COVID 19 Information – 2021
In February of 2020, the Congressional Camp office was humming with excitement after our initial registration surge. Energy and enthusiasm were high as we were on pace for a record 2,400 campers joining us throughout the summer, all while staffing and activity planning were in full swing despite the far off warnings of the coronavirus.
Our reality changed in early March 2020, along with the rest of the nation. In an era of new terms such as “social-distancing” and “PPE”, how could we safely offer a camp program that promotes friendship, cooperation, teambuilding, cheering, and above all else uses lots and lots of shared equipment, spaces, and staff? All of these challenges at a time when children desperately needed the socialization, growth, and the normal experience that the camp environment offers. In the end, we did what we pride ourselves most on: we got creative and reimagined our whole program around the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are proud to have been able to offer a limited program in 2020 called Zippy’s Mini Camp. At Congressional School and Camp, we are constantly evolving our procedures in coordination with recommendations from the CDC and VDH. As we move into Summer 2021, we are excited to offer an expanded group of programs. Please find our FAQ’s below as related to our programs in 2021.
What precautions are you instituting to keep my child(ren) safe?
The safety of campers is our top priority every summer, but especially during this Covid-19 Pandemic. Below are some of the precautions that we will be taking to ensure the safety of campers and staff. They will also be continually reviewed and updated based on the most current guidance available.
- Expanded session lengths to reduce the number of group transitions.
- Small group (cohort) based camp groups of 10 – 14 campers that stay constant for the whole session.
- Cohorts will be staffed with consistent staff to the best of our ability.
- Specially designed schedule and activities to limit interactions between cohorts.
- Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout campus.
- Frequent hand washing throughout the day.
- Frequent cleaning of high touch areas.
- Pre-plated boxed lunches through our caterer, Fairfax Foods. Campers will eat in their classroom or outside.
Do we have to provide our own masks and gloves?
While gloves are optional, campers and staff will be required to have masks. While potentially not necessary to be wearing them at all times (when outdoors and socially distanced, for example), everyone is required to have them for those times that they are necessary. All Congressional staff will also be in masks and campers and staff will be washing their hands frequently.
What are the hours of this camp?
The hours of our Congressional Campus programs (Zippy’s Mini Camp and Great Adventures) are 8:45am – 5:00pm. In an effort to reduce the exposure to multiple staff members, we will not be having our usual Extended Hours program and counselors, however we know that many families can benefit from extra coverage, so we are extending our typical day from ending at 3:30pm to ending at 5:00pm.
The hours of our St. Agnes programs are 9:00am – 3:00pm. Please note hours for Session 1 and Academic Classes may differ by program, view specific program descriptions for more information.
What is the cancellation policy?
We understand the fluid situation due to the pandemic, and don’t want that to stand in your way of registering for our programs. We are offering the following flexible refund policy specifically for Summer 2021.
Changes may be made at no charge if the total number of sessions remains the same or is increased.
Final payment and registration lock in date is June 1st. No refunds will be granted after June 1st, unless we have orders of closure from the VDH or Governor Northam of Virginia, in which case we will offer a prorated refund for those days. No refunds or credits will be given for changes due to work/vacation schedules, illness or or issues.
For cancellations between registration date and May 31st, full refunds will be given, minus your $100 registration fee.
In the event that we have to quarantine your campers group, you will receive a prorated refund for those days. Additionally, if the camp has to be shut down for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as orders from the VDH or Governor’s orders, or Congressional School Decision , you will receive a prorated refund.
What will my camper do in this camp?
We are excited to have a variety of programs available in 2021, both at our Congressional Campus and our new St. Agnes Campus.
At our Congressional Campus, our campers will experience a variety of activities in both our Zippy’s Mini Camp and Great Adventures Remix programs. Activities include swimming, sports, archery, horses, arts and crafts and more.
At our St. Agnes Campus, campers will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of specialty camps, from legos to cooking and everything in between. Campers will spend the majority of their time on the camp topic while taking breaks for recess and group bonding activities.
Will my camper be within 6 feet of other campers or staff?
Ultimately, yes while inside of their cohort. While we are going to do everything possible to limit exposure and keep social distancing in-tact, there will no doubt be times that campers are within six feet of each other while in their individual cohort. The program is designed to limit the interaction between cohorts to provide a safe and fun camp environment for each individual cohort or pod. Our team continues to monitor current conditions and environment as we move towards summer. All registered families will be invited to June Town Halls for in-depth explanation and discussion of COVID and other safety procedures.
Do you have to commit to the full session?
In an effort to mitigate the exposure and changeover among campers, we are running these programs at an extended length. While your camper does not have to attend every day of the program, there is no prorated refund for only attending a portion of the session.
Will the pool be open? If so, how will social distancing be enforced?
We currently plan on swimming as a daily activity for our programs on our Congressional Campus. The plan would be up to 2 groups at a time may be at the big pool, however the pool will be divided into thirds, with each group taking an outer-third, and the middle third being left open as a buffer area. For our Great Adventures campers we would be limiting pool use to one group at a time.
What did parents say about Zippy’s Mini Camp in 2020?
“The camp was phenomenal. You all pulled it off under extraordinary circumstances, but the campers were happy and healthy for all six weeks!”
“I was very pleased with the execution of the safety protocols during camp.”
“Absolutely loved how Congo Camp designed the entire experience to make sure kids and teachers/staff are healthy while having fun. [My son] had the best time ever and he enjoyed meeting new friends as well as seeing his older friends from congressional. Screening procedure was super efficient and easy.”
“We thought the camp staff did an amazing job managing an unprecedented situation. Our son had a wonderful summer, and we felt the camp managed to mitigate COVID related risks in a way that the children attending camp could understand and feel comfortable with.”
“Joy. You did joy, you did engagement, you made laughter possible, in a terrible time, and under very difficult circumstances”