BASE CAMP FAQS

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Frequently Asked Questions

More Info about BASE Camp

Data and guidelines around COVID-19 continue to change daily, requiring us to be agile and adaptive in our planning. We will continue to monitor public health conditions and the latest guidance from federal, state and local health officials, and we will be ready to adapt should we receive additional directives. This FAQ document was last updated on: June 5, 2021

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General Questions

WHO CAN GO TO BASE CAMP?
BASE Camp is open to any 1st-8th grade (Fall 2021) elementary or middle-school student from any school, public or private, in Oak Park, River Forest, Galewood, Forest Park, Berwyn, Riverside, Chicago, and beyond! Have your grandchild or other relations visiting from out of town? They are also welcome to join us at camp!
DO I REGISTER MY CHILD BASED ON THEIR GRADE THIS YEAR OR NEXT YEAR?
As with most camps, you should register your child based on their grade level the next fall. So a child who will enter second grade the fall after camp would register as a second grader.
WHO TEACHES AT BASE CAMP?
We have a blend of beloved District 97 teachers and partnerships with expert community members who bring passion for their subjects to the camps. They are supported by mature and fun high school and college-age youth counselors. All BASE Camp staff have had background checks to ensure a safe, positive environment for kids.
MY CHILD HAS AN IEP & RECEIVES CLASSROOM SUPPORTS; CAN THEY PARTCIPATE IN BASE CAMP?

BASE Camp strives to be an inclusive environment for all children in our community. While we staff our camps with certified teachers along with certified teaching assistants and a social worker, we do not have the ability to provide the assistance of a one-on-one aide. We do our very best to ensure it is a positive experience for all campers and we encourage you to contact us at basecamp@opef.org to discuss any questions or concerns about whether BASE Camp is right for your child. When registering for camp, please share information in our camper form about your camper’s learning, physical, emotional and/or behavioral needs. This will help us to make BASE Camp a great experience for your child. For 2021, please note that all children must be able to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines.

WHAT IS YOUR FOOD POLICY AT CAMP?
BASE Camp is nut-free. All families are notified in advance of camp to send only nut-free foods (that do not need refrigeration) for the safety of our kids at camp with severe nut allergies. Teachers will not provide any food to campers unless food is already a stated part of the camp program, or unless you receive advance notice by email. If food is part of a camp, accommodations can be arranged in case of an allergy. You may of course send a substitute food if your child is not able to eat the food to be provided.
For 2021 our food policies are as follows:

  • Campers are encouraged to bring their own water bottle to camp as access to the water fountains will be limited. 
  • Campers can bring a snack but it must be eaten outside during camp breaks.
  • Campers who are registered for both a morning and afternoon camp will eat lunch and enjoy a supervised, unstructured recess during the midday break (an hour for elementary campers; 45 minutes for grades 7-8).
  • All campers staying for break should bring a nut-free lunch to camp. Unfortunately, BASE Camp will not be able to provide lunches this year. D97 families who need extra assistance are encouraged to sign up for the district’s weekly food pickups, which will continue through the summer at Brooks and Longfellow schools.
  • Weather permitting, campers will eat lunch outside. Campers are encouraged to bring a beach towel to sit on while spaced out on grassy areas. Elementary students will be divided into two groups; group A will eat first and then take recess, and Group B will start with recess then break for lunch.
  • If the weather is bad, campers will eat lunch in classrooms and take recess in the gym.

Campers who need them should keep epi pens on their person at all times.

WHY DID YOUR PRICES INCREASE?

There are several reasons for this:

  • We significantly reduced camp sizes in most grade levels this year to allow for safe distances between campers during indoor sessions. The new camp ratios this year are set at 15.
  • We plan to expand our scholarship offerings to a larger number of families this summer, given the new financial hardships many families in our community are facing.
  • Our staffing costs drive our camp prices. We are committed to hiring experienced (often certified) teachers, and we offer our enthusiastic Youth Counselors a competitive hourly rate.
  • We rely on revenue raised by BASE Camp to support our free in-school and after-school enrichment programs in all D97 schools. 
WHAT IS THE CANCELLATION POLICY FOR BASE CAMP?

