SZARVAS CAMP & COVID-19 GUIDELINES (23 MARCH, 2023)
The information surrounding COVID-19 is constantly changing and evolving, and these guidelines are subject to change in case of need between the time of publishing and the end of the sessions of summer 2023.
Every summer we take pride in creating magical memories for our Szarvas Camp community. As the Jewish people always took pride in their ability to adapt to evolving realities, the success of the camp more than ever depends on each of us being committed to the guidelines set by experts and camp management.
These guidelines were developed using COVID-19 best practices published by the CDC, the ECDC and the American Camp Association (ACA), as well as learnings from other camps, schools and youth programs that have operated in the past three years. We have learned the importance of a multilayered mitigation strategy, which enabled camps to prevent any secondary spread of the COVID-19 virus through testing and creating a more permanent environment (with minimal people coming in or out of camp). These guidelines are meant to provide Szarvas Camp families and staff with information about how we are adapting our policies and procedures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 during camp sessions. As information changes and evolves, so, too, will these guidelines reflect current realities.
We recognize that regardless of the level of preparedness, we cannot guarantee that COVID-19 will not be present at Szarvas Camp, but we are confident in our ability to run the camp in a safe and meaningful way. In fact, we are operating as if the virus would enter the camp. We believe that we can care for campers and staff if they do contract COVID-19, and that we can isolate and stop the virus from spreading when it does enter camp.
These guidelines will address and share how we plan to operate safely this summer. This document includes a wide range of topics, including:
- creating and maintaining a safe environment at camp and
- an in-depth look at how we plan to operate next summer.
As already mentioned, these guidelines are subject to change. In case of a change, you have the right to opt-out. This means that if you already registered and paid for any of our sessions and we change these guidelines and you or your camper can no longer or will no longer comply with our regulation, you have the right to a certain refund. However, in case of attendance, all regulation needs to be followed at all times.
We ask that all parents and legal guardians review these guidelines together with campers. We strongly recommend reading our COVID-19 Guidelines in their entirety.
As we plan for the summer of 2023, we want to share our philosophy and approach for opening safely. We have two primary goals which we are working towards simultaneously:
- Do everything possible for the health, safety, and security of our campers, staff, and community
- Providing a meaningful Szarvas Camp experience
The core assumptions listed below are the foundations on which our COVID-19 guidelines were created. As the situation regarding the pandemic and related guidance continues to evolve, we reserve the right to adjust these assumptions and the components of our guidelines accordingly.
- We can operate safely. We have learned from several sources (camps and events which operated in 2020 and 2021, the CDC, ECDC and the ACA), as well as our own experience in 2022, giving us confidence in our ability to apply a comprehensive strategy of multilayered, nonpharmaceutical interventions in order to safely operate the camp this summer. If at any time the organizers, including the Educational Staff, the Medical Staff and other team members assume that we can no longer operate safely, we will not hesitate to act accordingly.
- We assume that this is the best we can do. This pandemic has created multiple narratives on most layers of society. We understand that considering the past two years, the trust towards formal institutions has declined, and we also understand that many in our communities have invested considerable time and energy to become informed and work on their safety and the safety of their families. We accept differences of opinion, and we welcome debate, however, this guideline must be followed at all times, even if you don’t agree with it.
- COVID-19 vaccination is a must to our campers and staff. Based on consultation with medical experts, we require all our campers and staff to be vaccinated before camp begins this summer.
- COVID-19 will remain a public health concern during the summer. We are working closely with the Hungarian National Health authorities, and we are operating under the assumption that COVID-19 will still be present during the summer in the communities we serve across the world, and that COVID-19 will be present in our camp community.
- Testing will be adequately available to allow for early detection of the virus in our campers and staff. We believe that testing (both rapid antigen and PCR) and testing supplies will be readily accessible for campers and staff. There will be screening (testing) based on the internal testing protocol of Szarvas Camp.
CULTURE OF COMPLIANCE
We are prepared to reduce the risk of COVID-19, and we are prepared to respond should it impact our community. Using the international health guidelines and recommendations, we will reduce the risk of COVID-19 both entering camp and spreading through camp. Throughout these guidelines, we will share with you how they impact our plans and protocols for Summer 2023. We require our staff and campers to comply with Szarvas Camp’s policies. Non-compliance could result in removal from camp.
