STEM Camp is committed to offering safe and healthy in-person summer camps to families across Ontario during the summer of 2021. We are actively preparing to do so by:
- hiring and training over three hundred (300) 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 have made include:
- 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 this summer
- purchasing products and supplies that meet 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 full time Health and Safety Manager, Fiona Gent, at STEM Camp Head Office to assist with questions and concerns. Ms. Gent can be accessed through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 519-475-6600
- dedicating a new staff person at every site responsible for health and safety protocols, including COVID
And while more work can and will be completed in this area as we approach summer, we recognize that more questions will arise regarding how STEM Camp will react to certain situations. To this end (recognizing that this information may change as mandated by provincial and federal laws and/or local public health authorities at any time) here are a few of the highlights thus far:
- Campers and staff will be required to wear masks inside the facility at all times (except when eating). Eating will occur outside, weather permitting.
- Cohorts, as currently mandated by public health units, will remain at a maximum of 15 campers in each cohort.
- Camp registrations have deliberately been kept to a 20 camper maximum/week (regularly STEM Camp allows 40/week), except in a small number of locations that can accommodate 30/week.
- Staff will also be required to wear goggles at all times when indoors
- We are hoping that public health authorities will allow children or staff to not wear masks or goggles when outdoors. To this end, much of our activities have been re-developed to be able to be conducted outside, allowing for social distancing.
- Campers will not be allowed to mingle with campers from other cohorts, however, families can request to be placed into a cohort so friends and family members can enjoy camp together.
- Families will be required to sign a weekly waiver and a daily declaration before their child will be admitted to camp.
- If STEM Camp is notified that a child contracts or is exposed to COVID-19, STEM Camp will immediately notify the local public health unit and follow their instructions for next steps, including notifying any families.
- If the government decides at any point to shut down one of our sites or day camps in general, families will 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.
With your help we can give our children (and their parents) the summer they deserve this year. We look forward to seeing you soon!