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Health Update: COVID-19

CRU Camps bookings are currently open for all upcoming seasons.

As you may be aware from our previous updates, CRU has been committed to reviewing national and international advice on how to best respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we look ahead, it is not possible to be sure of when and how CRU Camps will resume. We do know that the health risks of running camps at this time are too high. But with the restrictions beginning to ease and the move to have students back in the classroom during Term 2, we are hopeful that camps will be running again before too long. We do not know exactly what the coming weeks and months will look like, and so cannot give a firm indication yet on whether winter camps will occur.

We are well-aware of our obligation to act responsibly, not only complying with all current and future regulations but, additionally, following the best health advice. But we are also well-aware of the benefits of the community on a CRU Holiday Camp, and are committed to providing this in the future. And perhaps the community aspect of camp is needed in 2020 more than ever after our experience of isolation!

Recent research on the detrimental effects of children being precluded from attending their school campus for a long, or even medium, block of time is concerning for all parents(1). It is a positive sign that schools are beginning the process of opening up again; yet we believe that there is and will continue to be a need to reinvest strongly in the wellbeing of our young people.

Research this month by the University of Tasmania(2) on the consequences of students not being physically present in the school community states that “[n]early half (46%) of Australian children and young people are at risk of adverse effects on their educational outcomes, nutrition, physical movement, social, and emotional wellbeing by being physically disconnected from school.(3) ” Whilst this research was exploring the impact on young people not attending school campuses, the types of learning aims and growth outcomes identified in the researchers’ analysis included a focus on developing the “ability to take positive action for well-being; relate and communicate well with others; pose questions and solve problems; make informed decisions and act responsibly.”(4) These sound like exactly the opportunities campers receive in abundance on a CRU Camp!

Although we cannot be certain about when camps can resume, we are confident that CRU Camps will be back, and see the real need for us to take prudent steps to make this possible when we can.

We expect that, even when camps return, we will need to comply with social distancing measures for some time, and anticipate that this may include taking steps such as:

  • Limiting the number of campers on each camp, in order to limit the numbers sleeping in each cabin and to reduce the numbers of occupants in meeting and dining rooms.
  • Continuing to require that sick children or leaders to not attend camps, and having quarantine processes in place for any who become ill on camp. We have always had such processes in place; however, these will be enacted for even milder illnesses.
  • Modifying programs and activities where necessary to reduce the risk.
  • Encouraging campers to utilise outdoor, fresh air gathering spaces as much as possible.
  • As always, giving reminders at all camps, on a regular basis, about maintaining good hygiene standards, including cough etiquette and frequent, correct handwashing.
  • Boosting our already-strong cleaning and disinfecting procedures as needed, before and during camps.

We understand that a number of families will decide to not book an upcoming camp until the future becomes clearer, and we respect this choice. But we do feel the need to point out four factors that you should bear in mind in making your decision:

  • The camp environment is a safe place for campers and leaders. In reviewing and responding to COVID-19, the NSW Department of Education has declared that schools are “safe, clean and secure places”(5). We believe that residential campsites can be equally safe and clean, or even more so than schools, as being on camp for a week will limit the overall number of different people that a child will come into contact with.
  • In regards to the virus that causes COVID-19, a recent study by NSW Health concluded that “transmission in children in schools appears considerably less than seen for other respiratory viruses, such as influenza. In contrast to influenza, data from both virus and antibody testing to date suggest that children are not the primary drivers of COVID-19 spread in schools or in the community.”(6)
  • Because we anticipate that camps are likely to run with reduced camper places available when they return, we expect that camps will be booked out, especially as it becomes more evident that they will return. Securing your spot early will be to your advantage.
  • There is no risk to you in booking a spot on a camp which does not proceed, as we will offer you a full refund in that instance, as we did with all autumn camps. If, in the lead up to camp, your personal situation changes, or if you simply change your mind, then we have adjusted our booking terms and conditions to provide you greater flexibility. Our office can give you further details on this at the time that you are considering your booking.

We realise that there is a range of opinions and emotions about the future, and each family will make decisions which reflect their own circumstances. Please know that we are always here to work together in this, and are more than happy to discuss your options with you. Feel free to email us at crucamps@cru.edu.au or call us on 9874 8933 (option 1).

We are saddened that we were unable to provide the CRU Camps experience for campers in autumn or offer our services to parents, who value our support for them and their children. We look forward to being able to provide our camps to you again, before too long.

We’re thankful for your ongoing partnership and support.

Warm Regards,
Philip Rawnsley
Director of CRU Holiday Camps
5th May, 2020

 

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-28/vulnerable-students-could-fall-behind-remote-learning-covid19/12190834 (Accessed 30th April, 2020)
  2. https://www.dese.gov.au/document/professor-natalie-brown-peter-underwood-centre (Accessed 30th April, 2020)
  3. Ibid., p 1
  4. Ibid., p 6
  5. https://education.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/advice-for-families#Video0 (Accessed 30th April, 2020)
  6. http://ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2020-04/NCIRS%20NSW%20Schools%20COVID_Summary_FINAL%20public_26%20April%202020.pdf

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