Camp Walt Whitman Coronavirus Updates
While the coronavirus remains an ever-present concern, we are still planning for another fabulous summer at Walt Whitman.
We recognize, however, that the story is changing and evolving every day, and so we will be updating this page with our current plans, answers to common questions and inspiration for weathering this health crisis as we count down the days until camp.
How we’re staying connected
Each weekday and weeknight we’re offering virtual camp meetings to keep spirits high.
Tips for homeschooling
How CWW has prepared for past outbreaks like H1N1 or measles
We are confident that our previous experience dealing with international as well as communal outbreaks will serve us well in 2020. With H1N1 and measles, we required that all campers and staff receive vaccinations and instituted measures to keep campers safe throughout the summer. While vaccination will not be an option this year, the measures we put in place in past health crises will guide our preparations this year. These include:
- Required and supervised handwashing of all campers prior to meals
- Increasing the size of our cleaning staff to make sure that all cabins, bedding, bathrooms, and frequently utilized surfaces are cleaned and sanitized with increased frequency
- Health checks upon arrival and regularly scheduled throughout the summer
- Isolation rooms available for any member of our community exhibiting symptoms and preparations for any camper or staff member to return home if needed
- Ongoing communication with the CDC, the American Camp Association, and our state Department of Health to guide all policies and decisions
How CWW will prepare for COVID-19
Working with our camp medical team along with the New Hampshire Department of Health and recommendations from CDC, we are meeting on a regular basis to review all of our camp protocols and procedures. While the CDC is currently recommending that we avoid gatherings of 50 or more for the next 8 weeks, we are planning for all possible scenarios, as the information and recommendations are continually evolving.
In the meantime, while we continue to put our policies in place, this summer we will be sure we implement and emphasize:
- Supervised handwashing before all meals
- Frequent hand sanitizer utilization at stations available throughout camp
- Training for staff and campers on proper sneezing and coughing behavior (reiterating that what they have learned throughout the year still applies)
- Beds in cabins will be alternated head to toe to create the most headspace between campers at night.
- Increased size of cleaning staff so that cabins, bathrooms, showers, sinks are sanitized with greater frequency each day as well as all frequently touched surfaces (doorknobs, dining room tables, banisters, etc).
In addition, we are currently reviewing the following:
- Increased medical protocols to keep campers safe and healthy
- Additional training to provide our counselors and medical staff
- Communication methods with parents
- Camp programming changes that may need to be made this summer
Historically, camp has proved to be a safe place to weather a public health crisis
Should the virus still be of concern this summer, camp may indeed be the safest and healthiest place for children to be. As Bill Dorfman, Director Emeritus of Camp Walt Whitman recalled, “In 1953, at the height of the Polio epidemic, with Polio even more potent and harmful to children than Covid-19, Camp Walt Whitman and other camps throughout the Northeast stayed open for 9 weeks. This was done as parents realized that in terms of protecting their children, no place was safer. CWW’s directors were able to isolate camp from the outside world with only food and necessities brought in from the outside. Everyone in camp had to remain in camp.”
In other words, we have taken drastic measures before to keep campers safe during a health crisis, and are prepared to do everything necessary to ensure our camp population stays healthy this summer.