The Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church (BWC) Retreat and Camping Ministries (RCM) doing business as: Camp Harmison, Manidokan Camp and Retreat Center, and The West River Center has established the following protocols and procedures pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic for all summer camp programs

The following COVID-19 safety protocols have been developed for Manidokan Camp & Retreat Center, The West River Center, and Camp Harmison using recourses and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, Maryland Department of Health, the American Camp Association and other relevant industry leaders such as the Association for Challenge Course Technology, the American Canoe Association, and USA Archery.  These protocols will be updated as the recommendations from these groups changes.

These protocols and preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 will be used in conjunction with current policies and procedures contained in the site staff training manuals, BWC Conference Staff Handbook, Safe Sanctuaries policies, Health program, and activity certification trainings.

Last updated 1/26/2021

Summer Camp in State of Maryland

Summer Camps in the State of Maryland are waiting to hear from state authorities if 2021 day and overnight programs will be allowed.  Our site staffs are currently planning for programs in 2021 to happen with many adaptions for safety around COVID-19.  We will update this site as we have more details leading into next summer.

Changes in local health directives at any point may still result in modifications or even cancelation of the event.

*The counties for our sites are:

Camp Harmison: Morgan County, West Virginia

Manidokan Camp and Retreat Center: Washington County, Maryland

The West River Center: Anne Arundel County, Maryland


Participant Health Monitoring & Screening

It is critical that signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are detected as early as possible to prevent/limit the interactions of a sick individual.  Preventing the spread of COVID-19 at camp begins at home.

Pre-Camp Monitoring

  • Parents are encouraged to educate their children on basic germ prevention techniques including: handwashing, physical distancing, cough/sneeze etiquette, personal hygiene, wearing face coverings correctly. Resources can be found at
  • Once registered for camp, parents and campers will receive frequent updates prior to camp to explain various camp procedures and any changes to the program or procedures so everyone knows what to expect at camp this summer.
  • A completed “Pre-Camp Health Screening” form will be required for all campers, volunteers, and staff. This form must be turned in at check in.

Initial Camp Screening

  • Upon arrival to camp at the beginning of the session, campers, staff, and volunteers will have their temperature checked and they will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

Camp Health Monitoring

Early detection of signs or symptoms of COVID-19 is critical to slowing the spread of the illness.

Each day campers, volunteers, and staff will have their temperature checked and will be screened for additional COVID-19 symptoms.

Camper Capacities & Cohorts

Camp sizes may also be limited by state or local restrictions – we are currently planning to accept only 50% capacity of campers.

A key practice to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to limit the number of people with whom you interact.

  • Each program will function as a cohort.
  • We will minimize the interaction between any cohorts on site through scheduling changes and limited, physically distanced by individual and cohort, outdoor programming.
  • Campers and volunteers from one cohort will not be allowed into the areas designated for exclusive use by another cohort.
  • If staff interact with more than one cohort, they will follow CDC and local health guidelines for physical distancing and face coverings.
  • The use of shared spaces will be limited as much as possible and spaces will be disinfected between cohorts.
  • The use of shared equipment will be limited as much as possible and will be disinfected between uses following applicable disinfection standards. When possible, equipment will be assigned to a particular camper for the duration of the program.
Physical Distancing & Face Masks

We know physical distancing and wearing a face mask is the best practice for preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

  • To allow for physical distancing the capacities of our programs are reduced to approximately 50%.
  • The use of face masks will follow local health department guidelines.
  • Within a cohort, campers, staff, and volunteers will maintain physical distancing and use face masks except when wearing a face mask creates a safety hazard or is not practicable (i.e eating, sleeping, swimming, etc).
  • Physical distancing and face masks will be required whenever interacting with any person not a part of your cohort. For some camp activities wearing a face mask creates a safety risk; in those circumstances physical distancing will be strictly maintained and masks removed only when necessary for safety.
  • Campers will sleep alternating head to toe to create as much distancing as possible while sleeping.
Cleaning & Sanitation

Keeping the camp clean and sanitized helps reduce the spread of all kinds of germs and is particularly important with COVID-19 so we will be enhancing our regular cleaning processes.

  • The sites will follow ACA Field Guide recommendations for safely opening buildings following an extended shut down.
  • Whenever possible windows will be kept open to increase fresh air flow through buildings.
  • Lodging and meeting spaces used by only one cohort will be cleaned and disinfected between each session – high touch surfaces and restrooms will be disinfected daily.
  • Adults in each cohort will have sanitation supplies to perform additional cleanings of high touch surfaces and other areas daily and more frequently as needed.
  • At the pool, the bathhouse, high touch surfaces, and shared equipment will be disinfected between each cohort in addition to any local health department guidelines for safe pool operations amid COVID-19.
  • Any indoor space that is used by more than one cohort during the course of the day will be sanitized between each cohort.
  • Any bathrooms used by more than one cohort will be sanitized three times per day.
  • High touch outdoor surfaces will be disinfected daily.
  • Shared items will be limited as much as possible and will be disinfected between cohorts.
  • In the event of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, all areas the person came into contact with will undergo enhanced cleaning and sanitation per ACA Field Guide recommendations before the area is used again.
  • Hand sanitizer will be located at each building entrance and each activity area. Campers, volunteers, and staff will use sanitizer when entering and exiting each building.

