Please be warned! This is a lengthy post about our summer camp, and if you are scheduled to come, please read through the whole thing!
Since the "Safer at Home" mandate began, we knew that whether or not to offer an in-person versus a virtual summer camp was going to be a big decision, so we took our time. After hours of discussion (and many sleepless nights), listening to you, listening to the experts, weighing all the information about the virus itself, and examining our ability to provide a safe yet fun experience, we have decided to move forward and provide summer camp at our studio.
The ultimate deciding factor that tipped us in that direction is something that pediatricians and mental health experts are now voicing concern about: that our children's mental health, both social and emotional, is as important as their physical health (and may even make them more resilient). Being around their peers, talking to each other, and especially having the ability to use art as a self-therapeutic way of processing feelings and stress, is like taking a vitamin for the mind and spirit.
So for us, this is our way of providing children with a place they can do this in a way that is as safe and controlled as we can make it.
We have been working in schools for a combined 55+ years. We have been on the front line of virtually every community/childhood communicable disease you can name! We understand better than most the importance of good hygiene among the people in the environment and keeping the environment as hygienic as possible.
Below are the regular practices we will be implementing to keep the children as safe as possible. It is your responsibility as their parent to do your own research and weigh the risks you either are or are not willing to take based on our protocols which we feel are reasonable. Keep in mind that you may want more precautions to be put in place, but at some point what is reasonable for us or for others to do crosses a line of what we can do or promise. Please read through each point and let us know if you have any questions via email.
1. Group Size/Management:
*We are trying to limit the number of campers to 10, plus the two of us. Normally, our group size is 12, but as some people have decided to stay home, the number of some camps has dropped to 10, which is where we want to keep the total. However, if a week had 12 enrolled and no one drops out, we will move forward with 12 plus the two of us. To compare to restaurant guidelines, we are below 25% capacity.
*We are dividing the group into two smaller groups of 5-6 children plus one adult for instruction, where they will each occupy one of the two large rooms. We have the ability to provide 6' of personal space between children as they do their work. We are not gathering on the rug for group time as we have done in the past.
*The playroom will be closed.
2. Masks and Sanitation:
* Morning session is still from 9 to 12. The afternoon session will be pushed to 1:30-4:30 to provide more time to sanitize between sessions.
*We have three sinks where children will wash their hands upon arrival, departure, during transitions, after using the restroom, after touching their face and and whenever they wish. We will use social distancing while the children wait their turn for the facilities.
*Each child will have a ziplock bag with the crayons, markers, scissors, drawing paper etc. they need for the week that they will keep for themselves and not share. Common items such as paint brushes, rinsing cups, rollers, etc. are sanitized with soap and water after use as we always have done.
*We are not requiring the children to wear masks, however, you may have your child wear one if they choose. We ourselves will wear masks when we need to work closer than 6' with a child, but some children have hearing problems and need to see us talk. We know that this may be the biggest point for some of you, but we cannot force other parents who feel differently about mask wearing to make their child wear a mask. The biggest and best thing we can do is EDUCATE our children about "catching their cough/sneeze", washing hands after touching their face and using the bathroom, etc.
*We will be using either a bleach solution, hydrogen peroxide solution or Lysol (different surfaces need different products due to their nature) for sanitizing commonly touched areas at scheduled times of the day: in the early morning, between the AM/PM classes, and afternoon when the children leave. We will air out the studio whenever possible when the children are not there.
*You can send a drink in a labeled and sealed thermos or bottle which your child will keep with them during the day. We will not be providing drinks or food. No sacks please.
3. Arrival and Departure Procedures:
*Only children and the teachers are allowed in the studio. One of us will stand outside to help you check in.
*You will be signing in your child daily to verify their health status. One of us will be checking children's temperature with a touch free digital thermometer.
*Children with a temperature above 99 degrees AND/OR who have a regular cough (dry or productive), runny or sneezy nose, discharge from the eyes, nausea, diarrhea, or rash will not be allowed to come in.
*On the form you will write your child's temperature and confirm they do not have any symptoms within 24 hours of drop-off time nor have they been exposed to anyone with any active infections/illness.
*Children must be able to provide their own self-care, such as washing hands or wiping after using the bathroom.
*Children will wash their hands upon arrival and will go to their assigned spot, and then wash their hands before departure.
*Children will be instructed by us on personal hygiene, safe distancing and our procedures for each activity that minimize contagion. However, please do your part to educate your child about proper hygiene practices.
*Upon departure, parents/adults will wait on the board walk and we will stand in the door and send your child out to you.
*We will send all projects home at the end of the week instead of each day.
4. Refunds and Other Changes
*If for any reason we are required to close, we will switch to virtual camps and you will be provided with information at that time regarding the process. No discount/credit will be given if we switch to virtual classes because we will still provide you with the materials to do the projects.
*The final day for a full refund is May 20. If you need to cancel beyond that date, but before June 1, you will receive a 50% refund due to the fact we are ordering materials.
*If you want to be put on a waitlist for any of our weeks but did not do so already, you still can by sending us the camp weeks you want, your child's name, age, and your contact information.
We are looking forward to a great summer filled with art and joy and hope to see you very soon!