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COVID-19 Updates

Read our Summer 2020 FAQs

June 15, 2020 - Opening & Closing Days and Health Screening Form

Dear Camp Balcones Springs family,

Staff arrive in one week and we will officially open Term A in three weeks! We are so excited to kick off another fantastic summer! In light of the circumstances surrounding Covid-19, we have made adjustments to our Opening and Closing Days for this summer. Parents, this summer you will go through a ‘drive-thru’ drop-off and pick-up and are asked to remain in your vehicle for the duration of the process. Please pay special attention to the details listed below.

Opening Day Procedure (July 5, July 19, and August 2)

The gates will open at designated times for specific age groups: 2:00pm for campers 12 years old and younger. 3:00pm for campers 13 years old and older.
Families with campers in both age groups may choose either time slot.

Once entering the gates: BOYS will be directed to the Circle Drive (Turn Right) GIRLS will be directed to The Thicket (Stay Straight) If you have both boy and girl campers, please drop them off in the appropriate location.

Upon arriving at the check-in area, parents MUST provide their completed Camper Screening form, which includes a 7-day temperature screening of each child. Campers will NOT be allowed to check-in without the completed form.

After receiving the form, our medical team will check the temperature of each camper. Any camper with a temperature less than 100.4 will be permitted into camp. If any camper has a temperature of 100.4 or greater at drop-off, they will be asked to leave. Each camper will also go through a very quick check for lice. Any camper discovered to have lice will be asked to leave and seek treatment before returning, continuing to temperature track and quarantine while at home. Once approved, campers’ luggage will be unloaded by our camp staff, disinfected with proper cleaning supplies, and delivered to the camper’s compound shortly after.

Parents and campers are asked to say their goodbyes in their vehicle. At this point, campers will hop out and a staff member will escort each camper to their cabin where one of their counselors will be waiting! Counselors will help campers grab their luggage and settle into their cabin. This is a great opportunity for you and your camper to start packing their trunk together and practicing making the bed - empowering them by making decisions and setting them up for success on Opening Day!

Closing Day Procedure (July 18, August 1, and August 9)

The gates will open at designated times for specific age groups: 9:30am for campers 12 years old and younger 10:30am for campers 13 years old and older Families with campers in both age groups may choose either time slot.

Once entering the gates: BOYS will be picked up from the Circle Drive area (turn right) GIRLS will be picked up from The Thicket area (stay straight) If you have both boy and girl campers, please pick them up at the designated location.

Parents, please place a sheet of paper in their windshield containing the name(s) of their camper(s) written clearly and in a large font.

Once arriving at the pick-up location, your camper(s) will be waiting for you next to their luggage! Each camper will have their Closing Day packet, as well as any medication they brought to camp. Camp staff will be available to help load campers’ luggage into vehicles. Parents will be required to stay in their vehicle during Closing Day as well. Once all of your luggage is loaded, families are asked to leave property to ease the flow of traffic as more families arrive to pick up their campers. Unfortunately, there will be no closing ceremony this summer. Term videos will still be mailed to you, just like in past years.

These procedures allow our Opening and Closing Days to run safely and efficiently for our campers and their families. Thank you for your cooperation! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and can’t wait to see you this summer!

Warmly,

Camp Balcones Springs

June 1, 2020 - Detailed Update on Summer Plans

Hello Camper Families!

We are checking in today to provide what we hope is an informative and detailed update on our summer plans and the new guidelines, rules, and procedures we will be implementing in order to safely operate camp with respect to Covid-19. As you can imagine, we have been working fastidiously to develop a concise plan of action, but as you know, our inventions and protocols are changing often as we acquire continually evolving information. What we are including below is the current plan as of June 1, 2020, based on our present knowledge, conversations with the American Camping Association (ACA), CDC guidelines, and the counsel of camp’s head physician, Dr. Susan Kent, as well as our head nurse, RN Sarah Miller.

  1. We will be taking camper temperatures twice a day. A former camper, Virginia Herring, who is now a nurse, will be on staff for all five weeks of camp and will be in charge of camper temperature checks. She will visit campers in their cabins each morning beginning around 7:30 AM and will take camper temperatures .She will take a leadership member with her to assist her in this daily task. At bedtime, Virginia will perform the second daily temperature check by again visiting all campers in their cabins.

  2. Our goal for the first four days of each session is to keep our other camp nurses in their own bubble, as quarantined as possible. However, all nurses will be present at meals to distribute lunch and dinner medications. During lunch and dinner, we will have two separate servings and will observe social distancing during those servings (tables will be spread apart more to maximize the distance between cabins, staff, nurses, etc.). During breakfast, we will still have only one meal, since all staff will be in their counselor meeting (which we think will be of the utmost importance this summer), so we will be setting some tables outside to accommodate the spacing protocols we seek to maintain. (Don’t worry – we have plans in place for potential rainy conditions.)

  3. We will be using two separate entrances for our camp infirmary. The front entrance through Bush Cabin will be our triage room for normal cuts, scrapes, bug bites, etc. We will also incorporate a rear entrance through LBJ Cabin that will be used for any camper that has a fever. If we do have a child with a fever, we will immediately do a strep test. If the test comes back negative, the child will be quarantined upstairs in A Compound (the cabins above the infirmary). We will have two quarantine cabins for this purpose. We will then immediately call the parents and ask them to pick up their child. Then, we will perform contact tracing protocol to evaluate all staff and campers who had been around the fevered camper. Please note: we will refund the pro-rated tuition of any camper who has to go home due to COVID-related precautions.

  4. We are still determining whether or not we will have KN95 masks for the nurses to wear when working with campers. Dr. Kent is currently working to make an informed decision about this, and we will follow her advice when she has made her assessment.

