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Ronmass

Covid and Summer Camp 2020

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In my humble opinion it looks very bleak for  Summer camps this Summer.  If there was a chance that we could get some sort of protection with a pill etc--all would be ok --but it does not look good for that at this time ..Who would take a chance sending a 12-year-old child to an overnight camp during these troubled times ?  Like a friend just asked me ..."If you had a bag of 100 skittles and was told 2 of them were deadly poison, would you take a chance reaching in the bag ??  I am an instructor in the shooting sports program...It would be almost impossible to teach a scout to handle a firearm safely without touching the guns and being a lot closer than 6 feet....Lysol spray for every gun ? Masks and gloves for each person when it's 90 degrees out ?  Buddy system for the waterfront with a 6 foot social distancing rule ??   Dining halls, "Colors" etc would be very problematic... Just too risky...  Virtual meetings cannot take the place of Summer camp ..

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Not to minimize this, but for scout aged youth, I'm far more worried about a non-vaccinated youth bringing measles. However its the issue for all the older scouters showing up for the event, and the youth bringing the virus back to their homes and communities. But yes, I don't know what summer camps for any program will look like for next year.

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Posted (edited)

@Ronmass welcome to the forum. 

My thoughts on summer camps is that they are not likely to happen this summer. At least not in my area, at least not on time. Maybe in July or August. A couple things have to happen:

  • The area isn't facing a COVID-19 outbreak, and the state has lifted it's stay at home order, and the CDC recommends people return to work/school. 
  • Campers from out of state or people who have recently traveled (two weeks- month) are not permitted to attend. 
  • Families have the financial ability to send a kid to camp.
  • Council has the financial ability to pay for camp. 
  • Council has recruited and hired staff. 

There are so many variables at this point, it's hard to make a blanket statement. I think by the end of April most councils will have a better understanding of their local, state and regional situations and we'll start to see decisions made. 

Edited by Sentinel947
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Posted (edited)

@Ronmass

I’m the health officer at a summer camp near me and council has not mentioned anything yet. It is too soon to tell since the claims about the virus change daily. I’m thinking councils will wait until May if they will decide to open or have a limited amount weeks.

I would assume there will be additional screenings at check in with the health officer. Probably the generic questions (traveling, any symptoms, fever, etc) would be asked. I’m more so concerned how would everyone get updated ABC forms when doctors will be already packed.    I’m hoping they allow the use of last years forms.

Edited by ItsBrian

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4 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

I would assume there will be additional screenings at check in with the health officer. Probably the generic questions (traveling, any symptoms, fever, etc) would be asked. I’m more so concerned how would everyone get updated ABC forms when doctors will be already packed.    I’m hoping they allow the use of last years forms.

I've seen this idea floated before about waiving Part C to allow participation at camp. First, I'm not even sure how that would work on a liability basis from an insurance perspective. Second, it would seem ill advised from a public health perspective and that the opposite would be more ideal -- a more current physical. If there was ever a time to identify any underlying and previously undiagnosed conditions, or for a health care provider to provide one on one advice before heading to camp, it would be now.  I understand the deep desire that we all have to get back to normal as quickly as possible but I don't think this is a good idea. Although I worry that wouldn't stop BSA from adopting it given the track record. 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, yknot said:

I've seen this idea floated before about waiving Part C to allow participation at camp. First, I'm not even sure how that would work on a liability basis from an insurance perspective. Second, it would seem ill advised from a public health perspective and that the opposite would be more ideal -- a more current physical. If there was ever a time to identify any underlying and previously undiagnosed conditions, or for a health care provider to provide one on one advice before heading to camp, it would be now.  I understand the deep desire that we all have to get back to normal as quickly as possible but I don't think this is a good idea. Although I worry that wouldn't stop BSA from adopting it given the track record. 

 

I read somewhere that the old med forms for BSA were valid for 3 years. I believe it would suffice for a typical one week resident camp.

I don’t believe there are many serious underlying, undiagnosed diseases or conditions in the average teenager without any symptoms. If they have prior medical conditions or worries, then they should follow up with their primary care provider.


The problem may be getting a physical in general, for camp or not. Either way it may be a lose lose situation. 

Edited by ItsBrian

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Posted (edited)

If we are given the "all clear" in time for summer camp (and HA), and if councils are in earnest, they could take a page from our local school district:

One Saturday before school starts, several volunteer doctors and nurses assemble at a central location and give free sports physicals for all the youth in the school district.  Many families avail themselves of this offer.  It meets the requirement, it's good for the school year, and it's free.  An enterprising council staff could set up something similar. 

Alas, it may not matter. I too have the impression there will be no activities this summer.   I still believe that, if permitted, some camping could be done.  Fewer people jammed in campsites, patrols camping farther away from the troop, campsite boundaries pushed way out from the norm.  Emphasize patrol cooking and outdoor activities that encourage fresh air and small groups.  

Waive the requirement mandating adults supervise every patrol activity.  Send the patrols on hikes by themselves.  Allow them to cook in their campsite, with the SPL stopping by now and again to see how things are going.  Trained and trusted, they can handle the responsibility and will have a better scouting experience.

Edited by desertrat77

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I think its too early to know for sure.  Unless you are willing to do a 18 month to 2 year mandatory lock down of the entire country (until a vaccine is available), some activities will reopen with Covid-19 infections still out there.  I expect this may be a state by state call based upon density of the virus in their community. 

