We are excited to share our plans for making Brown Ledge as safe and fun as possible this summer. The guidelines outlined here may change here as federal and state guidance is updated, so please check back regularly! Based on continued conversations with the camp industry (including the Vermont Camp Association, the American Camp Association, and the Association of Camp Nursing) and other advisors, we are confident that Brown Ledge will be able to operate safely this summer. To read about our COVID-19 planning team, click here.
(Updated as of 6/5/21) COVID-19 FAQ
General COVID Questions
Why is Brown Ledge planning such structured COVID-19 practices when it feels like the world is finally starting to open up?
We are very encouraged by the increasing availability of COVID-19 vaccines, but because we will not have a completely vaccinated pediatric population this summer, we firmly believe it is our responsibility to plan for the safest summer possible for all our campers.
Will there be additional fees associated with COVID-19 this summer?
To ensure that Brown Ledge can safely operate, we have added a COVID-19 fee for the summer of 2021. For single session campers, the COVID-19 fee is $200, and $400 for full session campers and JCs.
What are the “need to know” highlights of this FAQ? (UPDATED 6/5/21)
We encourage you to read this FAQ in full, but if you need a quick refresher as you revisit this page, here are the “need to know” pieces of our COVID Summer 2021 Protocols:
- Before camp: ALL CAMPERS must complete daily health checks and practice a ‘smart quarantine’ with only low-risk behaviors for the 10-14 days leading up to their arrival to camp. Unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated* campers must also take a PCR test 3-5 days before camp and bring a digital or paper copy of negative results on Opening Day. The #1 thing you can do for Brown Ledge is ensure that your camper arrives healthy.
- Travel: Families may now fly to camp, but we cannot accept unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated* unaccompanied minors. All unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated* campers must arrive with a guardian via a private vehicle to camp to complete the check-in process. We are now allowing airport pickups or unaccompanied drop-offs for fully vaccinated campers only.
- Arrival day: Unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated* campers must (1) show their negative PCR tests from within 3-5 days and (2) take a rapid antigen test upon arrival to camp. We are now allowing one, masked, vaccinated family-member beyond the drop off point, and will otherwise work to ensure as much comfort and connection as possible as you drop off your camper.
- Cohorts: Campers will begin our season in cohorts composed of several cabins for meals and activities. We anticipate cohorts can merge as the season progresses with additional negative testing.
- Activities: Fortunately, most of our activities are held outside. For any activities done with mixed cohorts, we will need to follow as much mask wearing and distancing as possible. We will make modifications to ensure safety.
- EVER CHANGING! As the State of Vermont continues to update its traveling restrictions, we will update our protocols as well!
*PLEASE NOTE: Campers will be considered “fully vaccinated” when two weeks have passed since their second vaccine dose. Before then, they will be considered “partially vaccinated” and follow the guidelines for unvaccinated campers.
Before Camp: What to Expect
Getting to Camp
Do campers need to take a COVID test before camp?
Fully-vaccinated campers: No! Fully-vaccinated campers are no longer required to take a PCR test before camp.
Unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated campers: Yes! Brown Ledge is requiring all unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated* campers to arrive at Brown Ledge with a negative PCR test result. Tests must be administered at least 3 (but no more than 5) days before arrival. We cannot accept Antigen or antibody tests. Testing sites can be found through Walgreens and CVS, or if in Vermont, through Vermont’s state testing facilities.
Do campers need to quarantine before camp?
Sort of! Because we still expect our camper population will remain unvaccinated, we are asking ALL FAMILIES to adhere to low-risk behavior during a “Smart Quarantine” for 10-14 days prior to arrival beginning no later than June 14 (for First and Full Session campers) or July 12 (for Second Session campers).
What is the “Smart Quarantine”? What activities can campers do during that time?
A Smart Quarantine means practicing a low risk behavior routine for the 10-14 days before arriving at camp. Below you’ll find the do’s and don’ts of a Smart Quarantine:
- Wear a mask when out in public or with anyone not from your immediate household
- Practice social distancing
- Limit your travel and activities to essential tasks only, including attending work and school activities
- Participate in social visiting
- Attend large gatherings
- Be indoors without a mask with people outside of your household
What can campers use as a Smart Quarantine schedule?
*denotes PCR test requirements for unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated campers
First and Full Session Campers:
- June 14 (10 days to camp!): Begin your Smart Quarantine of low-risk behaviors!
- June 21 (3 days to camp!): PCR test!*
- June 23 (1 day to camp!): receive negative results from PCR test!*
- June 24 (ARRIVAL DAY!): Arrive at camp, symptom-free with a negative PCR test in hand*!
Second Session Campers:
- July 12 (10 days to camp!): Begin your Smart Quarantine of low-risk behaviors!
- July 19 (3 days to camp!): PCR test!*
- July 21 (1 day to camp!): receive negative results from PCR test!*
- July 22 (ARRIVAL DAY!): Arrive at camp, symptom-free with a negative PCR test in hand*!
