Watitoh Summer 2021 COVID FAQs (updated 5/20)

What is the BIG PICTURE for summer 2021?

First and foremost, it is going to be an amazing summer! Our campers and staff (and parents) need camp more than ever and we are ready and excited to welcome our camp family back to the shores of Center Lake. While the most important parts of camp will remain the same, the traditions, the friendships, the personal growth, the activities, and the sense of a close-knit family, there will have to be some parts of camp that will be different in order to keep our community healthy and safe during this time. Despite some of these new policies and procedures, we know that camp will feel like Watitoh, the way it always has been and the way it always will be.

Watitoh will operate as a modified bubble. Overnight camp is one of the rare places that can create some type of bubble – limiting the number of people coming in and out of camp. As of now, we plan for our campers to enjoy the activities and opportunities on our camp property without spending time interacting with people outside of our community.

We will use many layers of protection including testing, cohorting, masking, and social distancing to move through a Watitoh-designed phase system, similar to which has been implemented by our local towns and states. We have developed requirements around each of these phases that, along with guidance from the State of Massachusetts and the CDC, will help us work through each phase and one step closer to engaging more as one community.

What will the “Watitoh Modified bubble” look like?

Once all of our campers and staff have arrived, we will be limiting the number of people coming in and out of camp so we can reduce the opportunities for someone to bring COVID-19 into our community. We know that we can’t guarantee a virus-free summer, but we do know that we can create an amazing summer and handle a case if it should arise.

Our camp program was made for this! In a typical summer, campers move through their day mostly as a bunk, and that will stay the same. As we progress through phases, we will expand that to the age group and beyond. We are very fortunate to already have a program designed that is on-campus centric and we will continue to take advantage of having our own overnight camping site on property, hiking trails, and awesome in-house special events and evening programs.

Intercamps and out-of-camp will not be possible. We will create more leagues and competitive experiences for interested campers. In addition, we are exploring local hiking trips, overnight camping experiences, canoe trips, and other outdoor pursuits that will keep us isolated from the general public.

Our TIC and Waiters have traditionally gone off campus one night a week. We have already planned some really great special activities for this age group so that those Thursday nights can feel different, unique, and full of surprises.

What is expected of campers and families prior to the start of camp?

Prevention begins with healthy behaviors in the weeks leading to the start of camp. The success of summer 2021 begins with each family’s adherence to the below pre-camp restrictions. In order for our campers and staff to arrive healthy, we strongly ask that our campers and their families act as conservatively as possible for the ten days prior to camp. We appreciate each family’s partnership in opening camp safely by:

  • Staying home as much as possible.
  • Avoiding large crowds including but not limited to; graduation parties (indoors or outdoors), sports, restaurants, Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, funerals, etc.
  • Limiting contact with non-immediate family members.
  • Wearing a mask when outside of your home.
  • Staying more than 6 feet away from people that are not in your immediate family or anyone in your household that is sick.

We know that some campers will still be in school, and we ask that they avoid any exposure outside their usual school procedures.  Campers and staff attending in-person school should be wearing their mask and practicing physical distancing while in school.

We understand that today’s guidelines continue to evolve and loosen.  This does not impact the expected behaviors above.   In order to create our modified bubble, we need everyone to be as vigilant as possible.

Is a Pre Camp test required before my camper arrives on the first day?

All campers and staff (regardless of vaccination status) will need to show a negative PCR test 72 hours before camper arrival.  As a reminder, the days following this PCR test will be the most critical in ensuring no additional exposure. Please stay home!

We have partnered with PM Pediatrics to do our pre-camp PCR testing. We highly recommend using their services as it will streamline the process and how camp receives the results. In the event that PM Pediatrics will not work for your family, there are two other options as well. We have partnered with PM Pediatrics to do our pre-camp PCR testing. We highly recommend using their services as it will streamline the process and how camp receives the results. In the event that PM Pediatrics will not work for your family, there are two other options as well.  Click here for more info.

Below are the options for this PCR test:

PM Pediatrics PCR Test (preferred and covered by most insurance policies) – Watitoh has secured specific time slots for our camp families to make this as easy and desired as possible.