  5. Campers (and staff) will wear masks when they are engaged in activities that require close proximity, which mostly includes all of our ropes activities and zipline/screamer/etc. rides that require close contact to ensure safe harnassing, etc. During the first four days, campers will not be playing any contact sports. On Day 5, we will resume contact sports, though we are structuring our programming to minimize activities of this kind throughout each session.

  6. We have also restructured camp activities so that cabins will travel in cohort groups of 50 or less. For the first four days of camp, all activities will be in these groups and styled in the spirit of our Phunanza open-activity period. (For example, in the morning, a counselor will meet with each cabin and help them select from a set of choices which activities they will partake in that day, rather than a camper choosing their own individual activities.)

Evening activities will also take place in these same cohort groups for the first four days, and there will be no big group dances until Day 6, which will incorporate masks into the themed costume. Any indoor spaces open to all campers during these group events will have a “bouncer” to limit the number of campers going in/out so that social distancing practices can still be observed indoors.

We hope this information helps answer and calm some of your questions and concerns for this summer. We are excited to bring a much-needed respite of joy and fun to campers during these five weeks, and we look forward to doing so safely. We are actively brainstorming new and creative ways to promote public health while still carrying out our fun and growth-oriented programming, and we welcome your suggestions. We will continue to keep you posted as our plans grow and change.

We want to close this message by including a link to a Wall Street Journal article discussing the risks of Covid-19 and its potential complications on children. While a reality, the article does a great job of helping us to understand the measured scope and scale of risk of these potential complications. This research has helped us, and many other residential camps under ACA leadership, make informed decisions about whether or not to carry out our programming this summer.

As always, feel free to reach out with any further questions. We will keep you posted with any updates or changes.

Warmly, Camp Balcones Springs

April 23, 2020 - A quick update!

Greetings Camper Families!

We hope you are staying safe, sane, and healthy during this continued time of quarantine and disruption to our daily lives and wellness.

We wanted to check in and give you a quick update concerning summer.

We have yet to make a concrete decision given our plans for Summer Camp 2020. All camps are being very cautious and waiting to make any type of decision regarding cancellations, postponements, and alternatives, and we are following suit. May 1st seems to be the magic date when the American Camp Association will release their suggestions and guidelines. Thus, we have not yet announced anything new as it pertains to our plans for this year’s summer camp schedule, and we do not yet know what we will be able to provide this summer. As we have said, we are considering all possible alternatives and scenarios and are doing all we can to ensure the health and safety of our campers and staff. If there is a way that camp, or some iteration of it, can be carried out, we will let you know and confirm the intended details as soon as possible.

Please continue to trust we will communicate with all camp families directly and immediately as soon as concrete plans and/or changes are made regarding our Summer 2020 programs at Camp Balcones Springs.

We hope and pray you and your families continue to stay healthy. We miss you all greatly and are thinking of you out here at camp.

Warmly, Camp Balcones Springs Staff

April 10, 2020 - Potential Alternative Summer Programming

Dear Camp Families,

We hope this email finds you continuing to stay safe, healthy, and sane in this time of crisis. All of us at camp are continuing to isolate on CBS property, and everyone is in good health and spirits.

As we continue to prepare for the summer, we are currently exploring other options for our summer camp program in the case that our traditional camp programming cannot take place. As we have indicated in prior communication, we are still planning to operate summer camp and will inform you by email as soon as decisions are made to do otherwise. However, as we prepare for what could happen, we seek your input for some potential scenarios we are considering in the event that our traditional summer camp schedule cannot take place in 2020.

Pending on the social distancing restrictions and CDC guidelines that could be in place come summer, we have proposed two Family Camp options to offer our families. Again, these will only become a reality if a) our traditional summer camp model must be fully canceled and b) the CDC and local/federal governments relax restrictions and guidelines enough to deem certain events and gatherings “safe.” However, as we explore additional options to build our contingency plans, we seek your input on our ideas for potential offerings if summer camp cannot take place.

Please take a couple of moments to read about our two hypothetical Family Camp offerings and answer a few questions to help us make a decision that will best serve you, our camp families. Your feedback is greatly appreciated! Below you will find the survey link.

[04/27/2020 Edit: This survey is now closed.]

Finally, on a different note: we have heard that many of you can’t stop watching the Netflix show Tiger King, which stars a familiarly-named Carole Baskin. We wanted to assure you that, despite Camp Balcones Springs’ history in acquiring a sort of “menagerie” of critters, including donkeys, llamas, and goats, there is NO relation between this Tiger King celebrity and the Camp Balcones Springs’ Baskin Family, and we can guarantee – though it will probably be disappointing to some of our youngsters – that there will be no tigers at camp.

Warmly, Camp Balcones Springs

April 6, 2020 - Financial Questions Should Camp Be Canceled or Abbreviated

Dear Camp Families,

Some of you who have already paid your Summer 2020 tuition fees in full, or partially, have reached out wondering how the refunds and insurance mentioned in our last email will work for you and your payments in the event that camp is canceled or abbreviated. We want to assure you that, regardless of when your tuition was or is paid, if your camp session is canceled, all camp families will receive a full refund of tuition costs, except for the non-refundable deposit. The deposit will be rolled over to the following summer’s deposit and will be available for families to apply to camp for the next two summers (2021 and 2022).

We are of course hoping camp can safely happen, but as we’ve said, with the situation changing daily and even hourly, it is hard to discern at this point exactly what will be best for everyone’s health and safety.

We hope everyone is staying safe and obeying the rules and guidelines set forth so we can keep everyone healthy and return to normalcy sooner rather than later.

Warmly, Camp Balcones Springs