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COVID-19 and 2021 Camps

COVID-19 and Brainy Camps 2021

Publication Date: January 26, 2021; Last Updated: June 10, 2021

See full camp breakdown on individual camp pages.

This page will serve as our way of keeping you informed of the decisions we make concerning Brainy Camps 2021 and the steps we will be taking to ensure the safety of our campers and staff.  We will adhere to the guidelines set by Children’s National Hospital (CNH), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the American Camp Association (ACA), the Association of Camp Nursing (ACN) and the State of Virginia. Necessary adjustments will be made as new data and guidelines are published and we will keep you updated on our plans for testing, screening, etc.  Frequently asked questions also will be found at the bottom of this page.

As of April 6, 2021 there will be both in-person and virtual camps. All camps will take place between the last week of June and the first week of August.  Please note, a minimum of 25 campers must be enrolled in an in-person or virtual session for it to take place. A maximum of 50 campers will be accepted for each in-person camp session; campers will be accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis. All participants must follow all camp protocols including mask-wearing, handwashing, and limiting interactions to cohort groups. Each family must sign the camp Waiver and Release form; new waiver and Release forms will be added to the "Forms and Documents" list by Thursday, May 13, 2021. 

***If you decide not to send their child to camp this summer and you have already paid for the session, you can either: request a refund, leave it as a credit on your account for next year's camp, or donate all or part of the funds to Brainy Camps to help support those who cannot afford the cost of camp.***

Pre - Camp Requirements:

Encourage healthy behaviors at home. Follow good hand hygiene procedures, coughing/sneezing into elbows, mask-wearing, and self-care behaviors. We highly encourage families to "Live in the Green" for at least two weeks before camp. Below is an infographic of our recommendation for healthy behaviors to be practiced before camp. 

All Campers/Families/Counselors must:

  • Quarantine at home for at least 14-days before camp, that means participating in the low-risk behaviors (the green parts of the graph) of the COVID-19 Risk Index below
  • Complete daily screening, via CampMinder account, during 14-day quarantine that will be reviewed by Brainy Camps Staff. 
  • Have one (1) PCR COVID-19 test 3-days before camp that is negative. Test results must be uploaded to online profile for review. Find a testing site at U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' website:
    • Positive results for those who had COVID earlier in the year must be accompanied by a physician’s note approving attendance to camp.

      • If you had COVID you could test positive, you will need a physician's note clearing you to come to camp.

    • Positive results for anyone else will result in immediate camp dismissal.

  • If vaccinated, proof of vaccination must be uploaded to your online profile during. 
  • All adults attending Take Charge Family Camp and Be Gluten Free Family Camp must be vaccinated at least 14 days before arriving at camp.
  • On the day of arrival to camp complete the “Pre-Arrival Screening” the day of your arrival to camp. The form can be found on the “Forms and Documentation” list on the registered camper's CampMinder account.



Our current plans to structure co-horts/pods-

  • We will reduce the capacity of dorm rooms to 3 people per room, two campers and one counselor. 
    • There will be a total of 10 -14 people (campers, CITs, and counselors) assigned to one (1) cohort/pod
    • One pod will be assigned to one hallway in the dorms
  • Only assigned campers and staff will be allowed in their specific dorm rooms.
  • Counselors will be equipped with gloves to assist campers in unpacking their belongings in their designated cubby areas.
  • All cohorts living space will have an ample supply of hand sanitizers, cleaning supplies, and spare masks
  • Packing suggestions: 
    • Use a plastic container instead of a suitcase so that the outside may be sanitized. 
    • Pre-pack outfits into individualized bags. 
    • Limit your child’s belongings to only the essentials. An 'Essentials' Packing list has been added to your 'Forms and Documents' list on your CampMinder accounts. 



We will adhere to the protocols set by the Blue Ridge School who has safely conducted its residential school since the onset of Covid-19. Sage Dining Service will service all food during meals. Meals are to be eaten outside or in designated and socially-distanced areas within the school buildings. Tents will be set up for outside dining for all meals, weather permitting.  



