BCI is adapting its current policies and procedures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in our in-residence summer community. The policies laid out here are subject to change as new information surfaces regarding best practices around COVID-19. Our approach is based on the CDC’s suggestions for summer camps and the American Camp Association’s field guide. In addition, our policies are reviewed by our Medical Advisory Committee, who have distinct knowledge about our program and site-specific considerations. Our ultimate commitment is to ensure the physical and emotional health and safety of our participants and staff. We welcome your questions and input in shaping the upcoming summer.
Details are below:
BCI will create a program-wide bubble environment to protect against the transmission of the virus from outside and within the program population. BCI participants are not permitted to leave the campus during BCI (as was the policy in previous summers). Exceptions are granted for emergencies and are handled on a case-by-case basis. Similarly, BCI will be closed to guests and visiting educators this summer. While BCI shares a campus with Camp Alonim (an overnight children’s summer camp), the two programs have completely separate facilities and will rarely interact during the summer.
BCI is expecting 30-35 participants (60% of our usual capacity).
While we are hopeful that a percentage of BCIers will be vaccinated prior to BCI, we are not requiring BCIers to be vaccinated in order to attend due to the uncertainties of when precisely this age demographic will be eligible for vaccination.
To mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission upon arrival AND to ensure that in the event of a confirmed positive case, the risk of transmission is minimized, housing at BCI this summer will be divided accordingly:
Non-vaccinated participants: Single occupancy
Vaccinated participants: Share a room with 1-3 other vaccinated participants (typically, 3-4 BCIers share a room)
Every room at BCI has its own private bathroom, 2 sinks, and a shower.
Travel and Transportation
One of the greatest challenges surrounding this summer involves the creation of a safe environment from the get-go. The vast majority of BCIers arrive in Southern California by air travel. Despite increasingly positive research indicating the relative safety of air travel, it is undeniable that there is some amount of exposure-risk when flying. Currently, the CDC recommends 7 days of self-quarantine after travel. We recognize that requiring BCIers to pay for 7 days of accommodations in Southern California prior to starting BCI is cost prohibitive. As a result, we have restructured our summer schedule to enable non-vaccinated participants to self-quarantine at BCI prior to the official start of the program, without any additional cost to the participant. We are applying this standard to all non-vaccinated participants who intend to arrive at BCI by private ground transportation. Self-quarantining at BCI, as opposed to in one’s home, is the ideal way to drastically reduce the possibility of encountering someone who has been exposed to COVID-19.
In addition to the policies outlined in the “travel and transportation” section above, international participants must meet any travel guidelines established by both the country of origin and the United States Department of State. We expect the guidelines to continue to evolve over the next few months so please stay attuned to the latest information. As always, international participants must also have a valid travel visa to enter the United States.
Typically, BCI is a 26-day program from start to finish. Given the need this year for non-vaccinated participants to self-quarantine prior to the official BCI start date, the program dates are as follows:
- Pre-BCI Self-Quarantine: Wednesday, June 23- Tuesday, June 29
- Official BCI Program: Tuesday, June 29- Sunday, July 25
- Official BCI Program: Tuesday, June 29- Sunday, July 25
We know that the CDC-advised requirement of a self-quarantine for non-vaccinated participants will be a concern for folks. We felt strongly that we didn’t want the first 7 days of the official BCI program to be spent in quarantine, leaving less than 20 days for all the tremendous activities we have planned for you. Furthermore, creating a pre-BCI period of self-quarantine enables us to function as one “pod” for the full duration of the official BCI program. That means, we can eat together, sing and dance together, and build relationships with one another as one cohesive community. Creating a stricter “on-ramp” to the program is an investment for the rest of our time together.
And, we believe the pre-BCI self-quarantine will be rejuvenating, grounding, and nourishing.
While the precise schedule is still being developed, you can expect room service for 3 meals/day (and snacks, of course!), opportunities to explore the nature trails on our 2,700 acre campus, 2 hours/day of guided activities (outdoors, socially distanced, masked), and lots of intentionally-designed, self-guided opportunities to relax, reflect, and re-set.
COVID-19 testing is mandatory for all non-vaccinated BCI participants. The precise type of test both required and administered will be determined with the latest available research closer to the summer. Testing will occur as follows:
- Test #1: 72 hours prior to arrival-- BCIer is responsible for coordinating and sending the results to BCI Director.