Activities such as high ropes, boating, archery, etc. will follow COVID-19 operational and cleaning guidelines developed by the corresponding industry leaders/associations.

Staff & Volunteer Education

A well educated and prepared staff and volunteer team is essential to create a cultural of safety.

  • Staff and volunteers will be taught proper handwashing technique and demonstrate competence.
  • Staff and volunteers will be instructed to wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to and after each activity, meal, restroom use, usage of gloves, food preparation, touching garbage, before and after breaks, cleaning, coughing, sneezing or blowing nose, after touching frequently touched surfaces or sports equipment, and upon entering a building.
  • Staff and volunteers will be trained on how to monitor for and report signs and symptoms of illness and injury.
  • Staff and volunteers will be trained to properly clean and disinfect buildings, equipment, and high touch surfaces and where to access needed supplies.
  • Staff will be trained to properly don and doff personal protective equipment (PPE) and when to implement use with campers, volunteers, and other staff.
Camper Education

Campers need to understand the expectations for COVID-19 safe practices and how to meet them.

  • At the start of each session campers will be shown proper hand washing techniques.
  • Campers will be instructed to wash hands or use hand sanitizer: before each meal, upon entering any building, before and after any activity, after coughing, sneezing, or wiping nose, and after using the restroom.
  • Campers will be told the personal hygiene expectations at camp.
    • Encouraged to shower daily
    • Not to share personal belongings
    • Cough etiquette
    • When to wear a face mask
    • When to swap a current mask for a new mask
    • Physical distancing
    • How to report an illness or injury
Arrival & Departure

Arrival and departure has lots of moving parts and more people on site than other times in the course of a week of camp, so specific procedures to keep everyone safe are essential.

  • Check in will be staggered to avoid crowding. Campers will be given a specific check in time window.
  • Temperatures will be checked of all people in the vehicle upon arrival.
  • The Pre-Camp Health Screening form will be collected and reviewed.
  • Face mask must be worn and physical distancing maintained by all campers, volunteers, staff, parents, etc.
  • Parents/guardians will not be allowed into the camper’s building/sleeping area.
  • Families will be asked to limit the number of people coming for drop off and pick up to only those necessary. Only one person will be allowed out of the vehicle to help the camper unload/load their belongings.
  • There will be no large group closing program.
  • Check out will be done by cohort.

For anytime a camper or group of campers needs to be transported while at camp.

The small space of a vehicle poses unique challenges and require additional safety steps.

  • The driver will wear an N95/KN95 mask.
  • All passengers will wear a face mask.
  • Windows will be opened to increase airflow.
  • Interior surfaces of the vehicle and door handles will be disinfected between uses.
  • Groups will travel only with people from their cohort.
  • All passengers will sanitize their hands before entering and after exiting the vehicle.

Meals are a time when face masks cannot be worn, so additional safety procedures are needed.

  • When ever possible meals will be eaten outdoors or in a cohort designated indoor space.
  • If meals must be eaten indoors in a shared space, mealtimes for cohorts will be staggered to allow for adequate physical distancing between cohorts.
  • Indoor meals will follow county indoor dining regulations.
  • There will be no self-service buffets (like a salad bar). These items will still be offered, but will be served in a different way.
  • Day campers must provide their own lunch.
Response to Suspected/Confirmed Case of Covid-19

In the event of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19:

  • The ill person will be immediately isolated and the nurse will take over care.
  • Any person caring for an ill person will don additional PPE.
  • If a camper, the parent/guardian will be notified as soon as possible and arrangements made for the camper to be picked up from camp. Ill staff or volunteers will leave camp as soon as possible.
  • Anyone determined to have been in close contact with the ill person (15 minutes combined exposure within a 24 hour period less than 6 feet away regardless of mask usage), and everyone in the impacted cohort will undergo enhanced health monitoring for the remainder of the camp session. Enhanced health monitoring will start immediately.
  • Enhanced health monitoring will consist of symptom screening and temperature checks three times per day.
  • Parents/guardians of any camper who is determined to have been in close contact or in the same cohort with the ill person will be notified.
  • If a second suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 appears within a cohort, that cohort’s program will end and all campers in the cohort will be sent home.
  • Additional programs and even other weeks of camp may be impacted by positive COVID-19 case(s) due to enhanced sanitation needs and camp staff effected.

For Manidokan Site Specific

For site specific changes for Camp Manidokan in Washington County, click here.

For West River Site Specific

For site specific changes for West River Center in Anne Arundel County, click here.