Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Academy Summer Field Schools
The health and safety of our Academy’s summer field school youth and adult participants, staff and instructors is our highest priority.
At this point, the Academy has decided to modify to a hybrid model which includes: the Virtual Field School experience + a Terrestrial or Aquatic Field Weekend Intensives (students attend only one based on which species they study at their field school).
The current limitations of the Center for Disease Control recommendations for in-person residential camps would simply not allow us to provide the high quality in-person field school experience we aim to give our students. These restrictions include limiting the size of groups and group interactions, limiting outside visitors, limiting field trips, 3-6 feet of social distancing, and quarantine protocols that would send everyone home if there were a positive case. This was not an easy decision but it was a decision that we felt will provide the surest and safest way to meet our mission to educate and empower this new class of Conservation Ambassadors.
That being said, we will be closely monitoring the situation, including the advice of the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and PA Department of Health in regards to in-person gatherings.
If an in-person field school(s) were to take place and/or for our tentative fall in person field weekends, we will be updating and reviewing our health-related plans and procedures and plan to regularly communicate with parents, staff and instructors. In creating these plans, we will follow the guidelines of the CDC, PA Department of Health, ACA (American Camp Association), and our insurance company’s suggestions for COVID-19.
In addition, to ensure cross-preparation we will be in regular communications prior to and during field school with:
- Our Field School Health Care Coordinator/Camp Nurses who serve as the primary person in charge of health care, dispensation of medications and medical history review of all participants;
- Field School Lead Coordinators who lead field school under the direction of the Executive Director;
- Krislund Camp and Conference Center’s Staff, where our field schools are located; and
- Chef Hosch who provides our food services.
While specific email communications in regard to prevention of communicable diseases will go directly to the appropriate individuals prior to field school arrival, general prevention strategies will include:
- Requesting that participants, staff members, and instructors arrive well-rested, nourished and hydrated.
- Reserving the right of the Academy to not admit people who pose a communicable disease risk to others.
- Directing that ill people not come to field school.
- Having up-to-date Health Care Histories on each youth and adult participant, staff members, and residential instructors prior to field school to identify and support those who may be more at risk for communicable diseases.
- Update health and wellness screening policies and procedures to reflect the current best practices recommended by public health authorities.
- Orient all staff to illness-reducing strategies.
- Implement practices that minimize potential for communicable disease for the duration of field school.
- Stay up-to-date on reliable sources of information in regards to communicable diseases in general including COVID-19.
- Communicate and plan with our Health Care Coordinator, Lead Coordinators, Chef Hosch, and Camp Krislund in regards to community support and health care resources should an outbreak occur while at field school.
*Reference for above practices: Communicable Disease Management in the Camp Setting, Linda E. Erceg, RN, MS, PHN
Please do not hesitate to connect with us at any time with any questions.
Executive Director, Michele Kittell Connolly