- Test #2: Arrival Day-- Administered and provided by BCI.
- Test #3: 4-5 days after arrival- Administered and provided by BCI.
Regarding the first test: It is imperative that a few days prior to the test and once taken, BCIers are highly cautious, refrain from non-essential contact with people outside of their households and immediate family, practice social distancing, mask wearing, and handwashing until arrival at BCI. In the case of a positive first test, the BCIer will unfortunately not be permitted to join the program this summer.
Regarding the second and third tests: If a BCIer tests positive for COVID-19, they will isolate on-campus (single-occupancy housing). Protocols for joining the program are described in the “Isolation Procedures” section below.
A COVID-19 testing schedule, if necessary, for vaccinated participants will be determined when the CDC provides further information on this topic.
BCI shares a Health Center with Camp Alonim. A doctor and multiple registered nurses live on campus so that medical assistance is available 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. If a BCIer needs to be seen by a doctor or nurse, a medical professional will be dispatched from the health center to examine the BCIer at BCI. If additional care is required, the BCIer will visit the on-campus health center. This summer, there will be a separate triage and quarantine area for any individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
Isolation and Quarantine Procedures
In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the BCI community, the individual will be immediately separated from others and begin an isolation period in a single-occupancy room. The length of isolation will be determined based on the specifics on the case, in accordance with CDC guidelines. An on-site medical professional will need to clear the individual to rejoin the program.
All non-vaccinated BCIers will immediately quarantine for a minimum of 7 days, pending the results of testing on day 5, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Vaccinated BCIers will be permitted to continue with regularly scheduled activities.
Isolated/quarantined BCIers will not be permitted to stay on-site beyond the end date of the program (July 25) and will be responsible for arranging their own accommodations.
While we believe that the policies we’ve put into place regarding pre-BCI self-quarantine and testing drastically lower the chances of a positive COVID-19 case during BCI, we must be prepared for any scenario, including the isolation procedures described above.
Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs)
The strategy of requiring a 7-day pre-BCI self-quarantine for non-vaccinated participants enables us to function as one “BCI community pod” throughout the summer. Accordingly, within a pod, it is not necessary to adopt NPIs such as physical distancing and mask wearing. That said, there will most certainly be situations throughout the program where mask wearing will be required (such as a trip to the health center or walking in a space where one might encounter someone from Camp Alonim). Activities will take place both inside and outdoors.
Interacting with a community of this size after this past year and a half will likely be an adjustment for many of us. Individual preferences around stricter mask wearing and physical distancing will be respected. Out of an abundance of caution, enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols will be implemented in all communal spaces, including communal bathrooms.
Timeline and Action Steps for BCI 2020 Confirmed Participants
As previously communicated, individuals who were accepted into BCI 2020 have priority for attending BCI 2021, pending capacity. To secure a spot in BCI 2021, your full non-refundable program tuition ($450) is due by April 6, 2021. If you received a scholarship for BCI 2020, that scholarship will apply for BCI 2021. If your situation has changed and you’d like to update your scholarship request, please do so by March 25, 2021.
Individuals who remain interested in attending BCI but chose not to pay by April 6th will be moved to a waitlist. New applicants for BCI 2021 will be considered alongside this waitlist. When a spot opens, individuals will be personally contacted with a specific timeframe for confirming their place in the program.
Refunds for withdrawing from the program, with rare exceptions, will not be granted for BCI 2021.
Timeline and Action Steps for BCI 2021 NEW Applicants
We encourage new applicants to apply before the Early Bird deadline, April 6th, for the best chances of acceptance. Given both this summer’s reduced capacity and priority to participants accepted into last summer’s program (which was cancelled), the earlier you apply, the higher your chances of being accepted in the program. Please refer to this timeline for important dates in the application process.
As stated above, the policies in this document are subject to change as new information surfaces regarding best practices around COVID-19. We will communicate updates in a timely manner through direct emails and website updates. We hope that this document provides greater clarity and a window into our approach to creating a safe and meaningful BCI 2021. The thought of celebrating Shabbat together, learning and creating with our hearts, bodies, and minds, and forming a caring community is a source of hope, and we intend to do everything in our power to make that possibility a reality.