Baltimore Woods Summer Nature Day Camp COVID-19 FAQs for Parents

We are closely monitoring the requirements at the state and local level related to children’s camp operations and what they mean for our campers at Baltimore Woods Nature Center. Everyone’s safety will be of paramount concern, and while camp will be somewhat different, the core values of our camp remain the same – the benefits of playing outside for children cannot be overestimated, and the personal connection with nature they develop at camp will last their whole lives.
The following FAQs summarize our most up-to-date COVID-19 safety protocols. As new information emerges from health officials, these protocols may change. Registered camp families will be notified via email of any changes.

Click here to read the official summary of day camp guidelines issued by the NYS Department of Health.

During COVID-19, camp groups are planned to have 8 campers with one Teen Volunteer and one adult Counselor. Camp groups at Baltimore Woods are typically no more than 11 campers with one Teen Volunteer and one adult Counselor.

Camp staff are required to maintain a minimum of six feet of physical distance from one another and campers unless safety, caring for, or responding to the needs of a camper takes precedence, in which case acceptable facial coverings will be worn.

Camp groups will function as stable units that do not mix with other groups unless camper safety dictates otherwise.

Camp groups will maintain six feet of physical distance between groups whenever possible, facial coverings will be worn by both staff and campers if groups cannot maintain this distance (during thunderstorm sheltering or passing each other on the trail, for example).

Campers within their own group are encouraged to maintain physical distancing from one another whenever possible or will be requested by their counselor to put on their facial covering.

In short, yes. As of March 2021, New York State guidelines say that campers within their stable group are not required to wear facial coverings while at camp activity locations that are separate from public areas, but at Baltimore Woods Nature Center, our policy is that program participants wear masks whenever physical distancing of 6 feet is not possible. Given current trends in masking recommendations from the CDC, we expect this guideline to be updated. Campers are required to wear masks during specific activities when campers are in close proximity, inside buildings during severe weather, while on public trails, and/or while passing another camp group or public hikers. 

Each day campers are asked to bring one mask and pack a spare.  

Baltimore Woods will supply each counselor with extra disposable face masks if a camper or staff member needs a replacement. 

Camp staff will wear acceptable masks at all times when interacting with campers, regardless of physical distance. The most current CDC recommendations for “acceptable” masks can be found here: 

Counselors and camp staff will be trained in proper use and disposal of PPE.

Counselors will be provided with masks, face shields, gloves, and disposable gowns that they carry with their first aid kits at all times.

The camp Health Director will have additional supplies of PPE in the camp infirmary.

Campers will be instructed on proper hand hygiene practices and all campers and staff will practice good hand hygiene upon arrival at camp, in between activities, and before leaving camp.

Handwashing stations with soap and water will be available at all portable toilets and behind the back deck of the Interpretive Center.

Counselors and/or Teen Volunteers will carry soap and water for frequent hand washing on the trails as well as hand sanitizer when camp groups are at remote locations. Hand sanitizer will also be available at activity areas near the Interpretive Center.

Much of our camp activities will remain the same with only minor adjustments to allow for reduced physical contact between campers.

Specific camp areas, such as Peanut Hill and Phillips Pond will be limited to one camper group at a time.

Inter-group games like Capture-the-flag, Kick-the-can, and Tug-o-war will not be available this summer. These can be played (with physical distancing modifications) by individual stable groups.

Multiple group campfire cookouts and swamp days will be modified to be done by individual stable groups, and campers will need to bring their own s’more ingredients this year.

Meals and snacks will be eaten outside, and away from public areas whenever possible.

Campers and staff will distance themselves 6 feet apart from one another while eating.

Counselors will oversee handwashing with soap and water before and after meals and snacks. Parents are encouraged to pack food items that are easy to open to limit the need for adult assistance and potential food contamination.

Picnic tables will be spread 6 feet apart and will be cleaned before and after use.

To reduce the number of vehicles and campers arriving at the same time each day, we use a staggered schedule and drive-through system for pick up and drop off. 

Parents must remain in their vehicles and campers will be escorted to and from their vehicles by camp staff. 

Families will get an email outlining the full details of this process and their assigned pick-up/drop-off times in the weeks leading up to their camp sessions. 

Campers and staff who are sick, or who live with anyone who is sick, are required to stay home.

All staff and campers will be screened upon arrival at Baltimore Woods each day of camp. Parents with a specific need to enter the building or enter camp activity areas must call the Interpretive Center upon arrival and will also be screened.

Screening for campers will take place at their vehicles during drop-off and will be conducted by the Health Director or other trained Baltimore Woods Nature Center staff.

Campers, staff, and/or parents will be asked if they have:

  • knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has
  • tested positive for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19;
  • tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days; and/or
  • experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
  • traveled outside of NYS in the past 14 days.

Parents can answer these questions on their child’s behalf.

Screening will include a temperature check using contactless digital thermometers.

The Health Director will keep a daily log of screening results for all staff and campers.

Campers and staff displaying symptoms of COVID-19 as outlined by the CDC will be sent home and instructed to contact their physician for further guidance and testing before they are allowed to return to camp. Symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle/body aches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion/runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. Parents can find the complete list of symptoms on the CDC website here:

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 6 feet, and sent home with instructions to contact their physician for further guidance and testing.

Parents and staff are required to notify Baltimore Woods of any positive COVID-19 test results within 24 hours of receiving them. Baltimore Woods is then required to notify the Department of Health who will supervise contact tracing efforts.

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

Portable toilets will be available at the upper parking lot, the lower parking lot, and at the north end of the preserve. Portable toilets and restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly once daily, and spot cleaned between stable camp groups’ usage using a bleach solution recommended by the CDC. 

If your child is unfamiliar or uncomfortable using portable toilets, we encourage you to bring your child to Baltimore Woods before summer camp begins to become familiarized with these facilities – it can go a long way toward reducing anxiety and accidents at camp.  

Campers and staff will wash or sanitize their hands between program activities.

Activities will be modified to limit the amount of shared equipment among campers.

All equipment (such as nets, bug jars, and binoculars) will be cleaned with disinfectant after each use.

High use surfaces, such as benches, tables, and chairs will be sanitized daily.

Instructional and reminder signs promoting proper hand hygiene and physical distancing will be posted at hand washing stations and in high use activity areas.

All camp activities will happen outside. The Interpretive Center will only be used by camp groups as a shelter during severe weather.

When campers enter the Interpretive Center, they will be required to wear masks and follow labeled indoor traffic patterns to maximize one-way flow and physical distancing between individuals.

Indoor restrooms will be limited to one camper at a time, and disinfected after use.

The Interpretive Center will remain closed to the public for the duration of summer camp.

During a thunderstorm or other severe weather, campers will be brought inside. The program room will be limited to three groups, separated by a minimum of 6 feet. The main entryway, library, log cabin, and pole barn will be used for one additional group each. Campers and staff are required to wear their masks while indoors.