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Cuyamaca Outdoor School COVID-19 FAQ

Updated 01/23/2024

Q: Is Cuyamaca Outdoor School open?

A: Yes! Camp Cuyamaca is open during the traditional school year. To promote the highest level of safety possible for all participants and staff, we are following the most current federal, state, and local school and overnight camp guidelines, as well as San Diego County Office of Education COVID-19 procedures.

Q: Are masks required?

A: No. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) strongly encourages people to wear masks indoors:

  • For 10 days following the onset of symptoms when returning to work or school following a respiratory infection.
  • If they believe they were exposed to someone who is ill and will be in contact with someone who is at higher risk of experiencing serious symptoms.
  • If the person is at higher risk of experiencing serious symptoms if they become ill.

Q: Is a COVID-19 test required before attending Cuyamaca Outdoor School?

A: No. Testing for COVID-19 is strongly recommended if the student is experiencing cold or flu symptoms. Students with a positive test result OR who are experiencing cold or flu symptoms should not attend camp until all of the following conditions are true:

  • At least 24 hours past the onset of their symptoms, AND
  • Be fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND
  • Their symptoms are mild and improving.

The student should also wear a mask indoors, until 10 days have passed since the onset of their symptoms, or they have returned home from camp.

Q: Will students and staff be screened for symptoms?

A: Yes. Before leaving school, school staff will screen each student for symptoms of illness, including COVID-19- related symptoms. Students should be free of vomiting/diarrhea/stomach cramps/headache/body aches/fever for at least 24 hours before traveling to Cuyamaca Outdoor School. Any student who is feeling unwell or exhibits symptoms of illness should not attend until all of the criteria in the previous answer are true. Throughout the week, Cuyamaca Outdoor School staff will monitor students for signs of illness. 

Q: Are staff vaccinated against COVID-19?

A: The COVID-19 vaccine has not been mandated for school staff in San Diego County.

Q: How will students be grouped?

A: Each student will be assigned to a cabin group and a hiking group. Students from more than one school typically share the cabin with students from another school. Each cabin has four large sleeping rooms we call dens. Students are assigned to one den. One girls’ cabin and one boys’ cabin make up a village; Cuyamaca has three villages. Cabin groups will participate together in cabin teambuilding activities and students will sleep in their assigned cabin dens. Students will participate in activities such as nature explorations, the Adventure Day hike, crafts, WRAP, evening exploration, and other activities with their assigned hiking group.

Q: What are the sleeping arrangements?

A: In their cabins, students will share a room (we call them dens) with approximately 17 other students. Each den has nine bunk beds. Each student is assigned their own bed. Each cabin has several air filters and windows may be open for fresh air, weather permitting.

An adult cabin leader is assigned to each cabin for the week. The cabin leader spends the night in the “adult den” in the cabin – slightly apart from the student dens but open to the cabin and readily accessible by any student at any time – for overnight student supervision and emergency response.

Teachers will be assigned to a room in one of our teacher quads, which are separate from student cabins. Teachers will share a room with one or two teachers of the same gender. They may open windows for fresh air as they see fit.

Q: Are there air purifiers indoors?

A: Each cabin has several HEPA air filtration units. Weather permitting, windows may be opened to promote fresh air exchange. We also have HEPA air filtration units in common rooms, such as the dining hall, office, and Health Center.

Q: Will activities be modified or changed with COVID-19 still circulating?

A: Although COVID-19 is still circulating, students will participate in all of the exciting regular activities they did prior to the pandemic! Student activities still include meeting new people and making new friends, eating yummy meals, and participating in nature exploration hikes, an all-day adventure hike, crafts, the campfire activity, a night hike, and the talent show, among others.

Q: Will students eat family-style meals?

A: Yes. Students share family-style meals with the other students at their assigned table. We encourage the use of polite manners.

Q: Will the camp be cleaned regularly?

A: Yes. Our maintenance and custodial staff will follow a schedule to frequently and regularly clean shared restrooms and other shared spaces around the camp. Daytime program staff will clean commonly touched surfaces in the cabins as needed. Overnight cabin staff will thoroughly clean and disinfect cabin bathrooms and other commonly touched surfaces each night. The dining hall will be cleaned between each meal service, and the kitchen is frequently and regularly cleaned.

The entire camp is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected over the weekend in preparation for the incoming schools.

Q: Should students bring their own hand sanitizer?

A: Students do not have to bring their own hand sanitizer but may if they choose to. Hand sanitizer stations are widely available around camp, including at the entrance to every building and inside the cabins and some other buildings. Program staff will carry hand sanitizer during outdoor activities. Students will be reminded to wash their hands each time they return to the cabin after an activity and before and after meals.

Q: What other items should students bring for a week at Cuyamaca Outdoor School?

A: In addition to the items on the Student Packing List on our website, we recommend that students bring two clean, school-appropriate face coverings (masks) for each day of camp.

Q: What happens if a student gets sick or exhibits COVID-19 related symptoms?

A: If a student feels ill or exhibits any COVID-19 related symptom/s, they will be taken to the Health Center for assessment. If needed, they may be isolated in our dedicated isolation space with appropriate adult supervision and careful monitoring by our Health Center staff. The student’s teacher at camp will be notified, and with parent/guardian permission, a COVID-19 test (self-administered nasal swab) may be administered to rule out COVID-19.

If your child becomes sick, has a fever, has vomiting/diarrhea, exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, and/or tests positive for COVID-19 while at camp, you must pick up your child regardless of the time of day or night. If you do not drive or do not own a vehicle, have a plan in place for another family member or close family friend to be available to pick up your child. Please be sure to list that person’s name and phone number in the emergency contact section on your child’s Student Registration and Health Form.

Q: Will students be tested for COVID-19 during the week at camp?

Possibly. Any student who is ill and/or exhibits COVID-19-related symptoms may be tested for COVID-19 using a self-swab antigen test.

Q: What if my child gets homesick?

A: Preparation is key! Talk to your child about the trip beforehand to help them prepare mentally. Build up their confidence by practicing sleeping in a sleeping bag, taking two-minute showers, and changing clothes with a towel wrapped around them. Avoid talking about how much you will miss them. Instead, share your enthusiasm for their upcoming trip and the memorable experiences they will have and let them know you are eager to hear about their experience when they get home at the end of the week. Reassure them that they are strong and capable and that you trust them and love them.

If they do become homesick, the expert Cuyamaca staff will support them with care and empathy to help them through it.