      • Patients will be required to submit registration forms online & complete a pre-screening telehealth visit before they are able to receive an onsite COVID-19 PCR/nasal swab test at a PM Pediatrics office.
      • On 5/24/21 patients will visit pmpediatrics.com/camp and choose the state they will be in when having their telehealth visit.
      • A link will then be available for patients to register. You must complete the entire registration process for each child that will need a COVID-19 PCR/nasal swab test.  This process includes approval of our primary consent form which allows PM Pediatrics to treat the patient, bill to the insurance carrier, and acknowledges our HIPAA policy.
        • Signing a HIPAA waiver gives permission for PM Pediatrics to release test results directly to your camp
      • Upon completion of the registration, patients will choose a date and time for their telehealth appointment.
      • Telehealth visits will be available from 6/8/21 – 6/18/21
        • For families with multiple children a registration and appointment MUST be made for each camper
        • Each family will have one video call where the doctor will assess every camper receiving a Covid 19 PCR test
        • Each child (18 and under) that needs a COVID-19 PCR test must be present with the parent/guardian during the telehealth visit
    • In-person COVID-19 PCR/Nasal Swab Tests:
      • The COVID-19 PCR/nasal swab tests will be administered in person at PM Pediatrics offices.
      • PM Pediatrics will not collect a co-pay at the time of the COVID-19 nasal swab test. We will bill each family’s insurance and any financial responsibility will be determined and communicated by the patient’s insurance carrier.

Vault Saliva Test

    • This at-home saliva-based PCR test is remotely supervised and gives results in 24-48 hours
    • This test will need to be ordered by June 10th as it will be shipped directly to your house and will need need to be returned to Vault Health.
    • Visit https://learn.vaulthealth.com/summer-camp-2021/ to order your test ASAP.

Local PCR Test provider

    • You can visit your local doctor or testing lab to have the PCR test done.
    • This test may NOT be self-administrated (like some drive-thru pharmacies and testing centers)

What happens if my camper(s) pre-camp test is positive?

Campers will have to isolate at home for 10 days and follow CDC and local public health guidelines to come to camp.  S/he will be permitted to come to camp after this 10-day period, clearance by his doctor and the Wwatitoh Medical Staff.

Siblings who attend camp in the same household will also be required to stay home and quarantine for a period of time determined by the Watitoh medical team.  A negative test prior to camp will be required for the sibling(s).

When should we start our pre-camp wellness screening?

Start Your Daily Health Screenings on Wednesday, June 16th

Families are required to use the Campanion App to record their camper(s) daily wellness screening starting on June 16th. The Campanion App works in conjunction with your My Watitoh account and the login and password are the same.

  • The App can be found on your phone’s App Store and if you have not already done so, families should download this App today.
  • Once logged in, click “Health Check” within the App menu. The Health Check questions should be completed by 11:00 am each day while our medical team monitors the daily responses.
  • Similar to school, completing the daily wellness check is required for your son to attend camp on time.
  • Download the Campanion App:
    • Download the app on Apple or Android (Search Campanion in the App Store).
    • Using the email and password combination associated with your MyWatitoh account, log in to Campanion.
    • Once you have logged in, click “get started” to complete Health Screening.
  • To complete the health screening, once logged in, click “Health Check” within the App menu. The Health Check questions should be completed by 12 noon each day.
  • Our Medical Staff will be monitoring the responses on a daily basis.
    • Please notify info@campwatitoh.com
      • If camper, or anyone in immediate household has symptoms in the 10 days prior to camp.
      • If the camper had a positive Covid test within 30-90 days prior to camp.
      • If anyone in the household has a positive test within 10 days of camp.
    • Please contact us with any questions about Campanion.
What will camper arrival look like?

This summer, families will need to drop off their camper(s) at Watitoh on the first day of camp, Saturday, June 26th.  Each age group/division will be assigned a specific drop-off time. Families with siblings will have the choice to drop off your campers during one of their camper’s drop-off window or wait for each sibling’s designated time for arrival to camp. We plan to run busses home from camp to the NY area on Sunday, July 25th, and Friday, August 13th.

Families cannot carpool or rideshare with people outside of their immediate family.    This will defeat the goal of our opening day podding procedures with the potential of a positive  COVID case impacting multiple pods.

Campers and parents should expect that the drop-off at camp will be a “drop and go” feel.  After the rapid and PCR testing is complete, parents will say a quick goodbye to their camper(s) and quickly proceed off camp property. Our goal is to get our campers settled and into the routine of camp as quickly as possible and not allow for the drop-off to linger any longer than necessary. Please respect our plans that we will not be offering visits to the bunks, tours of camp, or parents leaving their vehicles during the drop-off windows.

This year, all camper baggage must be shipped to/from camp PRIOR to camper arrival day through R&B Camp Baggage or dropped off to camp BEFORE June 24th.  Camper’s may only arrive with their backpack/”bus bag” on June 26th.  Please visit rbcampbaggage.com to complete their online reservation form.   You will be contacted in June regarding baggage pick-up dates.

Camper’s designated age group drop-off window can be found below. This day has been carefully planned to allow for our initial “pods” to formulate and to maintain the true spirit, energy and structure of any other Watitoh opening day.

