Alonim’s Flu Policy
Preparations for 3rd Session: Cleaning, Health Screenings, Tamiflu
A Note to Parents of Campers with Underlying Health Conditions or with Immuno-Suppressed Family Members
Excited for 3rd Session!
Dear 3rd Session Families,
Here at camp, we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our second Shabbat of the session. It has been a busy week due to MSA (Mischakim Shel Alonim, The Games of Alonim), carnival, campers’ chance to choose new chuggim (activities), and our preparations for the arrival of our 3rd session campers.
Like many camps across the US, Camp Alonim has had a significant number of flu cases within our camper and staff community. Prior to the summer, we had plans in place, based on recommendations of the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the Department of Health, to help mitigate the spread of the flu, including the screening of all campers prior to admission to camp. As the summer has progressed, we have continually adapted our plans to best respond to the reality of the circumstances and the newest information available from the CDC.
We want to let you know all of the facts of what we, and other camps, are seeing. The flu that some campers are coming down with is relatively mild clinically, but highly contagious. We continue to work closely with the health officials, who have approved protocols for managing influenza-like symptoms in residential camp environments. These protocols are also in strict compliance with the most up to date CDC recommendations and those of the Ventura County Department of Health. In accordance with the recommendations laid out by the American Camping Association and the Centers for Disease Control, we are now asking families to pick up their campers who have a fever of 99.5 or greater and/or complaining of flu like symptoms. Campers must be out of camp for 7 days and be fever free for 24 hours in order to return. Flu-like symptoms include: fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, body aches. We realize that under these conservative guidelines, there may be some campers sent home who don’t actually have the flu, but because many symptoms present like flu symptoms, we have to err on the side of caution during this time. This is to insure we are best caring for all campers and staff in preventing the spread of illness. Campers who leave ill will be refunded for days missed of camp.
Our current policy is in strict compliance with the most recent recommendations of the CDC as well as reflects what we have seen during 2nd session of Camp Alonim, and we believe will help mitigate the spread of illness for the rest of this session, and as well as for 3rd session when your campers arrive. To see the CDC’s recommendations for Summer Camps, please visit this link: http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu/camp.htm
We also want to let you know how we are preparing for Session 3. In between Session 2 and 3, camp will be thoroughly cleaned by a cleaning service, including all living/sleeping quarters. Additionally, all staff members and returning campers/CITs will be screened upon arrival to camp. On Session 3’s opening day, all campers will be screened carefully. Any camper exhibiting flu like symptoms, as described above, will be asked to return home for 7 days or until they are fever and symptom free for 24 hours, whichever period is longer.
Additionally, a number of other camps throughout the country have reported success in reducing the outbreak of the flu by administering the prophylactic use of Tamiflu. Based on this information and further consultation with multiple health professionals, we would like to be prepared to implement the use of Tamiflu in bunks in which two campers demonstrate flu-like symptoms. This requires two important prerequisites: 1) your consent and 2) the medication. We therefore recommend that each camper bring to camp a filled prescription (the actual pills or liquid) for a 10 day prophylactic course of medication. We will accept the filled prescription as consent for administering this medication should the need arise.
Please obtain the prescription from your physician and have it filled at your pharmacy. Because this is an extraordinary request, we will waive the usual medication fee for this medication, as long as your child brings the medication with them to camp. If we need to acquire it after the fact on behalf of your child, an administration fee will apply.
Please know that we will not use Tamiflu unless we believe there has been a significant exposure within your child's bunk (2 or more campers exhibiting flu-like symptoms). Having this medicine available at camp will enable us to act immediately upon identifying such an exposure, and may help protect your child and many other campers. Of course, we will notify you if the Tamiflu is used, and unused medication will be returned with your child at the end of the summer.
Once your campers arrive, we will continue our current stringent cleaning of camp, which includes cleaning/disinfecting all public areas, door handles, faucets, etc (including in bunks) at minimum of twice a day. We have made Purell easily accessible throughout camp, and have instituted many changes in the way we serve food. Counselors and staff are working hard to ensure campers get extra rest while still enjoying an incredible camp experience.
A special note to parents of campers with asthma, heart, liver, lung or kidney conditions or campers with any high risk conditions: We know the flu can be particularly difficult with these conditions. We feel we have put every precaution possible into place to limit the spread of illnesses, but we understand that with your child’s increased risk, in consultation with your doctor, you may choose to not send your child to camp this summer. Please know that we will offer medical refunds if you choose not to send them.
A note to family members who are immuno-suppressed: having your camper exposed to the flu might mean they bring it home with them, even if they appear healthy, as there is a 5-7 day incubation period. If you choose to cancel your child’s attendance at camp for these precautionary purposes as well, we will also provide a refund.
If you choose to not send your child for any of the reasons mentioned above, we will be happy to keep your refund as a credit for next summer. Additionally, we can apply a deposit from the refund toward next summer and refund you the balance.
Know that everyone in the Alonim family and at AJU is doing all we can to keep your kids safe and healthy. Alonim remains vibrant and our campers are having that magical Alonim experience.
Thank you in advance for your understanding. We can’t wait for your camper to arrive for a fantastic time at Alonim.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.