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: March 29, 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. If a boxed lunch program is available, all food is nut-free with limited dairy and vegetarian options also available. Staff is trained to use epi pens in case of an emergency. Campers who need them should keep epi pens on their person at all times. For 2021, we ask that campers do not bring snacks to camp to reduce the need to remove masks.
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

HOW WILL YOU HANDLE DROP OFF THIS YEAR?

Campers and parents will be greeted by youth counselors at the designated drop off point. Counselors will ask the parents a series of health questions and require the parent to sign in the child. A youth counselor will then accompany the child to their camp meeting spot. Parents and campers are asked to wear masks for drop off, and space themselves appropriately. Parents are asked to leave campers with the youth counselors and not congregate on the blacktop.

Campers who are old enough to come to camp alone are asked to print out the questionnaire at home and have a parent sign it, then to present that signed paper to a youth counselor. Youth counselors will need to call or text parents if the camper forgets to bring the paper. If you do not have access to a printer, please let us know.

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. We are working with Beyond Hunger to provide FREE grab-and-go lunches for campers; more details on this in the weeks to come.
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.

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?
We expect 100% of our teachers and support staff to be fully vaccinated before camp starts in June. We are also working to ensure that all of our Youth Counselors have access to the vaccine. We will update you with more details on this in the weeks leading up to camp. 
WHAT IS YOUR MASK POLICY, INSIDE AND OUTSIDE?

All staff and campers will be required to wear a mask while participating in BASE camp. Brief removals in approved settings will be allowed for activities or lunch. Campers who refuse to, or are unable to, wear a mask cannot attend BASE camp.

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.

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

If anyone tests positive for Covid-19 everyone in that section of camp, and anyone we believe has been in contact with that camper, will be contacted promptly.

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?

Families participating in BASE camp will be greeted daily by a staff member at drop off and asked a series of questions ensuring their camper(s) are free of symptoms and exposure. If a camper has COVID-19 compatible symptoms such as fever, runny nose, cough, diarrhea, loss of taste/smell or outside exposure to COVID-19, they will be asked to return home and will need a letter from the child’s physician stating that it is safe to return to camp.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A CAMPER DEVELOPS SYMPTOMS AT CAMP?

If a camper gets sick during BASE camp, we will notify families and isolate the camper in a safe space. Campers sent home due to illness must secure their physician’s clearance to return to BASE camp.