What we need is sufficient testing to really determine the density of the infected in each community and then appropriate guidelines based upon that density.   It could definitely mean limiting camps to local scouts (with xx miles) to prevent spread between communities.  It could mean facemasks and end of some activities (big group fire ceremonies, dining halls and even water front).  We go to a patrol cooking camp and our troop has discussed use of biodegradable utensils (no personal KP),  additional monitoring/instructions of KP, additional monitoring/instructions for hand washing, face masks, etc.  

The only real way out of this is a vaccine and there is no way the country will shut down fully until that is available (which in best case in large volumes would be 18 months to 2 years).  So, we will need to live with this and find ways to limit risk.  If summer camp is open, I'll be there with my Troop.  We will work to minimize risk.  If they close camp, I'm ok with that call. 

I just hope they can ramp up testing further to see where this is really spreading and take appropriate action.  I tend to agree this summer may be too soon to have all of this in place … but one can hope.

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I'll add one more comment.  Only 1 of our 50 scouts going to summer camp dropped out due to Covid-19 (the rest already paid).  So, parents & scouts are more than willing to go if it is open.  I think that could change if our area infection rate shoots up, but so far so good...

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I seriously doubt if summer camps, high adventure or just any scouting are happening this summer. It's just my opinion but here's my reasoning. All of the models, if correct, are only talking about getting things under control. None of them are talking about eradicating the disease. Herd immunity doesn't kick in until something well past 50% of a population becomes immune. Right now, immunity means getting the virus. Assuming that 10 times the number of people have it than have been identified with a test, we're still only at 10x330k, or roughly 3 million out of the 320 million that live in the US. That's 1%. Getting to 50% (and it's probably much higher that's required) would mean 160 million people get the disease and something like 2 million die. Without a herd immunity we'll be right back where we are now as soon as everyone assumes its over and we can get back to the old normal. The old normal will not exist for at least a year. Note that no other countries have gotten their cases to zero and kept them there.

The models assume we stay away from each other. The only way that changes by September is if we have a vaccine, we have a medical way to help the body deal with the virus or we have a system in place to identify everyone in an outbreak and test them very quickly (or some combination of these). Just a guess, but that last one would require the ability to do millions of tests a day across the country. It would also mean tracking everyone's movement, just as South Korea is currently doing. I can see something like that happening but not by September. I barely see anyone talking about what happens after we get things under control.

The big question is how does everyone get back to enough "normal" such that they can live; jobs, going to school, buying food, the basic necessities of life. I don't think scouts is on that list. I'd rather see all of the little businesses in my town get up and running before scouting. This whole thing makes me think year pins, patch placement and rank advancement just don't matter anymore. Broke councils, inbred leaderships, bankruptcy - it's all beyond a perfect storm.

That all said, there's an opportunity here. At it's core scouting is about helping young people grow, become responsible, caring and helpful. It's about using the outdoors as a fun place to learn those skills but what we really want is scouts using those skills wherever they are - in the woods or near home. If we could focus on that, and scouts started helping our communities, everything else would take care of itself. What I don't see is who is going to lead that.

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5 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

I read somewhere that the old med forms for BSA were valid for 3 years. I believe it would suffice for a typical one week resident camp.

I don’t believe there are many serious underlying, undiagnosed diseases or conditions in the average teenager without any symptoms. If they have prior medical conditions or worries, then they should follow up with their primary care provider.


The problem may be getting a physical in general, for camp or not. Either way it may be a lose lose situation. 

I don't agree with either of those positions for medical reasons, but think about what you are suggesting from another angle: What kind of public relations do you think the bankrupt BSA would garner if it waived standard annual physical exam requirements in order to allow scouts to attend camp this summer and an asthmatic scout fell ill with COVID 19? It is not worth the risk of further damage to our reputation. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, yknot said:

I don't agree with either of those positions for medical reasons, but think about what you are suggesting from another angle: What kind of public relations do you think the bankrupt BSA would garner if it waived standard annual physical exam requirements in order to allow scouts to attend camp this summer and an asthmatic scout fell ill with COVID 19? It is not worth the risk of further damage to our reputation. 

 

 

Kids with asthma would be showing symptoms. It’s not something randomly found during a physical. It may be diagnosed during a physical, but I would hope the parent(s) would address the symptoms (SOB, wheezing, etc) prior to the physical. Note that the most common/most important medical history listed on Part B of the forms. Asthma is included on there.

I’m shooting out all the possibilities, in no way is this the best choice.

From what I said previously, I might’ve just worded it wrong. For a typical summer camp without any HA or treks, I feel the year prior would suffice if nothing has changed health wise. If they’re a new scout, they should attempt to get a physical (lot less new scouts than returning).

Edited by ItsBrian

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I'm sorry but this is not the reality in many corners of our country that are not affluent. Sometimes the only times kids with underlying issues are picked up is when they have a mandatory physical. 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, yknot said:

I'm sorry but this is not the reality in many corners of our country that are not affluent. Sometimes the only times kids with underlying issues are picked up is when they have a mandatory physical. 

I was thinking of an “if everything worked as it should” scenario.  I agree with your previous statements, it’s certain underserved communities or uneducated (not in a bad way) parents may not be able to afford or detect certain underlying issues.

I was thinking of the worst case scenario. Let’s say the curve flattens enough to where camp can be held. I don’t think councils will close camps if part C was the only issue. There would probably be something in place. That’s just my take, who knows. 

Yes, you mentioned BSA in their mess of issues going on right now. We can assume all we want but there’s so many directions BSA can go in. 

Edited by ItsBrian

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