Briut (Health) is Our #1 Priority
We recognize that our world is significantly different this year and we will continue to be transparent about how we’re proceeding on the path towards a safe and successful summer 2021. We are planning for a typical Camp summer, and are continuing to review local and Federal guidelines and the recommendations of the Ramah Darom Medical Committee and of the American Camp Association. The Ramah Darom Medical Committee and Professional Staff are meeting regularly and updating our summer protocols based on the latest guidance.
COVID-19 Planned Protocols (these are being reviewed and updated regularly)
- Pre-Arrival Brit (Covenant) and Testing
- Staff Vaccinations
- Creating a Bubble
- Kapsulot (Pods)
- Program Modifications
- Additional Outdoor Spaces
- Handwashing/Sanitizer Stations
We know that the world is in a constant state of change with new information unfolding almost daily. Amidst this unpredictability, we have crafted three pillars to help guide us in our planning:
- Key stakeholders involved in the development of our protocols include:
- Ramah Darom Medical Committee
- American Camp Association
- Georgia Department of Health
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
- National Ramah Medical & Covid Planning Committees
- Foundation for Jewish Camping
- Kids Need Camp: We are doing everything we can to GET KIDS TO CAMP – in one space, away from technology, playing outside and having fun together.
- Stronger Together: Keeping our community connected during the coming year through programming is essential. We have been offering a variety of virtual gatherings and activities including new camper programs, aidah (age group) activities, community Kabbalat Shabbat and Havdalah programs and more. We have been partnering with our families, community Rabbis and schools to see how Ramah Darom can best support our chanichim (campers) and keep the Ramah spirit strong. We recognize that a summer away from Camp with a 22-month gap, as opposed to a 10-month gap between summers, requires a greater need for connectedness and support.
- Brit (Covenant) that we ask families to participate in and sign prior to arrival in order to keep our community safe. You can find the Covid Brit on your family dashboard.
- Negative COVID-19 molecular (PCR) test results must be presented to our medical team at check-in, regardless of vaccination status. Test to be taken 2-3 days before arriving at Camp.
- We also recommend a molecular test in the 10-12 days before Camp.
- Testing will not be required for any camper who had a documented COVID-19 infection after April 1st (Session Aleph campers) or May 1st (Session Bet campers).
- All staff who interact with campers daily will be vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to arriving at Camp.
- In addition to staff members, we expect that many of our teenage campers will be vaccinated.
- With the news that Pfizer will soon be opening vaccination eligibility to those 12 and up, we strongly encourage all eligible campers to be vaccinated. Still, we will not require it for Camp attendance this summer as we recognize it may not be possible for all chanichim to receive appointments in time for the start of their session, and do not believe we will be able to administer second (or first) doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Camp this summer.
We will operate a closed campus to keep everyone safe.
- Staff will arrive early to quarantine and will not leave campus for their time off.
- All staff members living with campers or interacting with campers will be fully vaccinated.
- Visitors will not be permitted on campus.
- Parents/guardians will not be permitted to enter campus at any point.
- Any workers who do not live at Camp will be required to test regularly, wear masks and maintain social distance while on campus.
- We will not be offering Yitziot (trips) into cities and will instead plan for nature-based adventures.
- Campers will be podded with their cabin for the first 7 days, then with their aidah for the following 7 days.
- Campers will not need to wear masks in their bunk or when with their kapsula.
- The kapsula will move through the Camp program together during at least that initial time period.
- In camp testing will occur before expanding our kapsulot.
The most recent CDC guidance for overnight camps continues to recommend masking (along with other NPIs) anytime campers are not with their pod. We continue to monitor these evolving guidelines closely, and our Medical Committee will make a final determination about masking before the start of Camp. We can, however, confirm that when in their tzrif (bunk), at the pool, playing sports or even doing an art project outside with just their kapsula (pod), masks will NOT be required. In practice, as the guidelines stand now, the amount of time chanichim will be masked will actually be quite limited (e.g. traveling from one activity to the next). Please note that gaiters are not acceptable masks.
Mirpa’ah/MARP (Health Center):
- A separate triage area will be created to isolate those with cold/virus symptoms.
- All Health Center staff will be vaccinated and have the necessary PPE.
