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Current FamiliesOUR SAFETY PLAN: FAQ

After running a very successful summer in 2021, our Leadership Team (in collaboration with our Health Centre) has again created our proposed 2022 COVID-19 Safety Plan based on the current COVID landscape in Ontario.  The plan covers all aspects of camp-life and it includes the protocols and procedures we will implement to continue to take precautionary measures to provide the safest experience possible. Through a question and answer format below, we have focused on the key elements of our plan. As always, if you have additional questions, please feel free to connect with us. Please note, this is a living document and is subject to change if new guidance and regulations are set by government and local Public Health officials.

List of questions:

1. What organizations are you working with to make this summer as safe as possible?
2.
The Wahanowin COVID Committee – tell us more about that.
3. What is your COVID-19 Vaccination Policy?
4. What have you done to make the camp environment COVID-Safe?
5. What can we do before camp starts to ensure the safety of our kids this summer?
6. Do I need to pack anything differently for my child?
7. Will there be busing to and from camp?
8. 
What are your testing protocols? Will there be an additional cost for this?
9. Will the camp ‘bubble’ exist like it did last summer?
10. Will everyone be able to eat together this summer in the Dining Hall?
11. Will there be any excursions out of camp this summer?
12. Will my child have to wear a mask?
13. Will there be Visitor’s Day?
14. How will you be supporting not only the physical health, but the mental health of both campers and staff?

_________

1. What organizations are you working with to make this summer as safe as possible?

Planning for 2022 essentially began right after our successful summer season in 2021. We ran our Camp Wahanowin program in July and August with no incident of COVID in camp. We took the approach of bringing all of our campers in at the beginning of July and only letting people leave when their sessions were complete. We had a very thorough and well thought out COVID safety plan that included testing, cohorting, masking, cleaning and operational protocols. At the time, Ontario Camps Association developed a COVID-19 Task Force to spearhead the #planforcamp in 2021 and they have continued to provide their support moving into Spring/Summer 2022. Since then, the status of the Reopening Ontario Act is no longer in effect as of March 21st, 2022 and as a result, the Ministry of Health guidance document entitled the COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for Camps is no longer a requirement. With that being said, we are still keeping in mind the health and wellbeing of our community and are making it our priority by still taking precautions within our community living setting. We monitor and follow public health recommendations closely as well as medical advice from our onsite physicians and Health Centre Team. With everything, our plan will continually evolve as the current state of the pandemic changes here in Ontario.  

2. The Wahanowin COVID Committee – tell us more about that.

All organizations have had to designate a leader(s) to spearhead their COVID-19 response. At Wahanowin, that continues to be Elijah and Tia.  To ensure a successful and safe 2022 summer, all COVID plans have been developed in collaboration with our Health Centre Team.  

3. What is your COVID-19 Vaccination Policy?

Before we began Summer 2022 registration last September, we published that “if your child is eligible, they must be ‘fully vaccinated’ against COVID-19 before their session start date in 2022. The COVID-19 vaccination is a requirement for entry to Wahanowin for both campers and staff…”

We have NOT altered this policy and WILL NOT be altering this policy. This means that all campers and staff must be ‘fully vaccinated’ 14 days prior to camp. According to the Ministry of Health, “fully vaccinated” means having received 2 doses of the Health Canada approved vaccines. We know that this “draws a line in the sand” between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, but we want to be clear that in alignment with our value of respect, we respect all our families and the decisions they have made together in terms of vaccination.  We hope families can also reciprocally respect and understand our position as Directors; being responsible for a ’community living setting’ and having to sometimes make tough decisions. We made this decision after thoughtful discussion with medical experts and our medical professionals within our Health Centre. 

4. What have you done to make the camp environment COVID-Safe?

When we started learning about the elements that were critical to ensuring a safe summer at Wahanowin last year, we were pleasantly surprised that Wahanowin ticked the boxes of several recommended alterations to making camp safe. Picture our beautiful large cabins which have spaced out bunk beds as well as showers and washrooms inside the cabins. In a year when everyone was being asked to keep their distance, this was very easy to do at Wahanowin! We have endless space for tents, outdoor activities and options for reimagining if necessary! Our maintenance team installed hand-washing stations around camp for proper hygiene and water fountains were replaced with foot pedalled water bottle filling stations. Needless to say, we were prepared last year and are prepared again for Summer 2022! We also have an internal COVID-19 Safety Plan that covers everything from food service to hygiene to cleaning and disinfection that we are still using to guide all of our practices.

5. What can we do before camp starts to ensure the safety of our kids this summer?

As members of the Wahanowin community, we each play an important role as we plan our return to camp this summer. Although many provincial restrictions have been lifted, we know that COVID-19 continues to impact the world. Each of us has a responsibility to do our part in keeping ourselves and our community safe and healthy…and we cannot do this without your support! This summer, we are asking our Wahanowin families and staff to once again enter a COVID Community Commitment. You will be asked to:

  • Value the health of others as much as you value your own and understand that the risks you take not only impact yourself but the entire Wahanowin community.
  • Keep yourself and your family as healthy and safe as possible for the 7 days leading up to camp. This entails monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and limiting your exposure to the greater community as much as possible. If interaction with the larger community is needed, you will wear a mask. 
  • Practice respect by adhering to and supporting Wahanowin’s COVID-19 Safety Plan including, but not limited to, taking part in all potential testing protocols , monitoring honestly for symptoms and committing to any COVID-19 safety requirements.  
  • Be adaptable and understanding when unforeseen necessary adjustments and changes need to be made. 