Age Group drop-off windows are the following:

  • Debs and Cadets (entering 2nd, 3rd, 4th): 10:00 am – 10:30 am
  • Inters and Scouts (entering 5th): 10:30 am- 11:00 am
  • Middies and Rangers (entering 6th): 11:00 am -11:30 am
  • Junior Girls and Boys (entering 7th): 11:30-12:00 pm
  • Senior Girls and Boys (entering 8th): 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm
  • Waiters (entering 10th, 11th, 12th): 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm
  • TICS (entering 10th, 11th, 12th): 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm
  • Upper Senior Girls and Boys (entering 9th): 1:30- 2:00 pm

Upon arrival to camp, our leadership and nursing staff will screen each camper. Arrival screening will include:

  • Temperature, Symptom check of Covid-19, and exposure assessment
  • Proof of negative PCR COVID-19 results.
  • Rapid Antigen COVID Test
  • PCR COVID Test

Please note, if a camper arrives with a temperature over 100.4 degrees, or tests positive on a COVID test, they will not be allowed to stay at camp.

How often will campers be testing for COVID-19?

We will continue to seek information and best practice from medical experts in the field, the CDC, the Massachusetts Board of Health and the American Camp Association. Camp Watitoh has been certified by the State of Massachusetts as a CLIA-Waived Site for 2021, allowing all Covid-19 tests to be administered by trained camp personnel, on-site.  We will have two different rapid antigen tests on camp, and a rapid PCR test available to us 24/7.  Both tests will give results in less than 20 mins.

Current testing protocols:

Test 1

All campers and staff  (regardless of vaccination status) will need to show a negative PCR test 72 hours before camper arrival.  As a reminder, the days following this PCR test will be the most critical in ensuring no additional exposure. Please stay home!

We have partnered with PM Pediatrics to do our pre-camp PCR testing. We highly recommend using their services as it will streamline the process and how camp receives the results. In the event that PM Pediatrics will not work for your family, there are two other options as well.  An email will outline our partnership with PM Pediatrics and instructions on how to register.

Below are the options for this PCR test:

  • PM Pediatrics PCR Test (preferred and covered by most insurance policies)
  • Vault Saliva Test (https://learn.vaulthealth.com/summer-camp-2021/) – Order by June 10th to guarantee arrival
  • Local PCR Test provider (must not self-administrated)

Test 2 – PCR and rapid Antigen tests upon arrival

Test 3 – PCR test (approximately 5 to 7 days into camp)

Test 4 – PCR pool test (approximately 10 to 12 days into camp)

We may consider additional all camp tests, individual or pool, further into the summer. Our decision will be based on prior test results, how the camp program is proceeding, and surveillance. If a decision is made to implement additional testing, parents will be notified.  Diagnostic and surveillance testing will be implemented throughout the summer as needed and communicated with parents.


COVID-19 testing is required for all vaccinated campers and staff! 


If a camper or staff tested positive for COVID within 90 days prior to arrival (May or June) they may attend camp and be exempt from testing if:

  • They met the CDC requirements to end Isolation:
  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving — loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation​
  • Submit documentation of positive viral test results (dated) and a letter from their healthcare provider or a public health official that states they have been cleared for camp.
  • If the camper or staff have had COVID-19 prior to the 90 day window before arriving at camp, they WILL need to be tested and are NOT exempt from testing.


Will campers be wearing masks and begin the summer in pods?

Campers will be required to wear masks at times throughout the summer. At the beginning, each bunk/pod will be considered “a family” and when inside their “home” or cabin with their bunkmates, campers and staff will not need to wear masks. While in pods, our campers will still experience a full day and evening schedule of fun. When it is safe and comfortable, we will continue to increase the pod size, and minimize the amount of time spent in masks.

What additional items do you need to pack?

The following updated items should be included in your camp bags:

  • 150 disposable masks (preferred) – Gaiters and buffs are not allowed.  We believe disposable masks, in a camp setting, are better than cloth as the cloth masks could be lost or misplaced.
  • 2 water bottles clearly labeled
  • Hand sanitizer (Travel size)


What are the plans for Summer Dates and Visiting Day?

Our plan is to run camp on the typical calendar that we have laid out.

We have made the difficult decision to NOT host an in-person Parent’s Visiting Day.   We will be offering new and creative ways to stay connected with your camper this summer. We cannot wait to share more in the upcoming weeks! In addition, we will work with each family to make sure their child has the right amount of connection, continues to thrive, and even has something special to open on that day.