MULTIPLE LAYERS IMPROVE SUCCESS
We operate under the assumption that each individual prevention measure has its own strengths and weaknesses, however, by layering multiple prevention measures on top of each other, the virus will have radically fewer pathways to enter and spread throughout camp. We are designing our activities and all aspects of camp to adhere to the following prevention measures:
- Sanitizing hands often,
- Social distancing, when possible,
- Limiting time indoors,
- Getting tested during the camp.
PRE-CAMP EXPECTATIONS LOW-RISK BEHAVIORS
10 days prior to arrival at camp, campers, staff, and members of their household should:
- Limit physical contact with anyone outside of their household to a necessary minimum
- Avoid attending group gatherings, such as celebrations, other camps, events, parties, etc.
- Wash hands with soap and water frequently
VACCINES & DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENT
- As a basic rule, all registered participants and staff should present, if requested, a proof of vaccination or a certificate of recovery. Please declare your status in your application to Szarvas 2023.
Policy Exceptions: We recognize that individuals with specific medical conditions (e.g. documented allergy or severe adverse reaction to a particular vaccine, etc.), will not be able to receive certain vaccines. In these instances, a physician documenting the problem and exempting the child from further doses of that specific vaccine must be furnished to Szarvas Camp. In addition, if an individual or his/her family believes that a specific situation poses extenuating circumstances and furnishes a letter from a medical doctor substantiating this contention, Szarvas Camp will review such situations on a case-by-case and event-by-event basis.
TEMPERATURE AND SYMPTOM MONITORING
During the 10-day period before arriving at camp, all campers and staff should self-monitor for symptoms related to COVID-19 and check their temperature daily. All campers and staff will be required to be completely symptom-free – without the use of any medication – for at least 72 hours prior to their arrival.
Being able to determine whether the virus is present at camp is a critical component to keeping our environment stable and free of COVID-19. Szarvas Camp’s team and medical advisors worked hard to create an internal testing protocol. Campers and staff will be tested based on this protocol regularly. All the tests will be run by (and under supervision of) our medical team.
The following tests will be in use:
NASOPHARYNGEAL (NP) PCR (testing sample is taken by nasopharyngeal swab).
The test detects SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA by real-time RT-PCR (NAAT) technology.
Considering the clinical performance of the NP PCR, it has very high sensitivity and positive predictive value to detect COVID-19, so it is an optimal test for screening. It also has very high specificity and negative predictive value, so it is also an optimal test for diagnostics.
SALIVA BASED PCR (testing sample is taken by self-collection kit during self-sampling process).
Saliva based PCR gives the opportunity of an alternative sampling method. Self-sampling based process is optimal in case of frequent sampling.
RAPID ANTIGEN (testing sample taken by self-collection kit during self-sampling process).
The test detects SARS-CoV-2 viral antigen by qualitative membrane-based immunoassay (RAT lateral flow) technology. Despite these limitations in sensitivity, antigen testing has its own strengths since it has high specificity, provides an alternative sampling method and provides rapid on-site results with limited sensitivity.
We will work alongside our medical team and use best practices to determine when to administer these tests. Anyone for whom it is determined that a COVID-19 test should be administered will be quarantined until the results are known. Their group will continue camp programming.
Camp reserves the right to request any member of our community who presents with a symptom of COVID-19 be tested to rule out the presence of the virus.
While at camp, if a camper displays symptoms of the virus, they will be placed in isolation and COVID-19 PCR tested by our medical staff. Test results are expected within 24-36 hours from the lab. If the test result is negative, the individual will remain in the Health Center until their symptoms have improved in accordance with existing camp policies.
When necessary, the camper's personal (health) data will be processed by the partner laboratory that carries out the COVID-19 testing. Through completing the application, the legal guardian agrees that JDC Hungary Foundation may process and forward the camper's data to the laboratory that carries out the COVID-19 testing.
ISOLATION & QUARANTINE
We are reserving a few empty rooms which will act as temporary quarantine areas at camp should we have to quarantine a camper or staff member showing symptoms of COVID-19. Grey zone will serve for temporary isolation, and red zone for permanent isolation.
In case of any medical symptoms, the local medical team will determine if testing for COVID-19 is warranted. Both rapid antigen testing, and PCR testing may be used. If a camper or staffer tests positive, their contacts will be identified and tested. Patients with any type of positive result must be isolated in the red zone (permanent isolation), patients waiting for PCR confirmation after negative RAT test must be isolated in the grey zone (temporary isolation). Only participants with negative screening test result or with negative result after symptomatic/contact testing can stay in the green zone (no isolation).
