The Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) met last week to provide the Alamo Area Council direction for participation for 2021’s summer camps. As a youth-centered organization, our goal is always follow the Scout Oath and Law, and to Do Our Best. That includes assisting our volunteers and families to do the same. The Alamo Area Council believes how each Scout proceeds is a personal choice, and as such provided options for participants attending camp. As such, we’ve compiled some information to help Scouters and their families make the best decision for themselves, while continuing to follow the Scout Law: A Scout is Obedient.
Updated Resident and Day Camp COVID Protocols as of April 30th, 2021
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Medical Advisory Committee?
COVID recommendations and guidelines can be confusing, and the fact they seem to constantly change, or apply for one situation and not another can be frustrating. This is one of the reasons the Alamo Area Council has a Medical Advisory Committee. The individuals serving on it are licensed medical professionals – working hands-on in healthcare during the pandemic – who also serve as volunteer Scouters within Packs and Troops within our Council. This combination of education and practice, coupled with the years of experience in unit meetings and camp, give the committee members the unique expertise necessary to provide guidance to the Council. The singular purpose is to keep our kids, staff, volunteers, and all their families safe, while continuing the adventures we look forward to as Scouts.
Why are there more restrictions this year than last year?
The MAC is constantly meeting and reviewing information from trusted recourses, one being The Center for Disease Control. As recommendations roll out for various audiences, the MAC reviews the guidelines and how they apply to scheduled events. Last year, most of in-person camps were canceled, moved to a virtual platform. This summer, we have more information and more options for individuals to take adequate precautions. Vaccines and testing are accessible to the general public as a free resource unlike last year.
Why do some events require testing, and others do not?
The CDC makes recommendations specific to the audience. For the Alamo Area Council summer camp events, the recommendations are found under Guidance for Operating Youth and Summer Camps During COVID-19. The AAC hosts different events that provide different types of experiences. Some are a few hours outdoors with parents, some don’t require parent/guardian participation. We host classes indoors, cohorts who cycle through stations, and even overnight/resident experiences – all have pinpointed recommendations outlined by the CDC, and therefore have their own guidelines.
Why didn’t we know this when camp registration opened?
The CDC published its most recent guidelines April 21, 2021. The MAC met and made their recommendations the following week.
If BSA National, State Guidelines, and County Guidelines are not requiring testing/Vaccines, why are we?
According to the CDC website, “Camp administrators, in collaboration with state, local, territorial, and tribal health officials, can adapt the recommendations in this guidance to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the populations served. Implementation should be guided by what is acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community. This CDC guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which camps must comply.” As such, the MAC reviews all these resources and creates the guidelines specific for our Council to comply with recommendations.
Why are the rules different for Schools?
The CDC created guidelines for each audience. K-12 schools have different guidelines than camps.
If you are requiring proof of COVID-19 Vaccine-are you also requiring official proof of other shot records-i.e. tetanus, chicken pox?
No, we are not, because herd immunity has been achieved with these other illnesses. Such is not the case with COVID-19. Others, such as tetanus, may not be a communicable disease, though important to note on your child’s health forms when coming to camp. Tetanus, however, is a required shot on the health record and must have been received within the past 10 years (please see the small print on the vaccination portion of the health form).
What sort of proof is required?
Ask your provider for a written confirmation of your negative COVID test, or your recent (within three months) COVID positive diagnosis. The online results that are downloadable are sufficient proof, as well. If you received your vaccine, bring a copy of your vaccination card. At home testing kits are soon to become available and pictures of the results will be accepted.
Isn’t showing you proof of my COVID testing or Vaccination a HIPAA violation?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. They can however give it to you, since you are the patient. This is why participants must obtain it themselves, and add it to their other camp check-in documents.
I don’t want the vaccine, does that mean I cannot go to camp?
The Alamo Area Council supports personal choice for the vaccine. Our only concern is keeping our Scouts, staff, and volunteers safe while following the CDC’s Guidance for Operating Youth and Summer Camps During COVID-19. A negative COVID test taken within 1-3 days prior to arrival at camp, or a positive COVID test taken within 3 months prior to arrival at camp, will suffice. See below for a list of FREE testing locations near you.
Are vaccines available for children?
At this time, vaccinations are open to children 16 and older. Please consult with your healthcare professional for more information. For children younger than that who are attending a resident camp (Bear Creek Summer Camp, Akela Adventure Camp, or NYLT), a negative COVID test taken within 1-3 days prior to arrival at camp, or a positive COVID test taken within 3 months prior to arrival at camp, will suffice. See below for a list of FREE testing locations near you.