Parents will receive a  USPS box that you can fill with some surprises from home for your camper(s) to enjoy on Visiting Day. This box will be handed to you at camper drop-off. More details will follow

What will meals look like?

We are fortunate to have our Head Chef, Joe Menzyk, back for his 34th year, and, Sous Chef Dave Allyn for his 20th summer. All kitchen staff will be masked and gloved while preparing and serving food.

Watitoh is all about family. Mealtime is one of those special times where campers and counselors connect just like around the dinner table at home. All campers and staff will eat at assigned tables.

We will have additional seating outside, under tents, to ensure more than 6 feet between cohorts. We have other meal ideas up our sleeves like socially distanced outdoor breakfasts and more cookouts!

How will the infirmary operate this summer?

We have an incredible team of medical professionals working with us this summer.  We have increased our team to four full-season nurses and two nurse assistants. We are also excited to be introducing a new relationship with a local pediatric group called Macony Pediatrics. Not only do we trust that this practice will be a wonderful partnership, we have first-hand experience with them taking care of our own children. We will have a standing daily appointment that can either be in person or virtual. In addition, we are lucky enough to work closely with Berkshire Medical Center to continue to make sure that we are getting the best care available in the Berkshires.

We will be operating two separate medical facilities:

  • Infirmary: Our main infirmary will operate as a “non-COVID” facility with our nurses available for tummy aches, rashes, and other typical summer ailments. All campers and staff entering the Infirmary must wear a mask.
  • COVID Cabin: these two rented units will be equipped with bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry for any camper or staff who needs to be isolated due to COVID-19.

There will be three distinct areas to see a nurse:

  • Daily Meds: After breakfast, medications will be dispensed at the Flowerbed immediately after breakfast. Campers who take medications at other times will see a nurse outside the Infirmary.  If your child takes a daily vitamin at home, please reconsider if it’s necessary during this summer.
  • Non-COVID symptoms: cuts, bruises, sprained ankles/wrists, in-grown toenails, bug bites, period cramps, constipation, etc…will be evaluated by a nurse in the Infirmary exam room.
  • COVID Symptoms triage tent:
    • If a camper or staff presents with any COVID symptoms they will be seen by a nurse in PPE in our COVID Triage Tent. The nurse will evaluate the camper/staff to determine action and will be given a rapid antigen test and/or a PCR test will be performed.  Those symptoms include a sustained cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, fever, fatigue, chills, headache, myalgia, sore throat, congestion, nausea, vomiting.
    • Campers and staff may be COVID tested. Until test results are back, the camper will remain in the Infirmary, and be cared for by our nursing team. If testing returns negative, the camper will return to their bunk only after they are fever and symptom-free (without medication) for at least 24 hours.
What happens if someone has COVID-19 symptoms?
  • If a camper or staff member feels sick, they will be evaluated for COVID-19 symptoms by our medical team who will also rule out other causes of sickness (ie. Strep tests, ear infections, etc.).  Our medical team may perform a rapid antigen test and/or PCR test.
  • If the camper has a fever and tests negative, we will monitor for symptoms following our normal fever protocol, which is to remain in the infirmary until they are 24 hours fever free without fever reducing medication.
  • We will monitor the other campers /staff who have come in close contact with the sick camper.
  • Parents of the sick camper will be called if he/she is spending the night in the infirmary for any reason. Unless there is a positive case of COVID-19, parents of the bunkmates of the unwell child will not be notified.
What if there is a positive test result?

In the event that a camper tests positive for COVID-19:

  • Britton or Drew will notify the parents of the COVID-positive camper as soon as a positive test is confirmed.
  • The sick camper will remain comfortably resting in our COVID cabin and cared for by our medical team until a parent or guardian arrives at camp.  He/she will need to be picked up from camp within 24 hours and preferably much sooner.
  • All campers/staff who live with or have had close contact with the sick camper/staff will be re-screened and tested. Based on those results, the campers will remain in “Pod camp” for a specific quarantine period.  They will attend camp activities throughout this time and still get to experience the best that camp has to offer!
  • Any staff that is not able to get picked up or travel home, will remain in isolation until they have been cleared by our camp doctor and finished the CDC recommended isolation.
How will camp communicate with parents in regards to COVID-19 cases and exposure?

You can depend on us to be open and honest in all of our communications. Please do not listen to the rumors and CALL Britton or Drew with any questions or concerns about what is happening at Watitoh.

