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Cuyamaca Outdoor School 2022-23 COVID-19 FAQ

Updated 10/11/2022

Q: Is Cuyamaca Outdoor School open during the 2022-23 school year?

A: Yes! Camp Cuyamaca is open during the 2022-23 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. Masks are strongly recommend while indoors (see face mask guidance from the California Department of Public Health) except while sleeping.

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

A: Yes. Regardless of vaccination status, before arriving at camp, all students must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, or proof of a positive COVID-19 test or diagnosis within the last 90 days. COVID-19 tests may include:

  • PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival at camp (usually 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on a Monday)
  • Rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of arrival at camp (usually 10 to 11 a.m. on a Monday)
  • Over-the-counter (home) tests are only accepted if conducted at the child’s school in the presence of school personnel and test results are verified by school personnel
  • Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days* of arriving at COS and can provide proof of a positive test result are exempt from pre-camp testing
    • Any student within Days 1-5 of a positive COVID-19 test or diagnosis or who actively exhibits any COVID-19 symptoms must stay home
    • Any student within Days 6-10 of a positive COVID-19 test or diagnosis may attend COS as a day student (but may not spend the night at COS) if they have a negative test on or after Day 5 and their symptoms have improved and they are fever-free for at least 24 hours with no fever-reducing medications. For the safety of the other participants and COS staff, they must wear a mask at all times while around others, including outside, through Day 10. This precludes them from sleeping at COS until Day 11, at which time they may fully participate in the COS program if their symptoms have improved, and they are fever-free for at least 24 hours with no fever-reducing medications. Transportation to and from COS is the responsibility of the student’s parent/guardian. Arrangements will be made for them to safely eat meals.

Before departing school, school staff will verify students’ proof of a negative COVID-19 test or 90-day positive COVID test results to bring to the Cuyamaca Outdoor School Health Center upon arrival at camp.

Any student who does not have proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test, or proof of a positive COVID-19 test from within the last 90 days* (*see above), may not attend camp until such time as they can provide that proof.

Q: Will students and staff be screened for symptoms?

A: Yes. Before leaving school, school staff will screen each student. Throughout the week, Cuyamaca Outdoor School staff will monitor students for signs of illness. Visiting classroom teachers and staff are required to self-screen daily at the start of their workday/shift.

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 the same school will be housed in the same cabin when possible and may 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 meals, and of course students will sleep in their assigned dens. Students will participate in activities such as nature explorations, the all-day adventure, crafts, WRAP, night hike, and other outdoor 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. Air filters will be in continuous operation, and windows may be open, 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. Teachers will share a room with one or two teachers of the same gender from their own school. They may open windows for fresh air as they see fit.

Q: Are there air purifiers indoors?

A: Each cabin has several Merv 13 air filters that will be in continuous operation while camp is in session. Weather permitting, windows will be opened to promote fresh air exchange. We also have Merv 13 air purifiers in common rooms, such as the dining hall, office, and Health Center.

Q: Will activities be modified or changed due to COVID-19?

A: We have modified many of our program logistics and scheduling components to provide the safest environment possible. These changes provide the opportunity for students to participate in more team building activities and be outdoors even more than before! 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. Each village -- consisting of one boys’ cabin and one girls’ cabin – will have its own mealtime. The dining hall will be cleaned between mealtimes.

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 will be 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 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, we will administer a COVID-19 test (self-administered nasal swab) to rule out COVID-19. However, even with a negative COVID-19 test, current guidance requires us to send home immediately any child who is ill or who exhibits any COVID-19 related symptoms.

If your child becomes sick, exhibits COVID 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. Once home, if the student is COVID positive, they should isolate according to the Safety Measures for K-12 Schools section of the CHPH COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools to Support Safe In-Person Learning, 2022-23 School Year.

If your child isn’t feeling well before the trip, do not send them to camp.

Q: What happens if a student or adult at camp tests positive for COVID-19?

A: Any positive COVID-19 case will be reported to the health department right away and the person who tested positive must isolate at home. We keep records of who is assigned to which cabin, den, and bed to expedite the notification process if someone tests positive for COVID-19.

This means that any student who tests positive for COVID-19 will be quarantined (with appropriate adult supervision) and their parent/guardian must pick them up immediately. Once home, they should follow the isolation guidelines in the Safety Measures for K-12 Schools section of the CHPH COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools to Support Safe In-Person Learning, 2022-23 School Year.

Any student who shares indoor airspace for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during an infected person’s infectious period should be tested for COVID-19 three to five days after exposure. It is also strongly recommended that they wear a well-fitting mask for at least 10 days following the date of exposure.

Any adult who tests positive for COVID-19 will be sent home to isolate for the duration recommended by CDPH and notifications will begin as soon as possible.

Your child’s school will notify you if your child has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive at camp.

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 will be tested for COVID-19 using a self-swab antigen test.

Q: Could our trip to Cuyamaca Outdoor School be cancelled due to COVID-19?

A: We certainly hope this doesn’t happen, but it is a possibility due to so many unknowns regarding the constantly evolving COVID-19 virus. If a school has to cancel its trip, or if Cuyamaca Outdoor School has to cancel a school’s trip due to COVID-19 or any other safety reason, Cuyamaca Outdoor School will offer “Virtually Camp Cuyamaca: An Outdoor School Experience” to affected schools; we will not charge for in-person camp if camp is cancelled by either party. Virtual camp includes two to three hours of academic and other camp content per day over the course of five days, and includes virtual lessons and hand-on activities that encourage students to get outside.

Q: What if my child is nervous about coming to camp, especially with the risk of COVID-19?

A: Talk with your child about what it was like to return to school in person and how that experience may be similar or different than coming to camp. Ask older siblings to share their Camp Cuyamaca experiences. Review these FAQ’s with them and reassure them that, just like at school, many safety measures are being put in place to keep students as safe as possible.

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. 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. However, if they exhibit a physical ailment such as a stomachache or headache, we are required to send them home.