STEM Camp was, and remains, committed to offering safe and healthy in-person summer camps to families across Ontario during the summer of 2021. We actively prepared to do so by:
- hiring and training over four hundred (400) summer staff
- packing supplies for over 50 sites
- locking in rental locations
- finalizing activities; in addition to these regular preparations STEM Camp is
- ordering and preparing PPE supplies including hand sanitizer, goggles, masks, soap and disinfectant as well as preparing proper signage for masking, distancing, etc.
Some of the COVID-19 safety preparations we made included:
- conducting an in-person or virtual visit to each facility to ascertain proper traffic flow, cohort-spacing and washroom access as well as working with each site to ensure compliance with any health and safety protocols unique to their facility
- developing new infectious disease specific training and procedures in addition to our existing health and safety training policies and procedures for summer staff
- developing an extensive “Return to Camp” guidelines document (accessible on our FAQ page) as a guide to how STEM Camp will open safely this summer
- developed a pickup and drop off procedure that allows for social distancing, no parents in buildings and as contactless as possible
- connecting with local public health authorities in each area where we have a STEM Camp location
- working with the Ontario Camps Association in all matters relating to health and safety
- purchasing products and supplies that met Health Canada recommended guidelines
- developing a hand washing and bathroom schedule for each cohort
- introducing hand sanitizing stations for each cohort and providing staff with individual hand sanitizer bottles to use throughout the day
- redesigning activities to be in an outdoor environment to increase the safety of campers and employees. It is important for campers to be outside as much as possible after students have been indoors for 10 months while at school under restricted conditions or virtually learning at home.
- hired a Health and Safety Manager, Fiona Gent, at STEM Camp Head Office to assist with questions and concerns.
- dedicating a new staff person at every site responsible for health and safety protocols, including COVID
- Campers and staff were required to wear masks inside the facility at all times (except when eating). Eating occurred outside, weather permitting.
- Cohorts, as mandated by public health units, will remained at a maximum of 15-20 campers in each cohort.
- Camp registrations were deliberately kept to a 30 camper maximum/week, except in a small number of locations that can accommodate 40/week.
- Staff were required to wear goggles at all times when indoors and within 6 feet of a camper or each other
- Many of our activities were re-visioned to be able to be conducted outside, allowing for social distancing.
- Campers were not allowed to mingle with campers from other cohorts, however, families were permitted to request to be placed into a cohort so friends and family members can enjoy camp together.
- Families were required to sign a weekly waiver and a daily declaration before their child will be admitted to camp.
- If the government decided at any point to shut down one of our sites or day camps in general, families would receive a choice of a full refund (minus the convenience or processing fee), or a credit to be used for virtual or the following summer.
We are pleased to report that not one case of COVID-19 was contracted by a camper or a staff member at any STEM Camp location in 2021. Thank you to our families, our staff and our campers for making 2021 one of the safest and most successful summers ever!