TVRC 2022 Covid-19 Vaccine Statement and FAQ’s for Staff and Campers
At TVRC, our goal for the 2022 Season is to provide the most normal camp experience possible. The most common request that we have heard from families in the past two years is that we “operate as normally as possible”. This means: returning to free activity choice, little to no mask wearing, and enabling groups to mix and mingle at meals, during freetime, and other camp wide programs. This also means a return to outside camp programming (service projects, museums, local rodeos, and town trips).
We feel most empowered to do this responsibly if we have a high percentage of vaccinated community members. We are aiming for a 90%-95% vaccination rate within our community. Doing this allows us the comfort of returning to “normal” programming while also providing opportunities for exemptions. The ultimate goal is keeping our community healthy.
Further, our intent to target a high percentage of our community to be vaccinated is the result of the following points:
It’s becoming best practice in the camping, sport, and education industries. Many other camps, our federal agency partners, and industry leaders such as NOLS are requiring participants and staff to be vaccinated. We see more schools and youth sports teams requiring vaccination as well.
We manage risk. Our job as camping professionals is to walk the fine line between risk and reward, and we do this with your campers in mind. We would never intentionally put your children, our staff, or the community at undue risk when reasonable interventions are possible. We are and have always been focused on the health of our community.
Our remote location and limited facilities, which make us special, also make this extra challenging. TVRC is already one of the most remote summer camps in the lower 48, and we have very limited local and community resources we can rely on. Further, we don’t have space or the facilities to quarantine or isolate large parts of our community. Should an outbreak occur, there is no easy way for us to quarantine or isolate groups of people without drastically affecting the program and experience.
We recognize that face-to-face interaction is essential for building relationships in a camp setting. Given how little time we have with one another each summer, face-to-face interaction helps us create the lifelong friendships we pride ourselves in. A high vaccination rate amongst our camp community allows us to not require the routine wearing of face masks as a part of our Covid management plan. This allows for easier establishment of relationships and deeper, meaningful connections within our community.
CAMPERS ARE CONSIDERED “UP TO DATE” ON VACCINE STATUS IF:
CAMPERS/ Families pursuing exemptions: TVRC will consider vaccine exemptions for campers if:
Regardless of Vaccine status, ALL Campers and Families will agree:
At this time, we don’t intend to require anyone to wear a mask unless they test positive for Covid-19, the camp is experiencing community spread, or an outbreak of Covid-19 occurs. Depending on federal guidelines, we may be required to wear masks inside federal buildings (visitor centers, fish hatcheries, etc).
We will require a pre-arrival test and may test campers on Arrival Day. After that, we only intend to test symptomatic (fever, fatigue, loss of taste/smell, cough) community members. Acceptable tests are an FDA-authorized viral COVID-19 test, a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (such as a PCR/molecular test), or an antigen test that is preferably administered in a healthcare setting or certified testing site. While we strongly encourage tests to be administered in a medical setting, we will accept tests collected at home to ensure all camper families have the ability to test their campers before camp. If submitting a negative at-home test, families must take a picture of the test and result, camper name, and date of the test. Campers who have tested positive for Covid-19 90 days prior to camp will need to submit verification of infection, including a positive test result at that time of infection, or a doctor’s note to verify their recovery. All test results need to be submitted in the forms section of a camper’s CampInTouch or Campanion app prior to the camper traveling to the ranch.
Although strongly encouraged, we are not requiring boosters for campers at this time.
We are examining this possibility, but it is likely that we would require proof of infection within a short window (2-4 months) prior to camp. Thus an infection from Christmas/New Years of 2021 would fall outside the window. Currently there is no waiver for prior infections.
We hope Covid-19 is becoming less of an issue and starts to move into an endemic state. However, as risk managers, it’s our job to prepare for the absolute worst case scenario, which would be a major resurgence and/or another strain of significance.
No. We intend to treat all campers the same, regardless of vaccination status. All campers might be required to wear masks, comply with testing, or quarantine/isolation but we do not intend to single out one group.
The ultimate goal is to reach a 90-95% community vaccination rate. We believe this level of vaccination will help limit community spread and outbreaks; therefore letting us run a normal program.
Over the last two summers we have drastically changed our camp program to include cohorting, restricted activities, limited time off (for staff), and discouraging midseason visitors. Our goal this summer is to be back to running normal, free choice programs, no cohorting, bringing back trips to the Dinosaur Museum, Dubois Rodeo, and town trips. We want to be able to give staff the time off campus which they need and deserve and of course, welcome back parents for visiting opportunities.
Our biggest fear is that we fail on the execution of our program to our campers and families. Covid is such an unusual illness, and our limited resources and isolated locations make dealing with it a very difficult challenge. We hold ourselves to high standards in everything we do, and even the smallest outbreak of Covid 19 takes time, talent, and program shifts to accommodate. When staff have to cover other areas because of illness it can lead to burnout, and your campers experience may suffer. Likewise, when campers are quarantined or isolated, or we have to enact major program shifts, expectations aren’t met which can lead to a less impactful camp experience.
We Have! Camps nationwide are experiencing similar staffing challenges as other businesses. TVRC is actually ahead of the majority of our peers; however, we still don’t have the housing/facilities to accommodate a significant increase in staff. Further, our training program is extremely detailed and thorough, so it’s nearly impossible to recreate it midseason or for late season hires. TVRC currently intends to hire around 108 staff members for the summer of 2022 which is a significant increase from 2021.
From the beginning, this has been very fluid, and we try to stay ahead of the curve. It is always possible that this could change (both more relaxed or more strict) as we get closer to camp. We will keep following the CDC, State of Wyoming, our federal partners, and our community members to try and find the best way forward.
We truly believe that a Healthy Camp Begins at Home. The Campanion App makes it easier than ever to track your campers health daily for the week prior to camp and only moments to complete. A healthy camp goes beyond just Covid-19; when your camper arrives at camp well-rested, hydrated, and illness-free, it makes a world of difference.