Jewish institutions across South Florida feel the safety protocols they implemented in their summer camp programs have so far worked effectively.
Among the various precautions the institutions implemented this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic include temperature checks for staff and children, increased cleaning support, personal protection equipment, limited capacity, smaller group sizes, mask wearing, requirement of parents to drop-off and pick up their children at the entrance and more.
Jenny Mermelszteyn, camp director for the Galbut Family Miami Beach Jewish Community Center, said that JCC has been very precautious in setting up all safety protocols for Camp Klurman, which runs through Aug. 14.
“The most important thing is that our parents and our community have been very supportive in helping us to enforce the safety protocols,” she continued.
Jesse Rosen, president and chief executive officer of the Mandel JCC of the Palm Beaches, said he has personally felt safe going to the J’s Boynton Beach and Palm Beach Gardens facilities this summer while running its programs for children.
In lieu of its typical Camp Shalom, the Mandel JCC ran a Summer Days at the J childcare program from June 8-Aug. 7, and will also provide a S’More Summer Days program through Aug. 21.
“We’ve updated our safety protocols 20-30 times over the last nine weeks and we just keep learning from our experience to try to do things better every day,” Rosen said.
Marleny Rosemberg, director for the Michael-Ann Russell JCC’s Camp Sol Taplin in North Miami Beach which runs through Aug. 14, said this year has been a learning experience for campers, counselors and staff regarding health.
“We are learning every week on how important it is to use masks, especially when inside, and how important it is to take care of ourselves, wash our hands and being flexible in all situations,” she said.
Randy Colman, executive director for the Adolph & Rose Levis JCC in Boca Raton, said safety protocols assured the success of its Marleen Forkas Camp Kavod program this summer.
“Our parents are begging us for more,” Colman said. “We had such stringent and strict protocols for the program.”
The camp, which is part of the Levis JCC’s Helene & Roy Schwedelson Special Needs Department, partnered with We Rock the Spectrum, an indoor gym and play center, to present its summer program for children and teens with special needs.
Rabbi Hershy Bronstein of the Chai Center Chabad in Coral Springs said the safety protocols it implemented for its preschool summer camp, which is currently running, have also been very effective.
“The Chai Ceinter was careful to follow all of the CDC regulations, and we were in close contact with the Early Learning Coalition of Broward County, which is the office that administers licensing for preschools,” Bronstein said. “I believe the standards that we implemented enhanced the program and gave parents a feeling of confidence that they can send their children here and that they will be safe.”