Covid-19 FAQs and Updates
We will continue to update this page with the most current information & news as often as possible.
Our plan is to provide an update to this page mid-month or as needed. Please email any questions to SBC.Raelynne@gmail.com and we will do our best to address those in the next update. Thank you.
May 4, 2021
We have received good news. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has included “sleepaway camps” in businesses that are permitted to open (with COVID restrictions in place) this summer in counties that are in red, orange, or yellow tiers. The Director of CDPH had also told a group of camp leaders that we could expect guidelines for resident camps by the end of March but those have yet to be released.
Unless an unlikely shift occurs in COVID-19 transmission rates in Plumas County will be permitted to operate this summer. However, until we receive the state guidelines for sleepaway camps, we still don’t know the specific procedures we will need to follow this summer, and we won’t have all those details until the guidelines are released. We are currently looking at the CDC guidelines and will be utilizing those for protocols until the CDPH releases theirs.
We are encouraged by reports of increased vaccine availability and the dramatic drop in COVID-19 transmission rates across California. We are optimistic that these trends will continue and will lead to eased restrictions and a return to more normalcy for all. Currently, the CDC is recommending that if eligible, staff, volunteers, campers, and family members should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Ideally, wait 2 weeks after completing vaccination for COVID-19 before traveling to camp. At this time that is all adults and children ages 16 and older.
We appreciate your continued patience and flexibility. While we would love to provide you with all the details about modifications we will be required to make this summer, we cannot do so until we have the guidelines. Be assured that we will strive to meet the highest health standards for our camper and staff members’ health and safety.
February 28, 2021
We continue to wait for resident / overnight camp guidelines from the California Department of Public Health. This information will help us to define our policies and procedures for this summer and address specific COVID-19 related questions from our camp community. We appreciate your patience in this process.
At this time our policies and procedures are likely to change in the coming months based on the prevalence of the virus and evolving state and county health guidelines, so check back here regularly for updates.
As we’ve learned over the past year, it’s difficult to predict what will be happening with the COVID-19 virus from month to month. We remain optimistic, with the distribution of vaccines now beginning, that life will start to look closer to normal this summer.
Over the next few months, we will continue to assess our policies and protocols, provide updates and current answers to some of the questions you may have. Our hope, like yours, is that by this summer not all of these measures will be necessary. We remain prepared to operate Sierra Bible Camp under the health guidelines that have been directed and recommended for residential / overnight summer camps for 2021. We appreciate your patience and flexibility.
Answers to the questions below are current as of February 28, 2021 We will be in touch with our enrolled camp families regularly with updates about the summer of 2021 and will update this page monthly.
Will campers need to be tested for COVID-19 prior to coming to camp?
At this time we do not anticipate requesting a negative test for our campers or volunteer staff members to attended.
Will campers be required to be vaccinated prior to arrival at camp?
We anticipate that most of our adult volunteer staff members will be vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to their arrival at camp. At this time, it doesn’t seem likely that vaccines for COVID-19 will be available for children by summer. We will provide up-to-date details prior to camp and will follow CDC and Health Department recommended vaccination guidelines for schools and other youth-serving organizations.
Will you offer bus transportation to camp?
While we hope to offer our normal bus transportation to and from Sierra Bible Camp from Stockton, there be a possibility that parents may need to drive their children to and from camp. We are considering many options, including having more buses so that campers can be spread out on each bus if needed or recommended. If we do offer bus transportation, masks may need to be worn while on board and the cost may be increased due to needing more buses to transport different groups of campers.
Will campers need to wear a mask while at camp?
Campers may need to be prepared to wear a mask during certain times, but because our cabin groups (8-10 campers with 2-3 counselors) live and eat together, it is basically their “family group” while they’re at camp. They will not be required to wear masks while eating, sleeping or being outside. We are looking at procedures for when campers will be within 6 feet of others outside of their cabin group while indoors. Exact mask requirements will be dictated by state and local health guidelines in place this summer
Will there be all-camp events like Worship, Banquet, Sports and Campfire?
