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COVID-19 Guidelines for Camps and Conferences

Appendix 1: JRB Event Protocols: COVID-19 Guidelines for Camps and Conferences

The JRB events protocols for camps and conference serves as an appendix to the SDSU events protocols and is grounded in the SDSU Guiding Principles for Return to Campus and SDSU COVID-19 Protocols.

The protocols contained herein are intended to be used in additions to South Dakota Board of Regents policies, SDSU policies and procedures, local, state and federal law applicable to camps conferences and their participants. All protocols outlined in this document are subject to additional restrictions as determined by the safety level at the time of the event.

For the purposes of this planning document, it is presumed that the operating status for the summer camp and conference season is “yellow” and thus standard safety measures in place during the academic year will be somewhat altered permitting most routine camp/conference activities to occur. However, the programmatic activities of some camps may preclude their being hosted on campus in an Orange 1 or other more critical operational status. Such high-contact camps have significant sustained physical interactions that can be substantial sources of potential contagion. Other camp/conference programs low-contact campus parallel the classroom and laboratory instruction engaged by students during the academic year and can be conducted safely in an Orange 1 status. The COVID-19 Response Team (CRT) designee will examine each camp/conference individually guided by disease spread in Brookings County and on campus at the time of request. The CRT reserves the right to alter approval status even after review to be responsive to emerging conditions in the spread of the disease.

General Guidelines

Maintaining Healthy Operations

  • For large groups with high interaction. The attendees will be cohorted into smaller groups which stay together through the day’s activities, during meals and overnight, if applicable.
  • Attendees will be encouraged to eat in separate areas with their smaller cohort limiting mixing between groups.
  • Arrival and drop-off times or locations will be staggered by cohort or other protocols will be put in place to limit contact between cohorts and with other camper/ attendees and guardians as much as possible.
  • Appropriate stakeholders (Housing and Residential Life, Athletics, Dining Services, the University Student Union, Facilities and Services, and the Public Health Officer) will have a comprehensive summer coordination meeting in March to review the entire summer schedule and troubleshoot any anticipate problems.

Food Service

  • Food service will operate under current pandemic food-handling procedures.
  • Larson Commons will be the service site for camps/conferences serving 100 guests and under with meal times staggered to allow different camps to dine, with established cleaning procedures occurring between seatings. 
  • Food service will utilize a variety of strategies to maintain social distancing during meals and minimize interaction between camps and conferences. Strategies utilized will vary depending on the number and size of camps and conferences hosted each week. Strategies include:
    • Utilizing to go options for groups sizes that would overwhelm the Larson dining room capacity. This will occur typically at the Volstorff Ballroom, but in other locations as coordinated with the Aramark and other appropriate campus facility and event staff and as necessary to maintain disease spread safety measures
    • Utilizing satellite locations for the distribution of to-go options to prevent congregation at Larson Commons.
    • Splitting mealtime to allow groups to exit completely before the next group arrives.
    • Utilizing outdoor seating, if weather appropriate.

Considerations for Youth Camps

In addition to the pandemic protocols outlined in this document youth camps will follow all protocols outlined in the Youth Activities and Camps Policy and Procedures Manual and guidelines outlined in Youth Activities and Camps Model Handbook

CDC Guiding Principles for Youth and Summer Camps

The more people a camper or staff member interacts with, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in youth camp settings as follows:

  • Lowest Risk: Small groups of campers stay together all day, each day. Campers remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. Outdoor activities are prioritized. All campers are from the local geographic area (e.g., city, town, county, community).
  • More Risk: Campers mix between groups but remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. Outdoor activities are prioritized. All campers are from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city or county).
  • Even More Risk: Campers mix between groups and do not remain spaced apart. All campers are from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city or county).
  • Highest Risk: Campers mix between groups and do not remain spaced apart. All campers are not from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city or county).