I have two Scouts, a Cub Scout going to Day Camp, and a teen going to Bear Creek with the Troop. Who needs to be tested?
There are different guidelines for each of them.
For Cub Scouts going to Day Camp, you must sign and bring the COVID-19 “At Risk” Camp Participant Statement, and pass the screening at your vehicle each day at camp. If at any time, your child experiences any of the COVID warning signs, they must stay home. If they are turned away at check in, anyone who carpooled with them will also be turned away. You can read the full guidelines for your Cub Scout at Day Camp COVID Protocols – Updated May 6th.
For Scouts attending a resident camp at Bear Creek, (Webelos Akela Adventure Camp, Scouts BSA Summer Camp) or NYLT, your teen will need a negative COVID test taken within 1-3 days prior to arrival at camp, or a positive COVID test taken within 3 months prior to arrival at camp. If they are of the acceptable age for the vaccine, they may also provide proof of completed vaccination with 2 weeks of time passed since the final injection. They will also need the COVID-19 “At Risk” Camp Participant Statement, and pass the pre-screening at check-in at camp. If at any time, your child experiences any of the COVID warning signs, you must transport them home. If they are turned away at check in on the first day, anyone who carpooled with them will also be turned away. You can read the full guidelines for your BSA Scout at Resident Camp COVID Protocols.
I’m attending Day Camp with my son/daughter. Do I need to be tested? ***New Updated May 6th!
Anyone attending day camp, including unit leaders, parent partners, chaperones, and staff need to be preregistered, and will be pre-screened using the pre-screening questionnaire upon arrival at camp each day. Like the children attending camp, you will also need the COVID-19 “At Risk” Camp Participant Statement. If at any time, you experience any of the COVID warning signs, you and anyone you transported to camp, will be sent home.
I am a Camp Staffer, what do I need to do?
If you are Staffing a day camp, please see the Staff Procedure section of the Day Camp COVID Protocols – Updated May 6th!.
If you are staffing a resident camp (Scouts BSA Summer Camp, Webelos Akela Adventure Camp, or NYLT), please see the Staff Procedure section of the Resident Camp COVID Protocols.
For more specific information, contact your camp director.
Free Testing and Vaccination Information
For those who want the vaccine, we recommend you contact your health care provider, or local pharmacy for an appointment. Some of the vaccines require two appointments, others just one. Talk with a licensed health care provider about which one is best for you. When scheduling, make sure your final dose is completed two-weeks prior to your camp start date.
Testing Costs and Free Testing Programs
The most frequently asked question, is about the cost of testing. For those families with health coverage, contact your insurance provider, and ask what your policy allows. Calling the insurance directly is preferable, as your healthcare provider may not have access to the specifics of your contract plan. When calling, make sure to take a note of who you spoke with, their extension or reference number if possible, along with the date and time you called. This way, if there are any follow-up questions about your policy, you can reference your conversation with them.
Per the City of San Antonio’s website, “Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), COVID testing is fully covered if you have health insurance – you cannot be charged a deductible, co-pay or co-insurance. FFRCA protection does not apply to short-term health plans, plans that do onto provide minimal essential coverage, out-of-network tests, or tests that are not medically necessary according to the insurer.”
No-cost testing is available at local health centers and select pharmacies:
- See the Map of local testing facilities offering FREE testing
- The City of San Antonio offers a list of FREE testing locations in Bexar Co
- CVS Health
- Community Labs, a local partner with the City of San Antonio, offers FREE testing
- Local independent pharmacies (Health Mart , eTrueNorth , and TOPCO )
- Walmart (Quest Diagnostics)
- For more local testing information, visit the Texas health department’s website .
What to Tell Your Provider
When requesting a test, let your provider know you are seeking a test to comply with CDC, state or local health department guidelines. If necessary, explain that the youth camps the Alamo Area Council, Boy Scouts of America have are following the CDC Youth Overnight Camp guidance and are requiring participants to be tested within 3 days of attendance. This is not unlike CDC travel guidance.
Avoid Stress…Make a Plan
Keep in mind, these tests need to be completed within 3-days of camp, and many providers, even pharmacies, require an appointment for testing. Be Prepared, and call your provider well in advance to make a plan that works for your family.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/summer-camps.html
US Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/community-based-testing-sites/index.html
Texas Department of State Health Services: https://dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/testing.aspx
Local partner with City of San Antonio: https://www.communitylabs.org/community-labs-free-covid-19-screening