Dear Session 2 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 the illnesses at camp. Shabbat is always a welcome chance for our camp to come together and celebrate joyously as a community, as well as to enjoy a little extra rest from the busy week. This week’s Shabbat theme is “holiness,” which campers will be exploring by looking at the Kedusha prayer, as well as the beautiful imagery within it. Together, we will look at ways that we elevate our own community to a level of holiness.
This week we are taking special care to make sure your campers get extra rest, in order to make sure that our healthy campers remain so. We gave all campers a special “sleep-in” this morning and are taking extra precautions to make sure kids are well-rested. Earlier this week, the Sabra division (3rd and 4th graders) had movie time in the library in the afternoon to make sure even our most “reluctant resters” had a reason to relax quietly inside. Tonight’s overnight for our Tzofim division (5th and 6th graders) has been turned into an “undernight”—they will walk out to the campsite, enjoy the campfire, s’mores, and music under the stars, and then walk back to camp to sleep in their own beds and get a good nights’ rest for tomorrow’s activities. We are continuing to look at the daily schedule and add in more opportunities for rest for all of camp.
First of all, we want to emphasize the cleaning procedures that are taking place at camp to do all we can to prevent the spread of germs. All public spaces, door knobs, faucets, etc., (including all bunk areas) are getting cleaned twice a day. Additionally, your campers’ counselors have Lysol wipes in their bunks to wipe down all surfaces. There are Purell containers in every bunk, at every table in the dining hall, in every bathroom, and on the outside of buildings in camp. We are insisting that all campers and staff wash hands and use Purell frequently.
We have also made a few changes in our dining hall regarding how food is served. All Toranim (CITs and staff who are on kitchen duty) are wearing gloves to serve food. Additionally, at the salad bars and vegetarian carts, Toranim are serving food to the campers instead of letting them serve themselves. And finally, we have replaced all lost water bottles and will be washing all camper water bottles every other day.
We also want to let you know that some parents, after consulting their child’s doctor, are opting to administer an anti-viral medication, such as Tamiflu, to their campers prophylacticly (preventatively) to help limit the spread of the illness in those campers that have not yet exhibited symptoms. If you and your child’s doctor want to prescribe such medication, we will be happy to administer the prescription to them while they are at camp. If you live locally, you can drop off the prescription to us or, for families from out of the area, please have your doctor call in the prescription to the our local CVS Pharmacy at 805-581-1504, and notify us that it needs to be picked up.
Additionally, we have continued to check in with the other Jewish camps throughout the country as we adapt to this changing situation and keep campers safe and healthy. These camps are dealing with comparable outbreaks and are sharing information to establish best practices. Similar to other camps, there is fluctuation in the number of campers affected on a daily basis. Over 100 campers have gone home in the last three days, but during the last 24 hours, the number of campers affected has significantly diminished. If our trend follows that of other camps, then we may be through the spike and will see the numbers of newly symptomatic kids continue to decline for the rest of the session. We will keep you informed.
For your own information, we wanted to include the link to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website where they have made recommendations for summer camps. These are the guidelines by which we have based our own policy: http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu/camp.htm
Finally, please know that the majority of our campers are healthy, having fun, and enjoying the Camp Alonim experience, and those that have had to go home for illness are being welcomed back into our community after their seven day recovery period
We will continue to provide updates as frequently as possible, but please know that you may call with questions or concerns at any time.
An early Shabbat Shalom to all of you!