Nature Camp Safety

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Camp Hours

Please note, times are different for Peeps, Overnight and Winter camps.

MONDAY - THURSDAY
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

FRIDAY
9:00 AM - 3:30 PM

EXTENDED DAY*
Aftercare - Camp hours extend to 5:30 PM for additional fee.

*Not available all weeks or at all locations.

At VINS Nature Camp, health and safety is our first priority.

We will continue to adapt our COVID-19 safety measures as the situation evolves.  Updates to our policies will be posted here and communicated to all registered camp families.

UPDATED October, 2020

What to Expect at VINS Nature Camp this Winter

VINS Nature Camp is very excited to run camp programs this season and we look forward to sharing the wonders of the natural world with your child this winter.  At the same time, we know that these are challenging times and we may need to adapt our plans.  Our general COVID Safety Protocols for the winter season are outlined below.  

Group Sizes:

  • VINS Nature Camp has reduced all our camp group sizes to a maximum of 10 campers.

Masks & Social Distancing:

  • All camp participants must wear face coverings while at camp. 
  • There will be times when face coverings may be removed when activities demand it, such as while eating, or when staff are able to ensure sufficient physical distancing between campers.

Hand Washing

  • All VINS Nature Camp participants will engage in healthy hand hygiene during the camp day.

Travel Guidelines:

  • VINS welcomes campers from Vermont and any out-of-state campers who have met the necessary quarantine requirements.  For more information on Vermont's quarantine guidelines, click here.

Cancellations:

  • During this unprecedented time, VINS Nature Camp has revised our cancellation policies. Refunds are subject to a $10 non-refundable processing fee per registration and will be given according to the following schedule:
    • If requested at least two weeks before the first day of camp, you will receive a full refund (less a $10 processing fee).
    • If requested less than two weeks before the first day of camp, we will be unable to issue a refund.
    • In the event that a camp is cancelled due to COVID-19, VINS will refund the entire camp fee.

Health Screenings:

  • VINS Nature Camp will be conducting health screenings, including taking temperatures, of all campers, daily.  Any campers who have symptoms of COVID-19 or close contact with someone with COVID-19 will be sent home.

Drop-off & Pick-up:

  • In order to protect the health and safety of all our camp participants, parents/guardians will not be entering our camp facility.  Parents/guardians are asked to remain in their vehicles during drop-off and pick-up.
  • If possible, the same individual should drop-off and pick-up your camper(s) each day.

UPDATED JUNE 22, 2020

New Travel Guidelines

Last Friday, Vermont’s governor updated the guidelines for travelers coming to the state. VINS Nature Camp has been communicating with the Vermont Health Department to determine how these changes will impact our camp community.

Based on this new information and guidance, we have revised our camp policies to align with the guidance issued by Governor Scott and the Vermont Health Department.

The newest guidelines state that residents of counties “across New England and New York that have a similar active COVID-19 caseload to Vermont may enter the state for leisure travel without quarantining.” Additionally, effective June 15th, “travelers to Vermont may complete their quarantine of 14 days or 7 days followed by a negative test in their home state and enter Vermont without further quarantine requirements if they drive directly from home to Vermont in their personal vehicle.”

Read below to find out what these new travel guidelines mean for your family.

If your camper lives in Vermont or New Hampshire (except for Merrimack, Rockingham or Hillsborough counties), you do not need to quarantine prior to attending VINS Nature Camp and you do not need to submit a Certificate of Quarantine. Please be aware, if you have plans to travel out-of-state this summer, quarantine guidelines will apply to you upon your return. Note: As of 6/12/2020 Merrimack and Hillsborough counties of NH are considered “Quarantine” counties due to the number of active COVID cases.

If your camper lives in any of the “Non-quarantine” counties of New York or other New England states, you do not need to quarantine prior to attending VINS Nature Camp and you do not need to submit a Certificate of Quarantine. Please be sure to check the map showing these non-quarantine counties to determine the status of your county. This map will be updated weekly and will be monitored by VINS Nature Camp.

If your camper lives in any of the “Quarantine” counties of New York or other New England States, including New Hampshire, or lives outside the region, you do need to quarantine for 14 days or 7 days followed by a negative test prior to attending VINS Nature Camp and you do need to submit a Certificate of Quarantine. That quarantine may be done upon your arrival to Vermont or can be done in your home state as long as you are able to drive directly to Vermont in a personal vehicle with no stops.

For those who need to quarantine, whether in Vermont or in your home state, please be aware, quarantine, as defined by the state of Vermont, means that all members of the household must stay home and that trips in to work, the grocery store or other public places would reset the quarantine count back to Day 0. An exception is made for travel to and from a testing site.

We realize there is a lot of information coming at you and it can be difficult to keep abreast of this ever changing situation. Please contact Lead Nature Camp Sarah Strew at sstrew@vinsweb.org directly if you have questions or concerns regarding these updates to VINS Nature Camp’s COVID-19 policies.

UPDATED MAY 27, 2020

VINS Nature Camp Summer Guidance

Summer weather has already arrived in Vermont, despite a chilly start to the month of May, and preparations are well underway for our summer camp season. Earlier this month, Vermont’s Governor announced welcome news that many had been waiting to hear; summer camps will be allowed to open for the season.