These actions, if followed by our community, will have a measurable impact on our collective health and safety prior to and during camp. While we cannot change the virus, we must continue to change our behaviors to decrease the chance of transmission and keep us all where we want to be…at camp for an epic Summer 2022!

Please note that if your child is symptomatic prior to their arrival to camp, they will need to be symptom-free for at least 24 hrs. and have a negative rapid antigen test within 24 hrs upon arrival to camp.

6. Do I need to pack anything differently for my child?

Each summer we update and post our Wahanoguide for our families. This is our parent handbook. It gives you everything you need to know before sending your child(ren) to camp each summer. 

7. Will there be busing to and from camp?

We are happy to say that there will be bussing this summer to and from camp with the exception of our WAHANO-ONE program where we will bus TO camp, but parents are required to PICK UP at camp on August 4th. We are requiring masking on the bus as our research shows that this extra layer of protection will only further mitigate the possible exposure to COVID-19 and ensure a safe and smooth arrival at camp.  More details about bussing will be communicated closer to the summer.

There will be busing from the airport for campers from outside of Canada. 

8. What are your testing protocols? Will there be an additional cost for this?

Prior to Camp: We are asking that every camper and staff who enters camp at the beginning of the summer take a Rapid Antigen test within 24hrs. of their arrival at camp.  In line with our community commitment, this will be done on the honour system and provide our community peace of mind that an added layer of safety was taken into consideration before everyone arrives at camp. If a test comes back positive, a family will need to notify camp immediately and the campers or staff member  will then be required to isolate for the isolation time mandated by public health before returning to camp and provide a negative rapid antigen test within 24 hours of their arrival to camp. Refunds will not be provided for the time missed from camp due to COVID-19. We are asking families to obtain a rapid antigen test to take at home prior to camp and we will be asking parents to “sign-off” and confirm that a test was taken and let us know the result. (we will send you a form to do this)

At Camp: Once everyone is at camp, no testing will occur. It is our feeling that because we have our vaccination policy in place, that everyone at camp will be fully vaccinated and we can operate by helping our community manage the symptoms of COVID similar to other viruses. Of course, if a camper or staff member’s symptoms are worsening and there is cause for concern, we will be in touch with parents and maintain open communication. 

9. Will the camp ‘bubble’ exist like it did last summer? 

Last summer we were able to create this amazing camp bubble where campers and staff all started on the same date and campers simply left when their session was over. This summer we are taking a different approach and feel that because our vaccination policy is in place, we can take a few more liberties to going back to how we would typically operate. Although staff will be able to take days off outside of camp we will still be mindful and limit ins and outs to typical trips to the hospital, repairs for equipment and facilities and the arrival and departure of our campers for their sessions. 

10. Will everyone be able to eat together this summer in the Dining Hall?

Yes! We are not cohorting this summer and are looking forward to ALL being together again in the Dining Hall, doing announcements and the blessings, and operating in our regular way for meals! 

11. Will there be any excursions out of camp this summer?

As we are still proceeding with caution, it has been decided that we are going to operate a reduced excursion schedule to support limiting our ins and outs of camp. Similar to last summer, we have once again created a space in camp that will allow our younger Units to experience an overnight ‘out of camp’, ‘in camp.’ We hope for our oldest campers that we can continue our traditional LTP Hiking Trip and CIT White Water Rafting Trip. We look forward to offering our typical ‘Canoe Trip Schedule’ in 2023! 

12. Will my child have to wear a mask?

Our goal is to not have campers or staff wear a mask at anytime (other than on busses for arrival) and to provide our campers and staff with as much of a normal camp experience as possible – while protecting the health and safety of all our campers and staff.  We still know that wearing a mask is considered one of the most effective NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions) and has significantly reduced COVID-19 transmission in the community. Therefore, masking may be required in certain situations if our Health Centre Team feels the need for our community to do so at any point throughout the summer. We encourage families to send a handful of medical grade masks to camp for your child(ren) to use, if necessary. Camp will also have a supply of masks on hand.  

13. Will there be Visitor’s Day?

After much conversation and debate, we have made a final decision to once again protect our community and cancel an “in-person” Visitor’s Day for Summer 2022. On Visitor’s Day we have anywhere from 1500-2000 guests and we feel that is an unnecessary risk and we need to protect our community. We also realize that the longer we wait, the harder it is for parents to plan around Visitor’s Day.  Visitor’s Day 2021 was a huge success and we look forward to sharing our plans for this summer. We know how important this day is for our families. Just because you can’t be at camp, doesn’t mean you can’t take part in the excitement!

14. We know how hard it was last summer and want to know how you will you be supporting not only the physical health, but the mental health of both campers and staff?

Each summer the Leadership Team is focused on the well-being, both emotionally and physically, of every camper and staff.  As an added layer of support, for Summer 2022 and for the foreseeable future, Wahanowin is proud to introduce the creation of the Wahanowin Mental Health Support Team! It is comprised of a group of individuals (physician, registered clinical and school psychologist as well as two parents with more than 20 years of working with kids and youth with mental health conditions and challenges) who are with us to guide our community’s mental health and to empower both the Leadership Team and the staff with tools to support staff and campers alike. 

We continue to see the impact of COVID on our kids and have increased our support for that reason. Children need to play. They need to be with their friends and be free to be kids. We are very hopeful that we will be able to welcome our staff and campers back this summer with open arms to meet them where they are, not where we think they should be. We want to create an environment that enables our community to experience joy, laughter and a return to ‘normalcy’, where we can all just be. 

 

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