PCR test 5 days after they arrive. Once additional testing is conducted, if all campers and staff in a cabin test negative, they will be able to expand their pod with the rest of their unit.
COVID-19 symptoms and positive tests
- All medical staff will be trained to identify and respond to COVID-19 symptoms. Any camper or staff who presents COVID-19 symptoms will quarantine in our designated Health Center isolation areas. We will conduct a COVID-19 test, and the family of the camper will immediately be contacted by the director of our health center and/or our doctor, who will share the plan for testing and treatment. We will perform contact tracing and will quarantine and test any close contacts of the affected individual.
- If a camper tests positive for COVID-19, parents/guardians should plan to arrive at Camp and pick them up within 24 hours. If you’re not in town, please prepare your emergency contact for this expectation in advance.
- In the event that we send your child home early as a result of a positive COVID-19 test, we will do our best to provide your family with a pro-rated refund; however, we cannot guarantee it at this time.
- We are optimistic that our summer staff will be vaccinated and are actively working with our staff to support this process. The CDC has approved summer staff as essential childcare workers in category 1B, so our staff is currently eligible to receive the vaccine in most counties. We are working with public health departments to get our staff vaccinated and the vast majority of our staff is reporting they have either received one shot or have appointments scheduled.
- We do not expect campers to be vaccinated.
- In order to contain possible exposure and spread of COVID-19, we are requiring face masks that cover both the nose and mouth when campers and staff are interacting with people from other pods. A pod is like a household, comprised of one cabin including 12 campers and 2-3 staff.
- Masks will not be required when campers and staff are located inside their own cabins and when they are outdoors and more than six feet apart from any other pod.
- Campers should bring eight washable masks with them to Camp, and a mesh bag to wash them in. We will wash masks on laundry days, once a week.
How will you keep us up to date on the health and wellbeing of our children?
As always, we will call you if your child is ill or having difficulties adjusting to Camp. With the longer 3.5 week sessions, we will also provide a mid-session update for families. Otherwise, no news is good news! You are always welcome to reach out to us for an update on how your child is doing by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling our San Francisco office at 415.543.2267 and leaving a message. We will respond to all inquiries within 24 hours during normal business hours. You are also welcome to follow the blog for daily updates from Tawonga – subscribe here.
Required pre-Camp quarantine for Session A, B, SCIT, TLI and Quest
- All campers and staff must quarantine for 8 days prior to Camp within driving distance of Tawonga.
- During this quarantine period, campers and staff will self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19.
- Campers and staff will take a pre-camp RT-PCR COVID test (specifics will be emailed).
- Parents and other household members should only leave the house for work, essential activities or safe outdoor gatherings. While out of the house, they should wear masks, social distance and hand wash frequently.
- Safe outdoor gatherings is defined as follows: Campers, staff, and the members of their households will follow these principles when interacting with people outside of their household:
- Masks: Always wear a mask.
- Outside: Only interact with people from other households outside, never indoors except for essential activities.
- Duration: Limit the length of the time that you are interacting with people from other households to less than two hours.
*If you want an exception to our in-person school policy, please fill out this form.
**If you will not be at your home or have access to FedEx on the Wednesday before the session starts to take your PCR test, you must make other arrangements. A negative RT-PCR COVID test taken on the Wednesday before Camp is required.
Pre-Camp guidelines for A Taste of Camp
- In order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 being brought into Camp, all campers will be asked to avoid high-risk situations for 8 days before coming to Camp, such as air travel, large gatherings, indoor dining, and indoor day camp. More information about the pre-camp guidelines will be available soon.
- During this period, campers will self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 and take an at-home RT-PCR COVID test.
- Join virtual Town Halls on Zoom to meet with Tawonga directors and ask your specific questions. All sessions are geared towards parents/guardians, but campers are welcome to join. We recommend that you attend a new or returning family Town Hall (for Session A, B, TLI and SCIT families) and require that you attend a pre-Camp quarantine Town Hall.
- Click here for specific Town Hall info and choose the date(s) that work best for your family.
- A Taste of Camp families are required to attend a pre-camp virtual orientation. Click here to choose a date and RSVP.
What will happen if a camper or staff member tests positive or develops symptoms for COVID-19 during the 8-day quarantine?
Any child or staff who develops COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19 during the two weeks before camp begins should contact our San Francisco office immediately to determine if they will be able to attend Camp. This will depend on many factors including when they developed symptoms and when they tested positive. In most scenarios, campers who test positive will not be able to come to camp and will have the option to receive a full refund.
If the adults in my child’s household are vaccinated, is there flexibility with the 8 day quarantine policy?
No. The CDC recommends more conservative guidelines for congregate settings, and we have chosen to take a conservative approach. Some additional precautions in the week before each session will reduce the chance of introducing COVID-19 into our camp bubble, so that we can provide the best camp experience possible.
My kid is nervous about a long session, do you have any advice?
- This is common! Click here for seven tips to prepare your child for Camp.
- Join a Town Hall for parents to learn more about what to expect and get questions answered. Click here for more details and to RSVP.
- About a month before your child’s session, we will email you a roster of other kids in your child’s session. This is a great time to reach out to other children in your area to set up some virtual playdates or socially distanced meet-ups. If you would like to set up a playdate before then, email email@example.com and we will help connect you with another family your child’s age.
- For new families interested in checking out Tawonga before sending your child to Camp, we recommend joining an at-Camp tour with one of our directors. Sign up here for a tour on May 15 or May 16.