VINS Nature Camp’s first priority is camper health and safety. As you know, VINS Nature Camp has already made adjustments to our summer schedule including delaying our start date and focusing on a smaller group size for each camp.

In response to the Health Guidance for Childcare Programs, Summer Programs and Afterschool Programs issued on Wednesday, May 13 by the Vermont Department of Health, Agency of Education and Department of Children and Families, we further modified our program including implementing several new policies outlined below.

VINS Nature Camp Policy Updates

  • All camp staff and campers must wear face coverings while at camp. Exceptions will be made for children who have a medical reason for not wearing a mask. Parent/guardian must contact VINS Nature Camp if their child cannot wear a mask.
  • We will be conducting daily health screenings and temperature checks of all camp participants upon arrival. If a child or staff member shows any symptoms of COVID-19 or registers a temperature above 100.4 degrees in that health screening they will be sent home.
  • If a child develops any symptoms of COIVD-19 while at camp, they will be separated from the group and parent/guardian will be immediately notified to come pick up the child. We will be sending out more information regarding our policies and protocols for camp participants who have or develop symptoms of COIVD-19 in the coming weeks.
  • There will be no early drop-off or late-pick up options offered this summer. In the coming weeks, we will be announcing a staggered drop-off and pick-up schedule to reduce crowds during these transition times. We will be issuing refunds or credit to any family who has already paid for these additional camp options.
  • All campers who arrive in Vermont or New Hampshire from out-of-state must submit paperwork to VINS Nature Camp certifying that they have met Vermont’s quarantine requirements. The quarantine requirements are as follows: “Children who arrive from out-of-state need to quarantine for 14 days or be tested at day 7 before entering childcare, summer programs or afterschool programs.” Any camper who cannot meet these quarantine requirements will not be allowed to participate in our camp program.
  • For children/families who live in New Hampshire or Vermont and who will be crossing state borders to attend VINS Nature Camp, cross state travel for commuter (day trip) traffic is allowed. We have confirmed that our program can make an exception to the quarantine requirements for children from out-of-state in this particular situation. What that means is a child from Lebanon, NH can attend camp at our VINS Nature Center in Vermont and a child from Norwich, VT can attend our camp at Storrs Pond Recreation Area in New Hampshire.

We realize that these new policies for VINS Nature Camp will impact many families in our camp community. Please understand that every decision VINS Nature Camp makes is rooted in camper safety and adherence to the guidelines set forth for the safe operation of child care programs during the COIVD-19 pandemic. If you have questions or concerns regarding the above policy changes, please contact Sarah Strew, Lead Nature Camp at sstrew@vinsweb.org.

The situation is ever evolving and we continue to monitor updates and guidelines set forth by health authorities and government officials. We will send updates regarding new camp protocols and policies to you, our camp community, as soon as they are ready and are committed to keeping you informed so you can make the best decisions possible for your family. We thank you for your understanding as we navigate these uncharted waters and look forward to welcoming your camper to camp this summer or in the future.

UPDATED MAY 2, 2020

VINS Nature Camp Safety Information

During this challenging time, you are in our thoughts, and we hope you are staying safe and healthy. While VINS Nature Center is currently closed, the entire dedicated VINS team continues to be hard at work producing online learning resources and virtual engagement opportunities for all as well as continuing the ever important job of caring for VINS’ exhibit and program birds and the dozens of rehab patients in our care.

Summer Schedule Change

VINS Nature Camp leadership including VINS’ Executive Director, Assistant Executive Director and Lead Nature Camp met to discuss the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our camps’ operation this summer. After careful deliberation, we have revised our camp schedule for summer 2020. VINS Nature Camp will not operate camp sessions during the month of June at either our VINS Nature Center or Storrs Pond camp locations nor will we hold our overnight camp programs operating at our Old Pepper Place Nature Reserve. The rest of our summer camp programs, beginning the week of July 6, are scheduled to run as planned at this time.

The decision to cancel these particular weeks of camp was difficult and we may have to change the schedule again should the state make further recommendations for group activities. The health and safety of our campers, staff, volunteers and the entire community is our highest priority. VINS will continue to closely follow communications from federal and state authorities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local health departments among other sources regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Committed to Providing a Safe Environment

VINS realizes that childcare this summer is going to be an important resource for families as parents and guardians return to the workplace. VINS Nature Camp is committed to providing a safe environment for children this summer. To do so, we will be making a variety of changes to our programs so that our health and safety protocols align with the most up-to-date recommendations from health authorities. Two examples of the changes; we have reduced group sizes to a maximum of 10 children per two adults, and will be modifying our check-in and check-out procedures.

VINS has implemented ways to connect and engage with our community and we hope that many campers and families join in and explore our virtual offerings as well as check out our new collaboration with other Vermont science organizations: foursciencevt.org.

We look forward to welcoming campers to VINS Nature Camp for a much needed dose of outdoor fun, adventure, and learning with friends when it is safe to do so.