- If a camper needs to seek medical care outside of Camp, protocols will be in place to safely transport the camper.
- We will maintain a separate isolation area for those who test positive for COVID-19 during the summer, until they have been picked-up by a parent/guardian.
3 Travel Options (full travel details available here):
- Buses from the Atlanta Marriott Gateway Airport hotel (all campers, regardless of vaccination status, will be given a COVID rapid test before boarding buses, or may provide proof of a negative rapid test from that morning).
- Fly with parent or group chaperone (campers rapid-tested at bus check-in at the Marriott Gateway Airport. Campers also have the option to get a rapid test that morning, and bring results to bus check-in).
- Parent/guardian can bring children to the Camp baseball field drop-off (campers screened upon arrival).
What We Need From You:
- All campers near Atlanta are required to take the bus to Camp.
- Each community will identify adult travel guardians, who will fly with the campers.
- Travel guardians will supervise, help campers identify their bags, escort them to the meeting site and stay with the campers until they have been cleared by our medical screening.
- For every 5 campers, we will need a minimum of 1 travel chaperone because:
- We will not be able to meet any flights or escort children to baggage claim.
- Only children who test negative will be allowed to board the bus to Camp.
- If a child tests positive, the guardian will be responsible for the child until there is a negative test result.
Each summer our staff works hard to acclimate campers to the experience of being away from home and to support kids in making new friends as they leave behind the digital world. They guide children and teens in their efforts to try out new skills as they stretch beyond their comfort zone. While we know that our campers have experienced disruption to their lives in countless ways, we are confident that Camp remains a place where kids can relax and have fun, connect with friends, explore Judaism and feel a sense of belonging. We have an exceptional team of camper care professionals who will continue the work of meeting campers where they are at and partnering with parents to support a successful summer at Camp.
If your family is in need of additional support to deal with these trying times, please reach out to Elana Yeffet, Camper Care Coordinator. We encourage you to sign up for one or more of our virtual information sessions to connect with other Camp families, ask questions, meet our team of professionals and more.
- Camper Care Team of Yoetzim (Advisors) and Inclusion Specialists
- All About Camp Ramah Darom
- Coffee with Camper Care Team
- Kesher (Link) Family Program: Linking new families with veteran families
- Yoetz Porch
- Camper Profile: A questionnaire on your Family Dashboard that you will have access to during the registration process that helps us get to know your child and their specific strengths and needs.
- Partnering with parents
Camp readiness is an important consideration in any summer, and we know you may be wondering whether your child is ready for a first experience, or ready to make the shift from two to four weeks away. We know that currently, we can’t rely on practice sleepovers or overnight school trips as indicators. However, there are many ways to assess how your child might adjust to a camp setting based on current information. As we get closer to Camp, we will be sharing specific ideas on how to best prepare your child for a successful summer.
Please schedule a time to speak to a member of our camper care team about how to make the best determination for your child for Kayitz (Summer) 2021.
We are planning for a full return to Camp in summer 2021. Should we be required to limit summer attendance, or in the event the Ramah Darom Medical Committee or the Georgia Department of Health determine we are not able to operate Camp in 2021 due to COVID-related issues, we will offer full refunds to all affected families. However, if a family chooses to voluntarily withdraw prior to any cancellation announcement, or if a family chooses to voluntarily withdraw even if it has been determined we can safely operate Camp, they will be subject to the standard cancellation policy above. In these cases, we will address each situation individually and make exceptions only where there would be a clear medical risk to the camper as determined by the Chair of our Medical Committee. We appreciate your understanding and will communicate any changes, if required, as early as possible.
Peace of Mind Coverage
This year we are fortunate to be able to offer our families Peace of Mind coverage through AMSkier Insurance. This policy will enable you to recoup your lost investment for the unused, non-refundable Camp tuition if your camper cannot attend camp or must leave Camp early for reasons such as illness/injury to the camper or an immediate family member or the death of a family member, and more. Learn more.
Unless you have previously arranged for your 2020 financial aid to be carried over, families will need to reapply for financial aid. We evaluate each year independently, and we want to provide as much support as possible given any current situation your family may be facing.
More information is available on our Financial Aid page.
If your questions weren’t answered here, please schedule a call and we will be happy to answer any further questions you might have.