November 15, 2020
The United States is in the midst of a terrible Covid-19 surge right now, and it will probably get worse before it gets better. So, will Walden open in 2021?
The news these days is dire, as the country closes in on 200,000 cases per day. Yet there is a general consensus that the pandemic will ease its grip on the U.S. as we get closer to spring. We may even have a vaccine (or two). That’s reason for optimism and causes us to remain 110 percent committed to running our full seven-week program in 2021. The camping community as a whole has learned a tremendous amount about how to control covid-19, and has, in some cases, led the way (see the covid resources to the bottom right). The only way we would NOT run would be if the local, state or federal government prevented us from doing so, or a force majeure prohibits our opening.
How will camp prepare if the Covid-19 pandemic remains a hurdle?
The United States appears to be moving closer to a widely available vaccine against covid-19, with health experts saying that could happen as soon as April. And while a vaccine may help protect our camp community this summer, it will still complement other preventative measures at camp. Right now, Walden is moving forward using the covid-19 blueprint that we devised last spring with our medical team, and in consultation with other healthcare professionals. Protocols will likely include asking families to quarantine prior to the start of camp, testing before and during camp, and some measure of cohorting and social distancing for a period of time once at camp. Having spent months last spring preparing to open, we understand the logistical changes that may still be required in 2021 to lower the risk to our camp community.
Why didn’t you open last summer?
Simply put, we felt the risks to our camp families and staff were too high. In addition, the alterations we would have had to make to our program–and the concessions we would have had to ask our staff to make–seemed too drastic. We cheer those camps that had successful summers in 2020! At the same time, we do not regret our decision; it was the right path for Walden.
My camper was really attracted to Walden for its “activity choice” program. Will campers still be able to create their own daily schedules?
We certainly hope so! Our plan is to offer the least restrictive environment while still keeping everyone healthy. Nonetheless, one of the successful protocols that camps in 2020 put in place was small-group cohorting. That meant that a cabin or unit of campers moved through camp together–and socially distanced from other small groups. Cohorting to some degree might still be necessary in 2021. That does not prevent Walden from fulfilling the most fundamental goal of camp: giving children the opportunity for socialization, character growth and exploration.
What if you ARE forced to close due to Covid-19, by government or some other force majeure? Will I get my money back?
Yes. If Covid-19 forces another closure, we would offer the same options to families as we did last summer, including full refunds.
I rolled over some of my 2020 payment to camp for 2021. Do I still have to fill out an application?
Yes. A parent or legal guardian must fill out the 2021 application online and agree to the Terms and Conditions. All of the basic information you entered last year will populate the fields automatically.
What are the deadlines for registration?
The Early Registration Discount ($150-$250) expires after December 15. For those who rolled over their deposits or more last summer, the deadline for locking into 2020 tuition rates is January 15. Tuition-in-full is due April 15. Late registration fees kick in May 1.