Yes, we will have all the same Sierra Bible Camp events! We anticipate needing to break some all-camp events into smaller ones to help with camper distancing but all the same events will happen. We already have many events for our campers based on their age group. (Pre-campers, Junior and Senior camper designations) The Banquet may be held completely outdoors and other events are being arranged. Again, all accommodations will depend on guidance from state and local health guidelines and our volunteer health professionals.
What if there’s a positive test result at camp?
We have several registered nurses that volunteer as staff for Sierra Bible Camp, at their recommendation if a camper or volunteer staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19 they will be isolated and we will be contacting parents to arrange same day camper pick up. Closer to summer, we will know the specific quarantine and testing requirements for cabin groups and other age cohort campers and staff who were in contact with a COVID-19 positive community member.
Will I get a refund if camp is canceled or my child needs to come home early?
If the state of California does not allow us to operate this summer (see below), we will refund all camp fees, as we did last year.
Camper fees will not be refunded if a child needs to depart camp early because of COVID-19 symptoms, positive test or quarantine order.
If you have any concerns about your child attending camp this summer because of underlying health issues in your child or family, or because you don’t agree with possible changes we may need to make to our program, we urge you to consider postponing your child’s attendance at Sierra Bible Camp until 2022. We have always appreciated the loyalty, cooperation, support, and trust of our camp families. This year, more than ever, we need to be on the same team, with the same objectives, heading into summer.
Refunds of camp fees will not be given after May 30, 2021 for families who have already registered and paid because of any changes in procedures or programming due to COVID-19, including, for example, modification of activities, lack of bus service, or any mask-wearing or testing requirements.
What precautions will you take regarding using common space facilities such as the restrooms, the dining hall, nurse's station, chapel bowl, campfire, sports areas and the canteen?
Bathrooms: Bathrooms will be cleaned regularly throughout the day.
Dining hall: Scheduled, staggered meal times to our dining hall will keep the area less crowded and allow for plenty of space between groups. A modified salad bar and drink station with most items “grab and go” or served by our kitchen staff will reduce the amount of utensils and surfaces touched by campers and staff.
Chapel Bowl, Campfire, Sports areas, Crafts and Canteen: These areas will be open for normal use when scheduled for worship, organized and free time activities. The canteen will be open as scheduled and campers and staff will continue to order items through the outdoor windows.
Nurses' station: Our nurse's station will continue to have different check-in times and spaces for medications, injuries, and sickness and will request social distancing as possible.
The American Camp Association (ACA) is working with an independent expert panel being coordinated by Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EH&E) to provide guidelines and educational resources to camps and state and local health departments. A field guide has been developed and will be updated to provide camp directors with a practical guide and educational resources to implement specific recommendations provided by the CDC in relation to risk reduction at camps.
Sierra Bible Camp, Stockton, Lodi and Galt will use the Field Guide for Camps as a template to create a plan specific to our encampment based on the recommendations from the ACA, as well as guidelines from the state of California. We will update protocols and procedures specific to our week as updates to the field guide are made available. In addition to the field guide, we are awaiting resident / overnight camp guidance from California state and local health officials.
SBC has always emphasized health and hygiene at camp, even before the current pandemic. In fact, on the first day of camp, all campers are given instructions on how to wash their hands, sneeze into their elbows, and practice proper hygiene etiquette in our dinning hall. The program and facilities at Sierra Bible Camp are ideal for the current conditions. Many of our procedures we already do at camp are in line with these guidelines:
Campers participate in activities with their own cabin groups such as bible class, dining and sleeping.
Cabins of campers in the same age group engage in smaller group activities during the session (similar to cohorts).
Many activities are held outdoors
Our Nurse's station has isolation rooms and a separate area for campers receiving their medication.
Camp staff check the cleanliness of hands before each meal.
Enhancements to what we already do, such as adjustments to programming, grouping, meals, transportation, screening, temperature checks and other areas will be communicated to our camp families and staff as we update our COVID plan based on the field guide. We anticipate providing an initial draft of this in May. In the meantime, if you have questions, concerns, or suggestions, we are happy to talk with you.