For International Travelers: What are the current travel guidelines for international campers?
The State of Vermont instructs international travelers to follow current CDC guidelines, which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html. For campers traveling from outside the U.S. in need of support navigating these guidelines, please contact [email protected].
Will Brown Ledge administer COVID tests on Arrival Day?
Fully-vaccinated campers: No! Fully-vaccinated campers will no longer be tested on arrival day.
Unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated campers: Yes! Once your camper arrives at Brown Ledge and gets checked in, we will administer a rapid antigen COVID test. By administering tests upon arrival, we hope to be able to ensure the safety of our campers and staff.
What will Arrival Day look like?
Families will find logistics for Opening Day in the Family Handbook, but here is what you can expect:
- When to arrive: Families will have a specific drop-off window to arrive at camp, which you’ll find in the family handbook.
- Step 1: COVID test check (for unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated campers)
- Families will be asked to provide proof of their camper’s negative PCR test taken 3-5 days prior to arrival. We are able to accept a digital or printed copy of your camper’s negative test results. Campers will not be allowed into camp without the results of a negative PCR test.
- We will be administering rapid Antigen tests to campers on arrival in addition to the PCR tests. Campers will not be allowed into camp with a positive Antigen test. If the Antigen test indicates your camper is positive for COVID-19, families will be asked to wait to drop their camper off until a negative test is confirmed.
- Step 2: Meet our staff and turn in your forms & meds
- Families will have the opportunity to talk to their camper’s counselor, others from our summer staff, and our leadership team.
- Families will be directed to our Health Center staff to meet the nurses and turn in any medications, vitamins, or supplements.
- Families will be directed to camp office staff where we will ensure all forms have been completed. Campers will also be able to leave any valuables such as cell phones, money, plane tickets, or passports with the office staff for safekeeping.
- Step 3: Say your goodbyes
- We are now allowing one masked, vaccinated family member to escort their camper to their cabin for a short move-in window.
- Families will have space to say a thorough goodbye to your camper. We will request that you maintain social distance from other families.
Late Arrivals and Early Departures
My camper needs to arrive to camp late/leave early due to other obligations. Can you accommodate that?
We are able to allow early departures from camp if necessary (e.g. for early school schedules), but we are not able to accommodate late arrivals to camp to ensure proper quarantining protocols and the safety of our campers and staff overall. (Please note that as part of this, JCs and campers will all arrive on the same day and there will not be an early arrival date for JCs this year.)
We are currently exploring if exceptions can be made to this policy for fully vaccinated campers.
During Camp: What to Expect
What about testing during camp?
We will be testing unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated campers and staff throughout the summer to ensure ongoing health and safety. Currently, we are planning each session to have a rapid antigen test for arrivals on Day 1 and PCR test for all of camp on Day 4 and Day 7. The costs associated with testing are included in your COVID fee; there will be no additional testing costs beyond the COVID fee.
What happens if a camper has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19?
If a camper exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, they will go into isolation and receive a COVID-19 test. Parents and caregivers will be immediately informed of their camper’s health status and wellbeing; camp staff will remain in close communication as we navigate next steps.
If a camper has a confirmed case of COVID-19, we ask that families pick up their camper within 24 hours. If you have concerns about your ability to pick up your camper within 24 hours, please contact [email protected].
Adjusted Visiting Policy
Will I be able to visit my campers at Brown Ledge this summer?
Sadly, no. Because of COVID-19, families will not be able to visit their camper(s) this summer regardless of vaccination status. We know this is a loss for families, but we believe this is necessary to keep our community safe, and are following the guidance of ACA and the example of fellow Vermont camps. By limiting nonessential traffic in and out of camp, we will be better able to ensure the safety of our campers. We know this departure from our usual policy may be challenging, but know this is a necessary step to protect our campers and staff.
Cohorts & Other Precautions
Will you group campers in any specific way?
Yes! Cohorts are a central part of our COVID safety plan, because they mitigate the possibility of an outbreak in addition to supporting contact tracing and quarantining when necessary. We will organize our campers and JCs into groups made up of individual cabins (think households or pods), who will eat and participate in most activities together. Cohort size and allowances will likely be determined by the State of Vermont’s operating guidelines, but we believe each cohort will be roughly 16-20 campers. Campers will not have to wear masks with their immediate cabin members, or as we call them at Brown Ledge, their bunkies. Cohorts will mix at camp-wide gatherings, but only with the use of additional mitigation measures such as physical distancing and masks. Finally, we plan to hold larger gatherings outside.
These cohorts may gradually expand as we confirm the safety of our bubble through testing, but we do anticipate that there will be no camp-wide gatherings without social distancing and mask-wearing in effect. We are hopeful that by utilizing testing and safety measures, we will be able to moderately loosen safety measures when possible.
Will campers still have to wear masks?