Participation in each activity will be limited to a cabin “pod” of both campers and staff. Face masks, social distancing, and frequent hand washing required by all. For those activities that often take place indoors, such as dance and arts and crafts, we will focus on outdoor alternatives. There will be a 15-minute break between activities to provide time for sanitizing all equipment used. Certain equipment will require a 24-hour sanitation procedure and use will be limited to once a day.  



The bus or train ride to and from camp is often where friendship bonds are forged and solidified.  For many, these forms of transportation are the only options available for travel to camp.  In order to meet the COVID safety requirements for Children’s National, we are unable to offer transportation for camp this year. We are sorry for the hardship this may cause any of our camp families.

A considerable number of campers fly into Charlottesville to attend camp.  Please exercise caution when planning your child’s travel. Several airlines have greatly reduced flights during the pandemic and some have stopped flights to or from certain areas altogether. Be sure to follow the regulations of your chosen airline as you are responsible for your child’s travel. 

A few tips for travel.

  • If you have friends or family in the area near the camp, stay with them the week before camp
  • Consider an extended family vacation in Charlottesville, VA, which is only 30 minutes away from camp

***Even with these recommendations we still strongly suggest that you still engage in the low-risk behaviors as mentioned in the "Pre-Camp Requirements" section. 



All staff and campers are required to wear masks at all times during the WEEKEND (Saturday - Sunday) portion of our camp sessions. Medical staff will use gowns when dealing with any and all medical issues, including medication delivery and addressing specific medical concerns. The ONLY time masks will not be worn will be when sleeping, eating, swimming, brushing teeth, and taking medication. 

For the remainder of the camp sessions (Monday - Wednesday) all remaining campers and staff will be fully vaccinated.  Masks will be required when cohorts interact or when we are in a large group setting (2 or more cohorts). 


Information for Staff Members:

Staff members, you are the ones who make camp possible. We are now accepting applications for counselors for our 2021 season and we have begun interviewing for positions at camp. We need staff for both in-person and virtual camps; so, if you cannot be there in person, you can take part virtually. Please note, we are hoping that, by the start of camp, the COVID 19 vaccine will be available to all childcare workers which, we believe, would allow you access. More details on "Counselor" page.


Q:  We live too far from camp for my child to be driven there.  Can my child still attend?

A: We hope so. Presently, each state and each airline has their own set of requirements when it comes to quarantining and testing. Brainy Camps will not be providing transportation to or from camp this summer. Even during a "normal" camp session families plan their vacation time around camp in a way that their child is doped-off at camp and the rest of the family spends some time in Charlottesville, VA.

Q: If my child is registered for camp this summer and it is decided to hold camp virtually can I receive a refund of my deposit?

A: We realize that the interactive virtual experience does not work for everyone. You will have the option to request a full refund for money paid, change any portion of your payment into a donation or let your payment roll over to 2022. 

Q: Since the Weekend Getaway and 5-Day Residential camps start at the same time will they be separated?

Yes, those attending the Weekend Getaway will be placed into a pod of camper also attending the Weekend Getaway. Those attending the 5-Day Residential camps will be placed into pods of children also attending that program.

Q: Is Children's National Hospital providing the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Yes, to the residence of Washington DC and Prince George's County, MD. Please refer to their FAQs page for more information:

Q: What are the options for kids not vaccinated?

A: During our 2021 Camp season we create three new version of camp to accommodate all our campers: 

  • Weekend Getaway - $300/person: 2-day in-person camp for campers not fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to the start of camp; each condition specific camp will take place over a weekend.
  • Hybrid Camp - $550/person; $450 for CITs: 2-day in-person camp and 3-day virtual camp; in-person portion will occur on the weekend and the virtual camp will take place July 12 - 14
  • Virtual only - $250/person: 3-days of virtual camp that will take place July 12 - 14; campers must select their activities one month prior to the start of camp


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