Woodland Discovery Covid-19 Statment
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19 has been declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 is extremely contagious and is believed to spread mainly from person-to person contact. As a result, government and health agencies recommend social distancing and have issued guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure. North Carolina has issued guidance specific for day camps, much of which applies to the indoor setting and intermingling multiple groups of children. (See https://files.nc.gov/ncdhhs/documents/files/covid-19/NC-Interim-Guidance-for-Day-Camp-Settings.pdf)
Of all the programs you may consider, Woodland offers some definite benefits:
- It is easier to "social distance" outdoors
- Being outdoors increases immune system support
- The outdoors provides mostly porous surfaces, which at this point indicates a shorter virus life.
- We will be almost exclusively outside, and sunshine not only provides Vit. D for our immune system, but also reportedly decreases the virus life.
- There are psychological benefits to getting kids out of isolation, able to socialize and "back to normal" as much as possible.
So, in following guidelines, here are our plans in moving forward. Understand that we are watching trends and scientific studies which may further inform our practices.
- Families will complete a health questionnaire at the beginning of each week along with a "COVID specific" liability release.
- Parents are responsible for "social distancing" during drop-off and pick-up. We also ask you to apply sunscreen and bug spray before drop off and provide "easy to open" snack/lunch items.
- Our first day discussion will include along with the normal "rules and risks" discussion, but also an age appropriate discussion of hygiene.
- Masks seem to be a hot point of opinion. Statistics are supporting the lower risk of children getting sick, especially severely sick, but much is unknown about how infectious they may be even without symptoms. The worry seems to be how great the risk is to others, particularly older or at-risk individuals whom they are around. Non-medial masks have marginal value in many ways, but they are also a way that we show respect to others. We will provide no-sew masks, and ask children to wear them ONLY when they are talking in close proximity to another person. I personally think their greatest benefit is to remind us to be aware of our space. I will not be wearing one except when interaction requires close interaction such as putting on a band-aid or helping with snack, etc. Each teacher or assistant will do what is most comfortable for their personal situation. Wearing a mask may be suggested, but is never REQUIRED of children.
- Hand sanitizer is readily available throughout the day. Again, from what we understand so far, air borne contagions seem to be more problematic than surfaces.
- Building is not used except for bathrooms, which are disinfected after use.
- Group sizes are limited; and activities are modified to encourage distancing.
- Woodland expects immediate notification from current campers if any COVID symptoms develop, and we will pass that information on to others in that group.
We are happy to provide outdoor experiences during this unusual time, and take seriously our mission to normalize life for children in a healthy, safe and calm environment.