Every summer you put your trust in us to care for your children and keep them safe at National Music Camp.  This summer is no different! We had a very successful 2021 Camp navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring our community was healthy and safe.  It required us to be on the same page, open, transparent and we commit to continuing that trend in Summer 2022. Our Leadership Team (in collaboration with our Health Centre Team) has created our proposed 2022 COVID-19 Safety Plan based on the current COVID landscape in Ontario.  The plan covers all aspects of camp-life and it includes the protocols and procedures we will implement to continue to take precautionary measures to provide the safest experience possible. Through a question and answer format below, we have focused on the key elements of our plan. Please note, this is a living document and is subject to change if new guidance and regulations are set by government and local Public Health officials. We will update this page with new information as it becomes available, and as always, we’re here to chat if you have any specific questions. Please feel free to reach out to the Director’s, Elijah and Tia. This has been a journey that involves us all and we can’t thank you enough for your continued support!

List of Questions:

1.   What organizations are you working with to make this summer as safe as possible?
2. 
The Wahanowin COVID Committee – tell us more about that.
3. 
What is your COVID-19 Vaccination Policy?
4. 
What have you done to make the camp environment COVID-Safe?
5. 
What can we do before camp starts to ensure the safety of our kids this summer?
6.  
Will there be busing to and from camp?
7.  
What are your testing protocols? Will there be an additional cost for this?
8.  
Will the camp ‘bubble’ exist like it did last summer?
9.  
Will everyone be able to eat together this summer in the Dining Hall?
10.  
Will my child have to wear a mask?
11.  
Will there be an end of camp concert?

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1. What organizations are you working with to make camp as safe as possible?

Planning for NMC 2022 essentially began right after our successful season in 2021. We ran with no incident of COVID in camp. We had a very thorough and well thought out COVID safety plan that included testing, cohorting, masking, cleaning and operational protocols. At the time, Ontario Camps Association developed a COVID-19 Task Force to spearhead the #planforcamp in 2021 and they have continued to provide their support moving into Spring/Summer 2022. Since then, the status of the Reopening Ontario Act is no longer in effect as of March 21st, 2022 and as a result, the Ministry of Health guidance document entitled the COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for Camps is no longer a requirement. With that being said, we are still keeping in mind the health and wellbeing of our community and are making it our priority by still taking precautions within our community living setting. We monitor and follow public health recommendations closely as well as medical advice from our onsite physicians and Health Centre Team. With everything, our plan will continually evolve as the current state of the pandemic changes here in Ontario. 

2. The Wahanowin COVID Committee – tell us more about that.

All organizations have had to designate a leader(s) to spearhead their COVID-19 response. At NMC that is Elijah and Tia.  To ensure a successful and safe 2022 camp, all COVID plans have been developed in collaboration with our Health Centre Team. 

3. What is your COVID-19 Vaccination Policy?

Before we began 2022 camp registration, we published that “if your child is eligible, they must be ‘fully vaccinated’ against COVID-19 before their session start date in 2022. The COVID-19 vaccination is a requirement for entry to NMC for campers, staff and faculty”

We have NOT altered this policy and WILL NOT be altering this policy. This means that all campers, staff and faculty must be ‘fully vaccinated’ 14 days prior to camp. According to the Ministry of Health, “fully vaccinated” means having received 2 doses of the Health Canada approved vaccines. We know that this “draws a line in the sand” between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, but we want to be clear that in alignment with our value of respect, we respect all our families and the decisions they have made together in terms of vaccination.  We hope families can also reciprocally respect and understand our position as Directors; being responsible for a ’community living setting’ and having to sometimes make tough decisions. We made this decision after thoughtful discussion with medical experts and our medical professionals within our Health Centre. 

4. What have you done to make the camp environment COVID-Safe?

When we started learning about the elements that were critical to ensuring a safe camp  last year, we were pleasantly surprised that the site at Wahanowin ticked the boxes of several recommended alterations to making camp safe. Picture the beautiful large cabins which have spaced out bunk beds as well as showers and washrooms inside the cabins. In a time when everyone was being asked to keep their distance, this was very easy to do at Wahanowin! We have endless space for tents, outdoor activities and options for reimagining if necessary! Our maintenance team installed hand-washing stations around camp for proper hygiene and water fountains were replaced with foot pedalled water bottle filling stations. Needless to say, we were prepared last year and are prepared again for NMC 2022! We also have an internal COVID-19 Safety Plan that covers everything from food service to hygiene to cleaning and disinfection that we are still using to guide all of our practices.

