On Thursday, March 18 Dr. David Williams (Chief Medical Officer of Health, Province of Ontario) wrote a letter to the Ontario Camps Association (OCA) and overnight summer camp operators to share that his office supported planning for the reopening of overnight summer camps in 2021, provided certain conditions were met. It goes without saying that we are heartened by this development.
“Nothing is more important right now than the health and safety of all Ontarians, including our children,” wrote Dr. Williams. “We also recognize the importance of camps in general to the development, physical and mental well-being as well as long-term resiliency of Ontario’s children and youth.”
Dr. Williams pledged to continue to work with the OCA in developing directives and protocols that provide for a safe reopening of overnight camps this summer. In his letter he wrote, “As you are aware from ongoing discussions with this office, there is generally support for planning to re-open overnight camps for children and youth in Ontario in 2021, subject to specific conditions.” Dr Williams continued to say, “We continue to work on further instruction and guidance for specific conditions that will need to be met that will include but are not limited to the implementation of a suite of comprehensive public health and workplace safety measures.”
We are pleased that Dr. Williams and his office have committed to continued work and collaboration with the OCA that will allow overnight camps, including Wenonah, to operate safely this summer.
Meanwhile, Public Health Ontario published a very useful review of summer camps that have successfully managed COVID-19 risks. As we continue to develop the protocols that will be in place at Wenonah this Summer, we are basing our strategies on what worked in these camps.
We have been working since September to plan for various scenarios and protocols that we anticipate may be in place for the safe operation of Summer Camp. We can’t wait to put these plans into action! Our staff and medical teams are hired, and our program is in place. Like all overnight camps in Ontario, we anticipate receiving specific guidelines and protocols from Dr. Williams and his team in the coming weeks that will allow us to finalize details about the Summer Camp experience.
We can say for certain that important Wenonah traditions will continue to be part of the Camp experience this season. This includes Wenonah Games, closing campfires, the Canoe Ballet, POLARIS canoe trips, and so much more. We are more determined than ever this year that Camp be the excellent experience our families expect.
In the most recent update from our COVID-19 Task Force, we said that we expected to have a more detailed plan about the Summer Camp experience to share with families during the week of April 19. The guidance provided by Dr. Williams and his team will assist us in finalizing this plan and the protocols we will have at Wenonah. We look forward to sharing more details with you as they become available.