I’ve begun generally to think of this WebLog as my own personal Covid Journal - a place for ol’ DGr to work out his feelings about the uncertainty; to do a little planning; share hopes, dreams, and aspirations. A place where I can demonstrate... we're thinking about it. Putting in the effort.
At Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp, our intention is to abide by Alberta Health Services Guidelines. On that basis, I have been repeating, “Look, if we are allowed to operate, we will. If we are not allowed to operate, we won’t. It’s as simple as that.” Foolproof! Here we go!
Often, I think things are simple, but they are in fact complex.
Yeah… What if? It’s easy to think three moves ahead when you are playing “heads” or “tails”. But what if Alberta Health Services says something other than “Summer Camps are permitted to operate” or “Summer Camps are not permitted to operate”? What if they say, “Summer Camps are permitted to operate, under the following restrictions...” What do you do?
Dumb and Dumber (1995) and Speed (1995)... Wow, what a year for movies. Probably one of those ones was Best Picture… let’s just check… Nope. Turns out it was Forrest Gump… Which fits our Covid theme also.
For this week’s blog, we will examine broadly the restrictions AHS has applied at various times during the pandemic, and describe how well Crow can adapt to them, and our planned response, if those restrictions are in place on 1 July 2021.
Public Health Measures: Alberta
Stay 2 metres apart from others: Well, that’s a tough place to start, but there we be... If “social distancing” is required for the summer of 2021, then Crow can’t operate as an overnight summer camp. Current guidelines for K-12 schools encourage “physical distancing when possible.” For an old philosophy grad like me, the tricky bit is in the interpretation of that qualification: “when possible.” It isn’t possible to sleep overnight in a shared cabin and maintain 2 metres of distance. A game of tag becomes “more challenging” while maintaining 2 metres of distance from other participants. You couldn’t paddle a canoe (well, a solo canoe, but let’s not get all pedantic about, Naomi). We can issue a thousand reminders, but realistically, kid’s camp is not conducive to maintaining 2 metres of distance. Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp does not have the capacity to ensure 2 metres of distance between campers at all times. If Albertans are expected to maintain 2 metres of distance in the summer of 2021, Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp will not operate overnight summer cam programs.
Wear a mask in public spaces, indoor workplaces and places of worship: Another toughie, but this one, I believe Crow can realistically expect to accomplish. Most of our campers will have 12 months of experience in mask-use. They have been reminded and drilled continuously to wear a mask in school. If rules are the same as in schools, then masks may be required indoors when social distancing is not possible. The guidance for Outdoor Fitness makes no mention of masks, which I interpret to mean that masks are not required outdoors. Guidance for Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation says that Masks are not required when engaged in high intensity physical activity. It will be very difficult to keep the masks up, but it seems realistic to expect that we could ensure a high rate of compliance with masking requirements.
Practice good hygiene; Wash your hands often and cover coughs and sneezes: Summer Camps will have the advantage of building on training that has happened in schools. We already do a fair job of hand inspection, and have a practice of operating hand sanitizing stations as campers enter the dining hall. To be perfectly frank, this has in the past been somewhat inconsistently applied, but with proper emphasis, we can ensure a high rate of compliance with hygiene standards.
Monitor your symptoms every day: It is easy to imagine a wake-up process that includes a cabin leader walking through the symptom checklist before kids leave the cabin. If anyone is sick, we would need to immediately isolate that child, which means setting aside some space for anyone who gets a scratchy throat. It will be straightforward to refer to the guidance for isolation space required for K-12 schools, and replicate that at the camp. Less straightforward: we will need some process to ensure that children who exhibit any symptoms are picked up within 12 hours.
Group Size Restrictions: Outdoor Social Groups are currently limited to 10 participants. If permitted group sizes remain that restricted, camp isn’t possible. But if groups of up to 100 were permitted, Crow could certainly operate an overnight camp at Gladstone, or Mountain Site. The plan for this summer is to operate only outdoor recreation - no overnight camping - at the Lake Site, which is the same as last year. This structure will ensure that the Lake Site never comes close to the Group Size restriction - even if that restriction stays at ten for the entire summer.
Out of town travellers: There is currently no ban on intra- or inter-provincial travel, but this may be added. We will need to keep an eye on that.
We’ve got The Plan, of course, but that’s really only a schedule. For a plan, we will have to wait. We’ve done this before: we modified the guidelines for hotels to fit rental programs this fall. We can potentially do that again.
We also have given over management of Covid Communication Coordination to… you know what? We should do a whole intro post… next week. Til then, monitor your symptoms, every day!