The Safety of Your Child is our Top Priority
A lot has changed in the world since we started planning camp this summer! 12-15 year-olds have now been authorized to receive the Pfizer vaccine. The overwhelming majority of Traveling Players campers are over 12 years old — we expect a full 80-95% of our population (including faculty/staff and students) to be vaccinated by the start of the summer, which puts us well above the threshold for community immunity.
In response to climbing vaccination rates and steadily decreasing community transmission, the CDC and the VDH have changed their guidelines for summer camps. Here are two articles explaining why — to sum it up, the old set of rules were widely criticized by public health experts for being unscientific and restrictive in all the wrong places. The new set of rules reflect the current scientific consensus much more realistically.
As a reflection of these changes and developments, masks will not be required while students are within in their cohort (i.e. your summer camp “household”), or while outdoors — the scientific evidence is clear that masking is redundant in these circumstances, and can sometimes expose students to health risks via dehydration and heat exhaustion. Masks are still required while moving through indoor spaces (e.g. being in the cafeteria to bring food outdoors, going to the office to have some rehearsal materials printed, et cetera).
You can read all about our COVID safety policies below!
COVID vaccinations are mandatory for staff and highly encouraged for students. We expect 80-95% of our community will be vaccinated.
All campers who aren't fully immunized are PCR tested before arrival. Additional testing will be utilized throughout the summer as needed. All campers will be screened daily.
Campers and staff stay with their group, reducing the risk of community transmission, and improving contact tracing.
Staff arrives two week early to quarantine together. We will ask you to limit unnecessary trips, too, so that we all have a safe start to camp!
All campers and staff members wash their hands between activities.
All indoor spaces are sanitized daily. High-contact areas, including the bathhouse, are cleaned multiple times daily.
Campers and staff members practice physical distancing while interacting with other cohorts.
Campers and staff members wear masks while moving through indoor spaces.
Almost all camp activities (including rehearsing and eating) take place outdoors. Indoor spaces are fully ventilated with filtered AC and windows.
All our staff receive American Red Cross First Aid and EpiPen training.
Other Safety Measures
COVID safety is very important, but there are plenty of other ways we’ll be ensuring the safety of our students at camp this summer:
Traveling Players maintains a 1:4 staff to student ratio. That means our students are more than just in our sight, but receiving personalized training and attention. Directors are master teachers with many years of experience in both professional theatre and theatre education. Along with their professional achievements, our faculty is trained in First Aid & CPR and Leave No Trace outdoor ethics. Every director is supported by two assistant directors, who are working on or have received their BA, BFA or MFA in theatre.
Our Artistic Director personally interviews every member of our staff and selects them for their proven skills as educators, artists, and role models.
We do not employ CITs. All employees of Traveling Players are rigorously background checked. All staff attend two weeks of on-site orientation.
Our staff is our biggest asset — comprised of talented artist educators who work professionally in the DC-metro area and around the world. A significant number of our staff are alums of our program, proof that the Traveling Players community remains dear to their hearts. Read all about them on our staff page!
All our staff receive American Red Cross First Aid, CPR, and EpiPen training. Several staff are certified in Wilderness First Aid.
Our staff have a high level of physical competency. Many of them have run marathons, hiked the Appalachian Trail, or trained as certified lifeguards.
A cabin clinic is available for anyone who is ill or injured, monitored by our registered Nurse, who is on campus all summer. If medical services are needed, the INOVA Loudoun Hospital is located less than 30 minutes from campus.
We dedicate a full day of staff orientation to practicing how to keep our students in safe boundaries with our on-call social worker. Zena Carmel-Jessup is a Maryland Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 15 years of experience training staff and working with children and families.
Our fleet of six purple buses have an exceptional and spotless safety record. All of our buses are professionally maintained by our experienced on-call diesel mechanic. We employ a commercial driver trainer to personally train all of our drivers. All of our bus drivers are drug tested before the summer begins and randomly tested throughout the summer. A bus counselor engages students in games (a mobile improv class!) while the driver focuses on the road.
Our pool is private and monitored by a certified lifeguard whenever it’s in use.
Cell phones, iPods, mp3 players, kindles, smart watches, fitness trackers, other Bluetooth devices, etc. are NOT allowed at camp or on the buses. Your child is allowed to bring these items with them, but must give them to our staff when they arrive at camp. We will keep them safe, make them available at our discretion, and return them at the end of camp.
Almost all sleepaway/residential camps strictly forbid cell phones and electronics, and we agree with their stance. The reasons for this are many:
- According to the Chicago Tribune and NPR, smartphone-mediated communication interferes with the positive educational and developmental impact of camp on children of all ages.
- A 2014 UCLA study of sixth graders at an outdoor camp found that in just 5 days without a screen, students were better able to pick up on nonverbal emotional cues.
- The rough-and-tumble environment of summer camp is hard on delicate and expensive electronics, which are particularly vulnerable to loss and breakage.
- Unplugged doesn’t mean disconnected. You can send you camper letters & care packages (we recommend limiting yourself to 1 care package in a 3 week stay, but you can send letters everyday if you’d like!)
- <Camper’s Name>
c/o Camp Highroad
21164 Steptoe Hill Road
Middleburg, VA 20117
- <Camper’s Name>
- You can also email your camper!
- Subject : letter for CAMPER NAME
- Subject : letter for CAMPER NAME
- Some personal electronics (for instance, a single-function white noise generator for kids with sleep disorders) may be acceptable for use at camp. Please contact the office to check in with us before camp.
- Campers with standing therapy appointments will, of course, be able to attend those using their phones. Campers who are starting college this year will have access to their phones for the purposes of registering for classes, filling out their paperwork, et cetera. Students doing six weeks of camp (in Shakespeare Troupe or in two sessions of a 3-week program) will have a slightly modified set of cell phone rules, to account for the extended stay away from home.
- It’s very important that parents do not rely on their children’s cell phones as being their contact number should something come up. If something comes up during camp (family emergency on your end, camper not feeling well on our end), please call the Camp Office at 703-987-1712 (or expect a call from the camp office). The camp director will make sure your child, as well as his/her staff members, are up to date with anything that’s going on. By keeping us in the loop, we are better able to care for your child.
We really appreciate your compliance with this policy, and hope your camper can “disconnect to reconnect” this summer after a year of isolation!