  • If your camper tests positive for COVID-19, you will receive a call from Britton or Drew.
  • We will communicate the following with you via email:
    • If a camper in your child’s cabin tests positive for COVID-19. Please note that due to HIPPA laws we cannot share the name of the individual or any medical information (such as symptoms or testing) other than that he or she tested positive. In this email we will outline the plan for the rest of the campers in the cabin moving forward and we will continue to update you on a regular basis.
    • If a camper or staff member in camp has tested positive, we will notify the entire community after contact tracing is complete and all affected camper’s parents have been notified.
If my child’s bunkmate tests positive during camp, does the whole bunk need to isolate?

Not at all, the bunk can still enjoy camp as their own pod! This cabin will participate in their own schedule, socially distancing from the rest of camp, eating meals outside, wearing face coverings (when appropriate) and will be monitored for symptoms plus additional testing. We will prepare a special program with input from the group until they can rejoin the regular camp schedule. Of course, we will communicate with parents of campers in this cabin every step of the way.

What procedures are you taking with the Staff?

We have a record number of returning leadership, bunk and operational staff coming back to their summer home in 2021. In addition, our new staff hiring has never been busier, some of whom experienced Family Camp last summer!

Our staff will arrive 14 days prior to our campers and will be following a similar procedure described above with required pre-camp testing, arrival testing and multiple testing dates during staff orientation as well as cohorting, wearing of masks and social distancing as they move through the staff phases. With the added days to our orientation, it will allow staff to quarantine together, build camaraderie, create culture, and spend time training on our “new” COVID-19 procedures.

We have strongly recommended the Covid-19 vaccination to our staff. Prior to camp, the majority of our staff will be vaccinated including our leadership team and maintenance team being fully vaccinated. Further, we are working with our local Department of Health to assist with staff member vaccination, including international staff, upon arrival to Watitoh.

Will the Watitoh Staff be allowed off camp on their days off and nights off?

At this time, we are planning for a modified bubble, which will require staff to stay on campus during the summer except to visit exclusive-use locations if we are comfortable. We will have space and activities for our staff to utilize during their time off. It is a priority for us to provide opportunities for our staff to recharge, rest, and relax so they can maintain their own mental health and well-being. We have also hired a Watitoh Staff Recreation Director to help organize activities for our staff and implement new and creative ways for our staff to have a memorable summer at Watitoh!

What other steps are we are taking to prepare for the summer?
  • We will be using EPA approved cleaner on high touched areas throughout the day.
  • We purchased an electro-static sprayer backpack to sanitize hard-to-reach areas and cover more surface area.
  • We have hired additional cleaning and maintenance staff to clean bathrooms and public spaces more frequently.
  • Each program area will have cleaning supplies to sanitize between camper groups.
  • We have adjusted our schedule to include dedicated hand-washing times, temperature, and symptom checks.
  • We will be adding fans and ventilation to our indoor spaces.
  • We will have tents available for outdoor dining.
  • We will be moving some of our evening programs and special events outside to allow for greater air circulation and social distancing.
Maintaining a Healthy Camp Family

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) are proven to prevent the spread of any illness. It is important to note that for camps who opened in 2020, successful execution of the summer was not differentiated by testing alone,. NPI’s and Cleaning played a big role.

NPIs that we plan to use:

  • Increased use of outdoor spaces when available
  • Thorough cleaning of high touch/ high frequency areas
  • Masking (when outside of current cohort)
  • Physical distancing
  • Cohorting of campers and staff
  • Deliberate Programming which includes
    • Maximizing the use of outdoor and well-ventilated areas of camp
    • Programming which would focus on small clusters.


  • We will be using EPA approved Cleaner on high touched areas throughout the day.
  • Electrostatic  Backpack Sprayer – Electrostatic sprayers use positive and negative charges to make disinfecting solutions electrostatically stick to targeted surfaces.  The disinfectant wraps around and clings to the entire surface – touchfree which allows our Clean Team to simply point and spray for complete disinfection. Electrostatic sprayers will be used all throughout camp for sanitation.
  • The Clean Team will clean bunks daily – consisting of of a wipe down/disinfect of all highly used areas such as, but not limited to: door handles, sinks, toilets, and showers.  This works in conjunction with the cleaning done by the bunks campers/staff.
  • All indoor and outdoor common areas that do not fall under a specific program area will be cleaned daily by the Clean Team.
  • The office staff will clean high touch areas daily (door knobs, printers, copiers, common area phones and desks).  Each person will be responsible to clean their own phone and computer.
  • Program Areas – Specific area staff will clean and disinfect after each cohort

Other things to note:

  • Only bottle fill water fountains will be utilized this summer – no water fountains
  • All Common bathrooms will be closed for the summer.
  • Added hand sanitizer locations around camp.
  • We have adjusted our schedule to include dedicated hand washing times, temperature and symptom checks.
  • Added fans and ventilation to our indoor spaces.
  • We will have tents available for outdoor dining.