Refunds, less a $25 fee per camper per session, must be requested no less than 14 days before the first day of registered camp sessions. No refunds will be issued after that date. Contact us to cancel a camp registration. In the unlikely event that a BASE camp session is canceled due to COVID-19, we will issue a prorated refund. It is our intention to follow appropriate guidelines so as to avoid having to cancel camp sessions.

ARE THERE SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR BASE CAMP?

We offer both full and partial scholarships. Families who have qualified for free and reduced lunch are eligible, as well as others facing financial difficulties. Please visit this page for more information or contact us if you have questions.

IF THE CAMP IS FULL, SHOULD WE SIGN UP FOR THE WAITLIST?

YES! As people’s plans for the summer change, we often find we have space in previously full camps. We also might open up new spots or sections of popular camps depending on demand.

The Camp Day

WILL YOU REQUIRE CAMPERS TO CERTIFY AS COVID-FREE?

The families of all unvaccinated campers will be asked to self-certify every morning before camp using the CrisisGo phone app or website. This process will be familiar to anyone whose student attended D97 schools in person this spring. Every family registered for a specific week of camp will receive an email link (and possibly text reminders) every morning asking them to verify that their camper does not have any COVID-related symptoms, a positive COVID test, or exposure to someone testing positive for COVID. Only students receiving entry clearance will be allowed to attend camp for the day. Fully vaccinated campers (likely those in 7th/8th grade camps) will be encouraged to verify their vaccination status via CrisisGo; these campers will not be required to self-certify daily.

If you forget to self-certify your child before camp, the child will be sent to a separate check-in area to complete the process. If you are not with your child, you may receive a phone call. Your child will not be able to attend camp until they are certified.

HOW WILL YOU HANDLE DROP OFF THIS YEAR?

As in past years, teachers and youth counselors will spread out on the playground/blacktop outside with signs about 10 to 15 minutes before camp starts. Parents/campers will check in and teachers/youth counselors will verify through our dashboard that campers are self-certified and cleared to attend camp. (Campers without who didn’t complete the CrisisGo self-certification will be sent to a separate check-in area to complete the process). Parents and campers will be expected to wear a mask because the area will be congested during this busy time.

Self-certifying on CrisisGo every morning of camp will greatly assist your child getting to camp on time.

HOW ARE YOU HANDLING THE LUNCH BREAK?
Weather permitting, campers will eat outside. To reduce numbers, only campers who are enrolled in both a morning and afternoon session will be allowed to stay for lunch. Campers and staff will be expected to maintain social distancing at all times when eating, indoors and outside. Campers will be required to wear masks when not eating.
These are our food policies for 2021:

  • Campers are encouraged to bring their own water bottle to camp as access to the water fountains will be limited. 
  • Campers can bring a snack but it must be eaten outside during camp breaks.
  • Campers who are registered for both a morning and afternoon camp will eat lunch and enjoy a supervised, unstructured recess during the midday break (an hour for elementary campers; 45 minutes for grades 7-8).
  • All campers staying for break should bring a nut-free lunch to camp. Unfortunately, BASE Camp will not be able to provide lunches this year. D97 families who need extra assistance are encouraged to sign up for the district’s weekly food pickups, which will continue through the summer at Brooks and Longfellow schools.
  • Weather permitting, campers will eat lunch outside. Campers are encouraged to bring a beach towel to sit on while spaced out on grassy areas. Elementary students will be divided into two groups; group A will eat first and then take recess, and Group B will start with recess then break for lunch.
  • If the weather is bad, campers will eat lunch in classrooms and take recess in the gym. 
ARE YOU OFFERING EXTENDED CAMP FOR WORKING FAMILIES THIS YEAR, AND HOW WILL THIS WORK?

We will have a limited number of spots available for families that need after-camp care from 3 to 6 pm. When possible, extended camp will take place outdoors. We will NOT be offering early drop-off from 8 to 9 am to avoid congregating in larger groups inside the school buildings.

Covid Specific Questions

WHO IS ADVISING YOU ON COVID-RELATED PRACTICES?

A committee of parents, staff, and board members created our COVID protocols. They are based on the most current guidelines from the Center of Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and District 97 guidelines for facility usage. Dr. Tara Brito of Oak Park Pediatrics served on this committee, reviewed the guidelines, and will continue to offer professional guidance as the public health situation evolves now and into the summer.

WHAT ABOUT VACCINATIONS?