- If you have further concerns and want to brainstorm ways to prepare your child for Camp, email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a call with the director. We’re always happy to help!
Arrival plan / buses to Camp
- In order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 being brought into Camp, all campers must pass new COVID-19 screening requirements. See 8-day quarantine, testing plan information and pre-Camp guidelines above.
- Buses will be offered from the Bay Area to Camp for an additional $50/camper for Session A, B, SCIT and TLI to help Tawonga offset some of this unexpected cost. You also have the option to drive your child to Tawonga if you prefer. With COVID-19 cases decreasing and a robust pre-Camp quarantine, screening and testing plan, our staff and COVID-19 Task Force feel confident that a bus to Camp is a safe option.
- Transportation preferences must be noted on a NEW transportation form in your CampInTouch account.
- Buses will be offered for A Taste of Camp families from the Bay Area. This cost is included in the session fee.
- For safety reasons, the following precautions will be taken:
- Rapid COVID-19 tests will be administered in the parking lot prior to departure
- We will have two staggered departure times to decrease the number of people in the parking lot at once.
- Oakland will be the only departure location – we will not be offering buses from Oakdale Dorada Park or Los Angeles on the way to Camp, though we will offer buses from Camp to these locations at the end of the session
- Buses will not be filled to capacity
- Buses will have ventilation and air filtration for the duration of the ride
- Masks will be required in the parking lot and for the duration of the ride, except for a lunch stop at a park in Oakdale where campers will be spread out.
- SCITs need to be vaccinated in order to take the bus to Camp.
I’m driving my child to Camp. Can I stay at a hotel the night before Camp drop off?
You can stay in a motel, hotel, campground or rental home that allows you to remain socially distant from people outside of your household. No shared bathrooms, kitchens, elevators, lobbies or other public facilities would be appropriate because they risk exposing your family to COVID-19 and bringing it to Camp.
Return from Camp
- Buses will be provided for all campers on the way home (from Camp to the Bay Area and to Oakdale Dorada Park). We are also offering a bus from Camp to Los Angeles for Session A, B, SCIT and TLI campers for an additional fee. We do not have a bus to Los Angeles following A Taste of Camp.
- Transportation preferences must be noted on a NEW transportation form in your CampInTouch account.
My family lives outside of the Bay Area. What protocols do you have in place and how can my child get to Camp?
- In order to minimize the chance of exposure, we are asking all of our Session A, B, SCIT, TLI and Quest campers to stay home for 8 days before coming to Camp. If your child needs to fly to get to Tawonga, we require that your child completes their air travel ahead of this 8-day window and then quarantines in the Bay Area or another location within driving distance of Tawonga.
- Southern California families will need to drive their kids to Camp. Tawonga will provide a bus at the end of Session A and Session B from Camp to Los Angeles for an additional $100 fee. Families will have the option to choose this bus for their child(ren) when filling out forms. More details to come.
If my child tests positive for COVID-19, will they have to leave Camp early?
Yes. If a camper tests positive for COVID-19, parents/guardians should plan to arrive at Camp and pick them up within 24 hours. If you’re not in town, please prepare your emergency contact for this expectation in advance.
We’re so excited for the season ahead and are planning activities to make this summer incredible! For the first 1-2 weeks of Sessions A and B and for all of A Taste of Camp, campers will do all activities with their cabin group and will remain socially distanced from all other cabins. Regular camp activities such as arts and crafts, sports, hiking, river trips, garden blocks and drama will still happen. The only difference is that specialist staff will lead activities outside and with masks on. For our longer sessions, later in the session, provided that everyone has re-tested negative for COVID-19, we plan to offer unit activities and possibly all-Camp programs. We’ll provide more details as the summer approaches.
Click here to see an example of a typical day at Camp this summer!
In order to promote safety, our food service will follow best practices for operating during COVID-19, including limiting the number of people inside the Dining Hall at any time, eliminating buffets, and dining outdoors as much as possible. All food workers will be masked while in the kitchen and serving food. We’ll provide more details as the summer approaches.
Song session will take place outside so there’s plenty of space to sing and dance! Campers and staff will be required to wear masks during this time when they’re unable to be more than 6 feet away from other pods.
If it is raining and activities need to be moved indoors, campers and staff will wear masks and stay distanced from other pods. Masks are not needed if the group is inside of their own cabin.
Mental/emotional health support and programming
- After a year of dealing with COVID-19, social isolation and increased mental health challenges, we know that children will benefit from a camp experience more than ever, and we are prepared and ready to support campers along the way. Our counselors go through a 10-day training which prepares them to handle situations that may arise. Therapists will lead extra mental health trainings for counselors during this time. In addition, we have a team of inclusion counselors, unit heads, directors and therapists that are ready to support as needed.
- We will have intentional programming at the beginning of each session designed to support campers going back into social situations. Counselors will also have one on one check-ins with campers every day.
- Some children will meet with a Camp therapist during their stay at Camp if we think it will help them have a more positive experience. If your child is currently seeing a therapist, please fill out the Consent to Release Confidential Information form located in your CampInTouch account. If you have any questions regarding the Camp therapists or other mental health supports available at Camp, please contact the San Francisco office before your child’s program begins.
- We are committed to creating a physically and emotionally safe Camp experience for your child(ren) this summer!
Do you have backup staff in place to take over if needed?
Yes! We have hired additional specialists and counselors for this summer.