5. What can we do before camp starts to ensure the safety of our kids this summer?

As members of the NMC community, we each play an important role as we plan our return to camp this summer. Although many provincial restrictions have been lifted, we know that COVID-19 continues to impact the world. Each of us has a responsibility to do our part in keeping ourselves and our community safe and healthy…and we cannot do this without your support! This summer, we are asking our NMC families, staff and faculty to:

  • Value the health of others as much as you value your own and understand that the risks you take not only impact yourself but the entire Wahanowin community.
  • Keep yourself and your family as healthy and safe as possible for the 7 days leading up to camp. This entails monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and limiting your exposure to the greater community as much as possible. If interaction with the larger community is needed, you will wear a mask. 
  • Practice respect by adhering to our COVID-19 Safety Plan including, but not limited to, taking part in all potential testing protocols , monitoring honestly for symptoms and committing to any COVID-19 safety requirements.  
  • Be adaptable and understanding when unforeseen necessary adjustments and changes need to be made. 

These actions, if followed by our community, will have a measurable impact on our collective health and safety prior to and during camp. While we cannot change the virus, we must continue to change our behaviors to decrease the chance of transmission and keep us all where we want to be…at camp for NMC Summer 2022!

Please note that if your child is symptomatic prior to their arrival to camp, they will need to be symptom-free for at least 24 hrs. and have a negative rapid antigen test within 24 hrs upon arrival to camp.

6. Will there be busing to and from camp?

We are happy to say that there will be bussing this summer to and from camp (although most campers get picked up after our camp concert at the end of the week). We are requiring masking on the bus as our research shows that this extra layer of protection will only further mitigate the possible exposure to COVID-19 and ensure a safe and smooth arrival at camp.  More details about bussing will be communicated closer camp.

7. What are your testing protocols? Will there be an additional cost for this?

Prior to Camp: We are asking that every camper, staff and faculty who enters camp at the beginning of camp take a Rapid Antigen test within 24hrs of their arrival at camp.  This will be done on the honour system and provide our community peace of mind that an added layer of safety was taken into consideration before everyone arrives at camp. If a test comes back positive, a family will need to notify camp immediately and the campers, staff or faculty member will then be required to isolate for the isolation time mandated by public health. We are asking families to obtain a rapid antigen test to take at home prior to camp and we will be asking parents to “sign-off” and confirm that a test was taken and let us know the result. (we will send you a form to do this)

At Camp: Once everyone is at camp, no testing will occur. It is our feeling that because we have our vaccination policy in place, that everyone at camp will be fully vaccinated and we can operate by helping our community manage the symptoms of COVID similar to other viruses. Of course, if a camper’s symptoms are worsening and there is cause for concern, we will be in touch with parents and maintain open communication. 

8. Will the camp ‘bubble’ exist like it did last summer? 

Last summer we were able to create this amazing camp bubble where campers, staff and faculty all stayed on site for the week.  This summer we are taking a different approach and feel that because our vaccination policy is in place, we can take a few more liberties to going back to how we would typically operate while still being mindful to limit ins and outs to typical trips to the hospital, repairs for equipment and facilities and the arrival and departure of our campers. 

9. Will everyone be able to eat together this summer in the Dining Hall?

Yes! We are not cohorting this summer and are looking forward to ALL being together again in the Dining Hall, doing announcements and operating in our regular way for meals!

10. Will my child have to wear a mask?

Our goal is to not have campers, staff or faculty wear a mask at anytime (other than on busses for arrival) and to provide our campers, staff and faculty with as much of a normal camp experience as possible – while protecting the health and safety of all our campers, staff and faculty.  We still know that wearing a mask is considered one of the most effective NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions) and has significantly reduced COVID-19 transmission in the community. Therefore, masking may be required in certain situations if our Health Centre Team feels the need for our community to do so at any point throughout the summer. We encourage families to send a handful of medical grade masks to camp for your child(ren) to use, if necessary. Camp will also have a supply of masks on hand.  

11. Will there be an end of camp concert?

One of the most exciting aspects of NMC is seeing your child(ren) perform on the final day of camp.  Parents are often blown away by the caliber of performance and the amount their child(ren) has learned in their one week at NMC.  We look forward to welcoming parents this Summer 2022.