Mitigating Spread

  • Camp administration will communicate with campers and their families about when they should stay home and when they can participate in camp activities.
    • Prior to camp initiation communicate camp staff will communicate with parents regarding expectations and preventative actions. Download the template.
  • Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
    • Handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds will be taught and monitored to ensure adherence among campers and staff.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol will be used (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).
  • Masks
    • The use of masks reinforced in compliance with the SDBOR face-covering policy as adopted by SDSU. Masks may be challenging for campers (especially younger campers) to wear in all-day settings such as camp. Masks should be worn by staff and campers (particularly older campers) as feasible and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult.
  • Ensure signage that promotes everyday protective measures are easily visible and age appropriate for the camps audience. Download the COVID-19 communication materials by audience age..


  • If transport vehicles are used by the camp, drivers will practice all safety actions and protocols as indicated for other staff.
  • Campers on school buses or vans will be seated to maximize distance between campers in compliance with JacksRBack travel and transportation Guidelines (e.g., seat children one child per row, skip rows) when possible.


  • Camper’s belongings will be separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies or areas as applicable.
  • Adequate supplies will be available to minimize sharing of high-touch materials to the extent possible (e.g., assign art supplies or other equipment to a single camper), or use of supplies and equipment will be limited to one group of campers at a time and clean and disinfect between use.
  • Outdoor activities where social distancing can be maintained will be utilized as much as possible.

Additional Considerations for Overnight Stays

  • Camp placement on the floors/wing will be arranged to minimize mixing between camps.
    • To the extent, possible camps will be cohorted by camp/conference type into separate living areas, such as all football camp guests in Young Hall, all music camp guests in Pierson Hall, etc.  
    • To the extent possible sub-cohorts by school or other appropriate grouping will be used to assign guests on a floor; all guests from Lennox in one area, all guests from Hartford in another area on the floor. Attention to the number of guests using a given bathroom will also be considered in making summer camp assignments.
  • Beds will be arranged so that roommates sleep head-to-toe at least 6 feet apart.
  • Social distancing and healthy hygiene behaviors will be monitored throughout the day and night.
  • Bathrooms will be cleaned and disinfected at an increased frequency.
  • Camp administrators will identify an isolation room or area to separate anyone (staff or campers) who exhibits COVID-like symptoms.
    • Individuals at short stay camps exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be temporarily isolated while parents or guardians are contacted but will not spend the night on campus.
    • Guests under the age of 18 who become symptomatic will not be allowed to remain overnight once they are reported as symptomatic but can be held in short-term isolation in Waneta Hall until a parent, guardian, or staff from the camp transport the guest home. 
      • This short-term isolation will be staffed by an SDSU personnel who lives on-site.
    • For those on campus for extended stays please see below.   
  • Staff and campers who have had close contact with a person who has symptoms should be separated in a quarantine room and monitored for symptoms.
  • Staff will be trained on all safety protocols related to COVID-19 exposure.

Additional Considerations for Extended Stays

  • Extended stay camp participants will be required to follow SDSU isolation and quarantine procedures throughout their stay.
  • Summer school students, REU participants and Prairie Rep cast members will be housed in Ben Reifel.
    • Those over the age of 18 required to isolate or quarantine will be given the option to move to Summer QIH for the duration of their directive.
    • Those under the age of 18 will be accommodated in an isolation or quarantine space separate from summer QIH and as close to their extended stay residence as feasible, for the duration of their directives.
  • Food service will be provided to all individuals quarantine in accordance with infection control measures currently practiced by food service.
  • Upward Bound students under the age of 18 who are unable to return home for isolation or quarantine will be allowed to isolation or quarantine on campus.
    • Because of their already cohorted nature, upward bound students with directives will QIH in place in the facility in which the program is assigned for the summer. 
    • This space will be staffed by personnel already assigned to the Upward Bound facility.
    • Food and emotional support will be coordinated for any guest/student assigned to Summer QIH similar to academic year operations.

Additional Considerations for Sports Camps

  • Athletes, coaches, staff and families will be discouraged from greeting/congratulating others with physical contact (e.g., handshakes).
  • Players will be spaced at least 6 feet apart on the field when feasible (e.g., during warmup, skill building activities, simulation drills, while explaining rules)
  • Higher-intensity sports: People who are engaged in high-intensity activities, like running, may not be able to wear a mask if it causes difficulty breathing. These activities will be conducted outdoors whenever possible.