Because many campers will not be vaccinated by Opening Day, we still plan to utilize the best possible non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to limit the spread of COVID-19. Mask wearing, social distancing, and gathering outside are our three golden rules. We plan to always have two of the three NPIs in place, except for when campers are sleeping or eating. There may be times when we utilize all three NPIs, like large gatherings. By using these NPIs, we will be able to move closer to the full Freedom of Choice program we offer each summer, which is both central to our mission and a high priority for us!
Mental, Emotional, and Social Health
We recognize that our campers are coming to Brown Ledge after a year unlike any other. As we navigate the logistics of running our program, we are also paying careful attention to how these protocols may impact the social and emotional health of our campers. Our Assistant Director, Marjorie, will be working with staff to ensure that we provide holistic and thorough support to campers who may struggle to adjust to a new environment. Marjorie is a long time Brown Ledger and licensed social worker with extensive experience working with children, youth and families as an advocate, social worker and therapist.
How is camp preparing to meet the social and emotional needs of campers given the current COVID reality?
We know that our campers have experienced countless disruptions to their lives in the last year, but we are confident that camp remains a place where Brown Ledgers can relax and have fun, learn new things, and build community. We have an exceptional team of support staff who will continue the work of meeting campers where they’re at and partnering with parents to support a successful summer at camp.
How can I support my child in preparing for a sleep-away experience after so much time at home?
Leaving home to attend camp any summer can be challenging for some campers. We know families cant currently rely on sleep-overs or overnight school trips to ‘practice’ being away from home, but we do feel confident in our ability to work with campers as they navigate the transition from home to camp. Our staff is prepared and excited to support campers as they acclimate to socializing at Brown Ledge. Please reach out to our Assistant Director Marjorie at [email protected] if you have any concerns about your camper.
My camper has been at Brown Ledge before. It sounds like things will be a bit different. How can I support my camper(s) as they navigate the prospect of a different summer at Brown Ledge?
Brown Ledge will continue to stick closely to our mission, but you’re right — things do look different this year. Here’s what we’d share with our returning campers: Brown Ledgers are undeniably creative, curious, and innovative. We know that for every change we are implementing, you will adapt with the spirit and vigor that make Brown Ledge the camp we love. Our values haven’t changed, and we know that this summer will be just as magical as each summer before.
Parents and Caregivers, this year has called on us all to adapt to deep challenges and change. We encourage you to highlight your camper’s resilience, and to explore their concerns regarding a different summer at Brown Ledge. Our programmatic changes will ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community this summer, but we are also committed to maintaining the things that make Brown Ledge the welcoming, fun place that keeps campers returning year after year. You can assure your camper(s) that no change has been made without careful consideration of how it aligns with our mission, culture and values.
What parts of Brown Ledge will be the same?
While our team is still navigating exactly what the nitty-gritty of a Brown Ledge day will look like, we can reassure our returning campers and their families that certain parts of Brown Ledge will be the same.
- Will campers still get to choose what activities they do each day? Yes! Like all summers at Brown Ledge, our freedom of choice philosophy will guide our program. This means that campers will not have to sign up for activities in advance — they will still get to wake up in the morning and choose what activities they do each day! While choices may have to be slightly more limited to ensure proper cohorting and contact tracing, at least at the beginning of camp, we are determined to ensure campers always have the freedom of choice to craft a Brown Ledge day that’s right for them.
- Will there be singing? Yes, of course! What would a Brown Ledge summer be without singing? While singing may have to move outdoors or be masked (and not be the actual unmasked time of eating at meals), we’ll be sure to have singing at camp!
- Will there be a JC program, and will they have camper cabins? Yes! Junior Counselors will still have a designated program, including departments and their own camper cabin. Some of these things may need to be modified (outdoor rest hours with JCs and designated department hours that start after a full camp negative COVID test), but we know Brown Ledge wouldn’t be the same without our JC program!
- Will there be riding? Yes! Luckily riding is an outdoor activity that can be safely done during COVID, and we will still structure our riding program by skill level.
- Will there be theater? Yes! While theater may have to move outside due to ventilation requirements and safety precautions, we’re confident we’ll be able to offer a robust theater program – that may even expand to more acting, improv, and stagecraft classes!
My camper is excited about getting a Basic, Intermediate or Vanguard this summer. Will that be possible?
The achievement system at Brown Ledge is a hallmark of our program, and we are working hard to ensure that modifications to the program still enable our campers to work toward their goals when possible. Some activities will have some programmatic changes that may result in a different looking Vanguard program, but we are excited to work with campers to support them in achieving their goals.
Who's making decisions around COVID-19 camp protocols? Brown Ledge's COVID Team
We are in regular communication with, and following guidelines from the Vermont Camp Association, American Camp Association, Association of Camp Nursing, State of Vermont Department of Health, and the Center for Disease Control.
In addition to our year-round staff, our team working on COVID-19 safety protocols for Summer 2021 includes:
- Abby Lovshin-Smith (she/her) – Brown Ledge Camp Director
- Melissa “Fish” Mauer, Registered Nurse (RN) (she/her) – Head Nurse
- Marjorie Isaacs, Licensed Social Worker (LMSW) (she/her) – Assistant Camp Director