A COVID-19-infected person may be released from isolation if their symptoms have resolved, and 7 days have passed since the onset of their symptoms. If a COVID-19-infected person has no fever, and their respiratory symptoms are gone on day 4 of isolation, a rapid antigen test may be performed on day 5 and the isolated person may be released from isolation.
Asymptomatic infected individuals may be released from isolation 5 days after their positive COVID-19 test. An asymptomatic infected person may be subjected to a rapid antigen test on day 5 from the date of the test confirming the infection, and in the event of a negative result, and the isolated person may be released.
NONPHARMACEUTICAL INTERVENTIONS AT CAMP CLEANING AND SANITIZATION PROCEDURES AND ENHANCED HYGIENE
Door knobs, handles and other commonly touched areas will be disinfected regularly. Public bathrooms and shared spaces (e.g. dining hall) will be cleaned and sanitized multiple times per day, per ECDC and WHO recommendations and guidelines. Every space and program area that we are using around camp will also have its own spray bottle of disinfectant. Szarvas Camp uses disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19.
All members of the Szarvas Camp community will receive instructions on hygiene measures such as cough and sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene, with the requirement to clean hands with soap and water or approved hand sanitizer before and after all activity periods, meals, and other high-touch interactions. The number of hand sanitizing stations throughout the camp have been increased to accommodate enhanced protocols.
Staff will have additional training on enhanced hygiene and sanitization procedures.
We are designing a program that meets our criteria of a fun, joyful and engaging camp experience for this summer. We know how important and meaningful campers’ experience will be this summer during a time of constant changes in routines, physical distancing, and interaction limited to sitting in front of screens.
To accomplish this, we have made adjustments to how we deliver some of our programs, as detailed in these guidelines. In addition, we will remain flexible in our programming this summer and will be prepared to quickly pivot based on the needs and interests of our camp community. We are examining how each activity may need to be modified to make sure we do everything for the health and safety of our camp community. Each activity area will have adjusted plans that follow all ECDC and WHO rules, and the recommendations of our allocated medical staff.
Campers will continue to have a mix of group activities, unit-level activities and free-to-choose activities.
Campers will be eating all together for most, but not all, of their meals in the dining hall.
Shabbat links us as a Jewish community. Gathering on Friday night is a highlight for us each session. This summer won’t be any different. We’re exploring a number of options that will enable us to accomplish this in a way that allows us to deliver on our Shabbat traditions, in a safe and responsible way. This might include multiple Shabbat services. We will share more information about what our Shabbat experience will look like closer to the start of our summer.
All-camp (usually evening) programs create some of the most unforgettable memories. We are planning to offer our signature all-camp programs this summer. While some of them may be adapted, they’ll be just as memorable. Between now and the start of camp, our programming team will be working to maintain the unique spirit of these experiences while at the same time balancing the required best practices in health and safety.
CANCELLATION & REFUND
The Camp’s basic cancellation policy is the following:
- Canceling 30+ days before the session starts: full refund
- Canceling 14 to 30 days before the session starts: 50% refund.
- Canceling 13 to 0 days before the session starts: 0% refund.
COVID-19 cancellation policy add-on:
EU consumer law does not regulate the conditions for and consequences of cancellation of sports and cultural events.
Campers who get infected by COVID-19 prior the camp’s start are only entitled for compensation based on the basic cancellation policy as described above.
Campers that are quarantined at Szarvas Camp or sent home due to positive testing for COVID-19 will not be entitled for a refund.
As a general rule, if the Szarvas Camp is not accessible because, for example, it has been put under quarantine, or Hungary is under a travel ban, you are entitled for a full refund of your participation fee. The same applies for cancellation of Szarvas Camp by the organizers at any time before camp begins.
Please note that in some communities, additional costs (such as travel, meals on the way, insurance, etc.) are not included into Szarvas Camp’s refund policy and the organizers are not responsible for cancellation of any flights, travel, or bans and regulations of surrounding countries during your travel.
We strongly encourage all of our participants to have an insurance policy that covers events of force majeure (such as the COVID-19 pandemic) and entitles you to a full/partial refund of events and travel expenses.
National law may provide that when cancellations or restrictions to service provisions are due to a force majeure circumstance such as the COVID-19 epidemic, consumers are not bound to pay for the service, but they also do not have the right to claim compensation for additional costs or damages that may result from the situation.
In the coming weeks we will continue to closely monitor the state of the pandemic, which includes the overall case count and positivity rate in areas where our campers are from, as well as any introduction of a new variant to the pandemic. Should this information prompt us to either add or remove any protocols, we will share them directly with you via email.