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Covid-19 Update

The JCC Camping Team

Health and Safety Protocols and Summer 2020 Day Camps FAQs:

May 27, 2020

Hello JCC Day Camp Families,

We hope everyone is continuing to stay safe and healthy and getting along well at home.

Thank you so much to our community of parents, campers and staff for the numerous messages of support over the last several weeks. It is so wonderful to see the excitement and anticipation leading up to the start of Summer 2020!  As we head toward opening day, our top priority remains ensuring the health and safety of our camp community while fulfilling our mission of preparing campers for life’s journeys through building connections, instilling values, fostering growth and delivering fun.

After carefully reviewing guidance and regulations from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the American Camp Association, the Association of Camp Nurses, the PA Department of Human Services, the PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning, the PA Departments of Health and Human Services, and the Allegheny County Health Department we are excited to share with you that we are preparing for J&R Day Camp, South Hills Day Camp, Performing Arts Camp (Squirrel Hill), and most Specialty Camps to open as scheduled  on June 22nd.   These challenging times will require us to make ongoing modifications to our camp operations and programming to best ensure we operate as safely and responsibly as possible on behalf of our campers, our staff, their families, and the broader community.  This is not a typical time and it will not be a typical summer at the JCC. We will need your full support and cooperation as we do our utmost to provide the best for your children under unpredictable circumstances.

We are in the process of finalizing a detailed plan that includes enhanced health and safety protocols and FAQs, which we will share with you no later than Wednesday, June 3. In the meantime, we want to provide you with a number of updates that, along with the detailed plan, will help you make an informed decision of whether spending time with JCC Day Camps this summer is best for you and your family.  I assure you that each item below reflects countless hours of scenario planning to provide a meaningful summer experience for as many campers as possible while adhering to the best practices of physical distancing and other recommendations put forth in local and national guidance.  Our plans are also being reviewed by consultants from the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), a nationally-recognized leader in safety and quality improvement within healthcare settings.

  • It is with great sadness and disappointment that we will not be offering J&R Day Camp this summer to those campers entering pre-K (Karmiel) or Kindergarten (Tira).   While PA Department of Human Services capacity limits do not make it feasible for us to host these children at J&R this summer, we continue to explore ways that the JCC can serve this age group in other ways and will work with each family to make appropriate financial arrangements as detailed below.
  • Performing Arts Camp in the South Hills has been cancelled, but we encourage interested families to participate in a combined experience in Squirrel Hill.
  • Performing Arts Camp in Squirrel Hill will be structured in small group workshops focusing on acting, dance, scene work, voice, and choreography, with virtual solo and small group performances each week for parents to view.  We will be unable to schedule a culminating musical performance or in-person performances.
  • To most closely adhere to best practices in physical distancing during camp drop-off and pick-up, no transportation will be provided for any summer experience. Instead, campers must be dropped off and picked up at all JCC Day Camp locations, including Family Park in Monroeville.  Those families for whom transportation is a part of their registration fees, specifically J&R Day Camp and specialty camps held at Family Park, will receive an automatic $50 credit per week registered in recognition of the inconvenience this may cause.
  • All day camp families will be assigned a drop-off and pick-up time, and special consideration will be given to those families who have children attending camp/ECDC in multiple locations.  We will do our best to accommodate each family’s scheduling needs.  As a result of this process, before- and after-care will not be offered in either Squirrel Hill or the South Hills.
  • During the arrival and dismissal process, campers will remain in their assigned groups and have small-group activities and games to play with while they wait for other campers to arrive or be picked up.
  • We are in the process of finalizing our scheduled hours of operation, which we anticipate sharing next week.   Factors under consideration include guidance on capacity limitations and physical distancing measures and allowing adequate time for all campers to go through a daily health screening and temperature check.   We appreciate your continued patience as our registration remains fluid and continues to change on a daily basis.
  • We are awaiting additional information from Allegheny County regarding the operation of our indoor pools.
  • Physical distancing will occur by small group, not by individual.  Campers will be in group sizes of 10 or less and will do all activities, meals, and snacks with the same group.  Physical distancing between groups will be strictly enforced.  A schedule is being created to ensure children have time to do activities in different spaces around camp and/or building, with enough time in between for hand sanitizing and cleaning and disinfecting equipment.
  • Specialists and instructors will have cleaning supplies in each program space so they can disinfect spaces and equipment in between group uses.  Counselors will carry backpacks with them at all times containing cleaning and sanitation supplies for both hands and equipment.
  • Campers will remain on JCC premises at all times during camp hours.  All out-of-camp trips are cancelled for all age groups.
  • Campers will be assigned to the same staff as much as possible.
  • No visitors will be allowed inside any building or on campgrounds.  Maintenance and cleaning staff, along with our kitchen crew who need to enter will have a health screening and temperature check prior to entry.  Other JCC staff members may assist with daily health screenings and various other responsibilities in association with day camps, but will not enter into camp program spaces.


While we look forward to having you at camp this summer and hope that the information above is helpful in making your decision, we will continue to provide our families with the following financial options should you choose not to attend any JCC Day Camp this summer.

  1. Donation to the JCC.  All program fees and membership dues to the JCC are suspended while the agency is temporarily closed.  During this time, the JCC has continued to incur significant personnel and facility expenses.  We are offering this opportunity for our families to designate their camp fees as a charitable donation to the JCC.  To donate your camp fees, please fill out this FORM.  Select the “other” option and write in “JCC Summer 2020 Camp Fees.”  For those of you who are JCC members, you may also select to donate your program fee.
  2. Credit for 2021. We can apply any or all of your 2020 payments as a credit toward your 2021 camp fees, or any of our other 2020-2021 Children, Youth and Family (CYF) programming.  We ask for your patience as credits may not appear on your account until after our offices have fully reopened.  If you select a credit towards fall CYF programming, credit will be applied at the time of registration.
  3. Refund Payments. We are able to refund any portion of payments made towards camp this summer if you cancel.  We ask for your patience as refunds may not appear on your account until after our offices have fully reopened.


Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have.  Should we not hear back from you by Monday, June 8th, we will assume that you will be joining us for Summer 2020! We appreciate your continued patience, partnership and support as we do our utmost to serve you and your families at this time.

Stay well,

Rachel Speck

May 15, 2020

Moving into the yellow phase of Governor Wolf’s plan to reopen will mean some restrictions on work and social interaction are being lifted, but there is still some uncertainty around what our summer can look like.  We will keep you updated as camp operations come into greater focus, including health screening procedures, an adjusted daily schedule to allow for cleaning and sanitization, camper and staff arrival at camp, food preparation and service, large-group activities, out-of-camp trips, staff supervision of campers, specific activities being offered and any other modifications to our programs.  We plan to share this information no later than June 5th and we appreciate your patience as we comb through the guidance from the Centers for Disease & Prevention, American Camp Association (ACA), local health departments and other JCC day camp directors who are working through the same process we are.

Rachael Speck

May 4, 2020

Based on what we know at this point while also acknowledging the fluidity of the situation, we do not yet have sufficient information or guidance to make a final decision about summer 2020.

We remain committed to exploring every option and taking every precaution in order to make camp happen in a fun and inclusive way that keeps your children safe, healthy and happy.

Our camp leadership team has been working diligently to determine how we can best provide a summer experience that delivers on our promise to prepare kids for life’s journeys through connections, values, growth and fun.

For more information or to inquire about our summer 2020, please email or call Rachael Speck, JCC Day Camps Director, at or 412-697-3537.

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