Every teacher, youth counselor and camp support staff member has been (or will be) fully vaccinated by the first day of camp. Vaccinated campers will be encouraged to report their status to avoid any unnecessary quarantining in the event of a camp exposure.

WHAT IS YOUR MASK POLICY, INSIDE AND OUTSIDE?
  • Masks are required INSIDE for all campers and staff (even those who are vaccinated).
  • Masks will be optional OUTSIDE for campers and staff, except in crowded settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with unvaccinated campers.

Extra masks will be available if campers lose or forget their mask.

If campers take a field trip by bus, they will be required to wear masks on the bus. In biking camps, if a biker cannot complete a ride and needs to be picked up from an off-site location, a parent or emergency contact will be contacted about safe, convenient pickup options.

WILL YOU HAVE A NURSE ON SITE THIS SUMMER?

While we consult with D97 nurses for Epi Pen training and medicine policies, we typically do not hire an on-site nurse for BASE Camp. We have been advised that it is not necessary because of  COVID-19 . Our teachers and administrative staff are trained in basic first aid and capable of handling typical health issues. We encourage families to consult with their child’s physician regarding any specific health concerns, including those related to COVID-19.

HOW WILL YOU HANDLE CLEANING, SANITIZING AND SHARED MATERIALS FOR BASE CAMP?

Based on the most recent scientific evidence, surface transmission of COVID-19, although possible, is not thought to be a significant risk. To further minimize this risk hand sanitizers will be available to all campers and staff, and hand washing will be practiced regularly, particularly before and after meals, during transition of activities, and after the use of shared equipment.  Furthermore, all BASE Camp facilities on D97 property will be cleaned each day in accordance with D97 policies. Equipment used by any camper or staff who is later found to test positive for COVID-19 will be subject to more intensive cleaning.

Campers will be sharing some equipment and supplies–robots, LEGOs, art supplies, sports equipment, etc. The risk of infection from touching a surface is quite low. We will encourage all campers and staff to regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizer — the most reliable way to prevent infection from surfaces.

HOW & WHEN WILL PARENTS BE INFORMED IF SOMEONE AT BASE CAMP TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19?

We will notify all parents/guardians and the health department immediately following a positive test result for COVID-19, and work with local public health officials to identify close contacts (extended contact for more than 15 minutes) as well as quarantine, testing, and isolation recommendations or requirements.

HOW DO YOU PLAN TO MINIMIZE THE RISK OF COVID-19 EXPOSURE?

Exposure to COVID-19 as currently defined by the CDC involves being within close proximity of an infected person for 15 cumulative minutes or more over a 24 hour period.  BASE camp activities will be socially distanced whenever possible to reduce exposure risk.  Additionally, based on current guidelines, all campers and staff will be required to wear masks and maintain a distance of at least 3 feet while indoors and outdoors. By abiding by these CDC guidelines, we hope to greatly reduce the chance that any BASE camper experiences a true COVID-19 exposure. It is, however, impossible to eliminate all risk. 

IF THERE IS A POSITIVE CASE OF COVID-19 WILL CAMP BE CANCELED?

Camp will not be canceled. Any campers who we believe to have been truly exposed to COVID-19, according to CDC guidelines, will be asked not to return to camp. Unexposed campers in that same session will be informed about the positive case of COVID-19 and may continue at the parents’ discretion. If an exposed camper is enrolled in future sessions, they will need a note from their doctor before returning.

WILL THERE BE TESTING OR SELF-CERTIFICATION?

The families of all unvaccinated campers will be asked to self-certify every morning before camp using the CrisisGo phone app or website. This process will be familiar to anyone whose student attended D97 schools in person this spring. Every family registered for a specific week of camp will receive an email link (and possibly text reminders) every morning asking them to verify that their camper does not have any COVID-related symptoms, a positive COVID test, or exposure to someone testing positive for COVID. Only students receiving entry clearance will be allowed to attend camp for the day. Fully vaccinated campers (likely those in 7th/8th grade camps) will be encouraged to verify their vaccination status via CrisisGo; these campers will not be required to self-certify daily.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A CAMPER DEVELOPS SYMPTOMS AT CAMP?

If a camper develops potential COVID-related symptoms, they will be asked to remain in a safe, isolated area until a parent is contacted. In certain cases, our medical advisor with Oak Park Pediatrics will be consulted for medical guidance on next steps.