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Covid-19 Update 5/1/20

Pathfinder health update: covid-19 / coronavirus - May 1, 2020 Greetings Pathfinder Families! All of us know the Pathfinder way. In a headwind, we lean in and paddle hard in perfect unison. We’re Pathfinder people, and we're all in this together. On trip, that’s the greatest feeling in the world. This bulletin is reaching campers, parents, staff, alumni, friends and supporters of Pathfinder. Please feel free to contact me any time, any hour: / 585.746.5062 cell. Thanks for reading this Pathfinder bulletin carefully. I hope you’re reading at home, safe and sound. Did you hear, Source Lake ice-out was officially the morning of Apr. 30? Do you have news to share? Get in touch! Here’s the latest on Pathfinder and COVID-19 / Summer 2020 Glenn and I along with all the staff crew, like you, remain hopeful and upbeat about our Summer 2020. As of today, Pathfinder continues plans to conduct its 107th summer camp sessions, if Ontario and Canada permit camps to operate, and if everyone’s well-being can be protected. Camp is preparing modifications and augmented practices to accommodate our counselors and campers, in light of the viral pandemic and responses to it. Today, we remain poised, awaiting definitive news. Prior to a final determination on Pathfinder 2020, each enrolled family will shortly receive personal email letters, inviting parent and camper preferences and questions. The bulletins will be detailing some likely camp options and some likely new health practices if camp is happening. The question hanging over us all: Can Pathfinder operate? The deciding factors will be both government / public health directives, and Pathfinder’s in-house decision whether Camp can safeguard acceptably the health and well-being of campers, staff, and camper-staff families. More news may come from Ontario in two weeks’ time. We will welcome this news, as it will allow us to move ahead no matter what. During this time, Pathfinder management continues a daily working partnership with the Government of Ontario, Ontario Public Health, our accrediting body The Ontario Camps Association, and Ontario Parks. This partnership began on March 18 and will remain in place for the 2020 season. It is reassuring that camps are receiving good attention from government. It's also been good to be close to the action, in the role of an OCA board member, and an advisor to the COVID-19 task force. My work so far has to do with standards for accredited camps, and advocacy with government for camps, including the six camps of Algonquin Park. It is encouraging to see professionals from many walks of life working in common purpose, with impressive expertise. Meanwhile, Pathfinder today, like most accredited camps in Ontario, is in a holding pattern on plans for Summer 2020, due to a number of factors restricting activity in Canada in order to stem the mortal consequences of the virus.

  • The US-Canada border is closed via the Quarantine Act to both US traveler and non-essential worker transits until May 21, 2020, and all other foreign travelers until June 30.

  • The Ontario Government Emergency Declaration of March 17 has been extended repeatedly, now into May, with periodic evaluations May 6 and 12. Camps are deemed non-essential businesses, and throughout the province no gatherings are permitted over 5 persons in any case.

  • Ontario Parks (Algonquin Park) remains closed until May 31.

  • All children’s camping remains regulated by the Ontario Health Prevention and Promotion Act Reg. 507/13, and the Standards for Accreditation of the Ontario Camps Association.

  • All civil closure and restriction deadlines are subject to evaluation and extension.

Next Steps for Pathfinder, May 2020 Camp Pathfinder will monitor the border status and Ontario directives throughout May. Ontario has released its plan, A Framework for Reopening Our Province as of April 27. It calls for a three-stage easing of civil restrictions but does not provide a calendar timeline. To advance society to each stage of reopening, the Chief Medical Officer of Health must determine significant improvement in COVID-19 control and its reduction over 14-day intervals. No specifics have yet been issued regarding child care, summer camp, or outdoor recreation activities. It can be said that each stage is conservative, and may be reversed immediately if virus transmission increases. It is also possible officials may determine that children’s camps, or certain classes of camps e.g. residential, cannot operate safely during the normal summer season this year. Consistent with our accreditation and with professional practice, Pathfinder has prepared detailed contingency plans for running camp sessions, whether fully or in one of several modified forms. These plans employ predominant practices in health, hygiene, medical, operations, programming, and logistics specifically in response to COVID-19 realities. The planning is informed by first-person contacts and original sources from a spectrum of public and private sector expertise: public health, regional civil authority, and the professions of children’s education, youth development, organized camping, experiential travel and learning and risk management. That might sound fancy, but here is the simple meaning. Scenarios might include, but are not limited to: a full-season operation with normal or slightly delayed start; a shortened-season operation with delayed start; or, a limited-time session with controls on program. Any of these may include requirements to limit the number of campers and staff. In other words, our plans are shaped for -- a full season experience, a shortened season with full or modified capacity, and a limited season with controls both on numbers of residents and activities such as out-tripping. Pathfinder can, in any event, prepare to welcome and care for our community, even as we watch for information guiding our decision on the wisdom of congregating at camp. The truth is that no one yet knows whether any adaptive camp experience will be permitted by the Canadian federal government’s health officials, by Ontario or its Chief Medical Officer of Health. We do know this is where our directives will come from. Civil authorities are in charge of deciding whether camp can be a safe gathering of young people – safe for them, safe for the region, safe for the adults, but safe also for their families and communities back home. Even government staffs and officials are uncertain right now, working through this daunting problem with caution. The well-known concept of flattening the curve needs to be understood with precision. We can't forget that controlling the spread of COVID-19 alone does not remove the risk of contracting the virus, or the possibility of someone precious to us becoming severely ill. An Ontario summer of camp life, perhaps even modified, could still be a marvelous, invigorating respite for campers and counselors who have endured uncertainty, unwelcome change and unnerving isolation over many weeks. It could also, unhappily, risk an acceleration of infection, despite heroic effort. An incidence of infection or an outbreak could have dire consequences for the victims of illness, for sense of security and well-being in children who love their camps, and for the integrity and reputation of camps as a whole. For the time being, we plan, prepare, partner with all stakeholders ... and wait. A Special Effort for Extraordinary Times … In March, Pathfinder suspended the requirement to pay 2020 camp tuition balances, normally due on April 1 each year. Enrolled campers’ reserved places and current payments are secure, and no further payment is required until the summer program is certain. For now, it remains likely Pathfinder WILL operate. In recent weeks, some of our veteran parents have held off enrolling. To assist, Pathfinder is offering families who wish to enroll, but are unsure about committing funds at this time, a reserved space now for a nominal, fully refundable deposit. Should circumstances beyond our control require it, or should a parent decide to withdraw at their discretion, ALL payments for Summer 2020, including deposit, will be credited forward, split, or fully refundable as desired, at a designated time. If necessary due to a forced closure of camps, Pathfinder will need to take steps to survive as an organization. The camp will ask for parents' partnership, by leaving a portion of their payment with camp as a credit toward 2021. This is purely voluntary, and 2021 rates will remain unchanged as well. Get in touch with me for this or any questions, at / cell 585.746.5062. Enjoy keeping current with Virtual Pathfinder fun and info. We will keep loading new content: noonway, sladds

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