COVID-19 Camp Updates

June 2 Update (NOTE: There are modifications to previous COVID policies)


Ijams is excited that day camp programs in summer 2021 will reconvene for local families with kids who are in need of meaningful outdoor experiences! 


Summer is here, and since much has changed since early this year in 2021 with regards to COVID-19, we wanted to make sure you had access to our UPDATED COVID-19 SUMMER CAMP POLICIES.


As our team prepares for camp to begin, the organization continues to modify its practices to allow for the ability to offer camps safely for everyone involved. As such, all parents/guardians of participants attending Ijams camps will be responsible for understanding and following the important safety guidelines concerning COVID-19 listed below. In that case, Ijams staff will update you prior to camp with new guidelines concerning COVID and your role.


1. All participants and staff will be expected to complete a health screening upon arrival each day. 


The screening will include self-screening questions for campers and/or parents to answer such as:


  • Is the participant experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, aches, chills, sore throat, headache, shortness of breath, cough, nausea?

  • Has the participant tested positive for COVID-19 or been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

  • Has the participant been asked by a health professional to self-quarantine?


Campers, parents, or staff who have household members who are displaying symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed at camp until cleared by health officials.


2. Camp group sizes are limited to 12 participants and two staff members (for camps ages 6-12), with few exceptions.  

  • In order to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 within the camp setting, groups will function as stable ‘units’ that do not generally mix with other groups unless participant safety dictates otherwise, or occasionally when multiple ‘units’ will gather for larger group activities. 

  • During these ‘larger group activities’ where multiple camper ‘units’ can  gather together and cannot maintain six feet of distance between each unit, campers will be strongly encouraged to wear an approved facial covering.

  • Groups might have separate locations or times for drop-off and pick-up. Exact details will be provided in confirmations sent to registered families prior to the session.  

  • Groups will have designated staff members for the duration of the camp session, all of which are fully vaccinated or in-process of vaccination.

  • All camp staff will be fully vaccinated, or will be required to wear a mask when camp is in session.

  • Within those ‘units’, campers will be able to be outside, mask-free, and will only maintain six feet of physical distance from one another when possible and appropriate, unless specific campers are known to be from the same family or household. 


3. In the few times where campers will gather in larger camp groups (when multiple smaller camper ‘units’ gather together and cannot maintain six feet of distance between each cohort group) campers will be strongly encouraged to wear an approved facial covering. When those seldom moments arise at camp when a camper needs to mask, these are the following guidelines:


  • If a camper does not come with a mask that properly fits their face and adequately covers their nose and mouth, Ijams staff will provide one for them if they are in need. 

  • If any camper is struggling with wearing a mask, a staff member will assist and work with them to find a healthy solution. 

  • If extenuating medical or physical circumstances prevent your camper from wearing a mask during camp, Ijams staff will work individually with families on a case-by-case basis to determine solutions or a course of action. 

  • Ijams realizes that keeping masks on kids for even for short periods of time is difficult during most typical camp activities due to the heat, water play, and physical movement. So Ijams staff will work to find the safest and most appropriate solution for a camper with the help of their family, while also keeping camp spaces fun, enriching, and safe for others.


4. All camp programs will take place outside. The only exception is when participants, staff, or volunteers must use the restroom in the Ijams Nature Center, there is extreme inclement weather, or deemed appropriate by leadership staff.


  • In the event of inclement weather (including thunderstorms), staff, volunteers, and participants will seek shelter in one of Ijams’ outdoor pavilions, and do our best to stay in our designated ‘units’. 

  • If inclement weather is deemed too dangerous or poses undue risks to camper safety, parents will be called to pick campers up early. 


5. Before and after eating any food, as well as after restroom use, participants will engage in hand-washing strategies that include washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds


  • Ijams staff also will provide hand sanitizer to participants if soap and water are not available in such situations.

  • At Ijams Adventure Camp base (Ijams Mead Quarry), private individual use bathrooms, handwashing stations, and private changing rooms will be provided and cleaned daily to offer campers and Ijams staff separate bathroom, hand washing, and changing areas from the public.  


6. Materials provided by Ijams will be distributed to participants in a way that limits handling to just one participant.


  • Prior to handing out materials for an activity, and immediately following an activity that requires handling materials, participants will use hand sanitizer provided by Ijams staff.

  • All materials used by staff, volunteers, and participants will be disinfected after use and allowed to dry prior to use by anyone else.


7. A camper or staff member who displays symptoms of COVID-19, as defined by the CDC, at any time during the camp day will be isolated from other campers and staff by a distance of at least six feet, and sent home with instructions to contact their physician for further guidance and testing before they are allowed to return to camp.


Parents and staff are expected to notify Ijams of any positive COVID-19 test results within 24 hours of receiving them. Ijams will then notify the Department of Health, which will supervise contact tracing efforts.


8. It is expected that families will maintain an open line of communication with Ijams staff if there are any members of the camper’s family or “COVID bubble” (someone the camper resides with or spends majority of their time with) who are sick, exhibiting any flu-like symptoms, have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID, or is currently waiting for COVID test results.


  • It is expected that all families will keep a camper home if they feel sick or are exhibiting any flu-like symptoms, and/or others in their family are experiencing flu-like symptoms of any kind. 

  • Parents may have to pick up a camper in the event that a camper is sick or experiencing physical, mental, or emotional challenges that prevent them from participating safely in camp. 

  • Parents may also have to return a camper hom upon registration at the beginning of the day if they do not pass their health screening. 

9. Ijams staff will update families enrolled in camp about any changes to policies, including COVID-19 mitigation.


10. Ijams staff also will do its best to work with all families, campers, and staff to find appropriate and healthy solutions to situations that have the potential to wear away at the integral safety net Ijams has maintained throughout the pandemic. 


Thank you in advance for your continued support and swift communication during this time so that Ijams remains able to offer meaningful outdoor experiences to all families who need them for their kids. 


Do not hesitate to contact Youth Programs Manager, Lindsay Whitaker  at +1865-577-4717 ext. 114 or if you have any questions or concerns.


Thank you kindly,


Lindsay Whitaker

Youth Program Manger

Camp Updates