NBTSC and COVID-19
January 23, 2024
Hello and thanks for coming to our Covid page.
We continue to seek the optimal intersection between 1) protecting our community from pathogens, including COVID-19, and 2) facilitating the traditional NBTSC experience: connective, welcoming, affectionate, adventurous, and relaxed.
We’re hopeful that this year we may not need to incorporate as many time-and-energy-consuming Covid measures as during the last 2 years. Of course we can’t see the future, and as always we intend to adapt to whatever is needed–in the realm of Covid and also any fresh surprises that Reality may send our way. So with that in mind, anything below could change. We don’t expect it to, but it could. We need our community – campers, staff, parents – to continue bringing a flexible, adaptive, and cooperative mindset. For instance, we don’t anticipate the need for distancing or masking during our 2024 sessions, but if this does turn out to be needed then we must be able to count on everyone’s cooperation.
We don’t plan to require Covid vaccines this year. We don’t plan to require exemption applications for folks who aren’t vaccinated. (As always, we need information on everybody’s vaccines, Covid and otherwise, along with complete health info in general.)
Testing ~ it’s likely we’ll continue the practice of doing community-wide rapid tests at the start of camp and then again a few days later. (Plus additional tests if symptoms arise or if there are any positive test results.) This means that campers should plan on bringing at least 4 tests–we don’t expect to have access to any free testing programs this year. We’ll share details in the summer after we’ve firmed up plans.
We also plan to continue our layered approach to health screening. We ask everyone to care for their health and avoid exposure to pathogens in the weeks leading up to camp, especially during travel. During the 3 weeks prior to each session, all staff and campers report several times (via their online accounts) re their current health status and precautions they are taking to avoid exposure –to anything, not just Covid. We also conduct a brief health screening as part of the arrival check-in process.
Depending on how things are going in August and September, during each session we may also implement precautions such as ventilating indoor spaces, emphasizing outdoor activities, waiting a few days to host high-touch activities like bonding night (literally dozens of hugs for those who choose participate), etc.
What if there’s a positive Covid test part-way through a session? We’ve had a couple of these scenarios over the last 2 years, and fortunately we were able to continue camp without Covid spreading to additional people. Our general approach is to follow CDC guidelines re isolating, masking, distancing, etc. – both for the person with Covid and also for their recent close contacts.
Once we’ve decided about testing details and any other protocols for 2024–probably by around mid-June–we will share details with this year’s camp families. We normally share this type of nitty-gritty info through email notifications that go to all authorized users on a camper’s online account, rather than here on our website.
We’ve been truly blessed in 2022 and 2023 both to enjoy NBTSC in all its huggy, rambunctious, sweet, cuddly glory and also to pull off a series of radiantly healthy camp sessions. This took all kinds of collaboration. We vastly appreciate our community for all the ways y’all have rallied around the challenge of Covid, and we’re so excited to gather again this summer. The late, great John Taylor Gatto used to sign his letters and books, “Sparkle and shine in the face of darkness.” Let’s keep on doing just that. Together.
Thanks for reading!
Grace Llewellyn and the NBTSC team