CATSKILLS SUMMER CAMPS UPDATES: Letter From Town of Thompson Supervisor; Letter From Jewish Camp Operators

There are two important updates regarding the saga regarding the opening of camps this coming summer First is a letter from the Town of Thompson Supervisor, following by a letter from two days ago from the Association of Jewish Camp Operators in Sullivan County. LETTER FROM TOWN OF THOMPSON SUPERVISOR: May 7, 2020 Dear Neighbors and Friends: The Town of Thompson is monitoring the summer camp situation closely. Presently Empire State Development “ESD” does not list summer camps as an “Essential Service” and therefore they cannot operate under Gov. Cuomo’s State of Emergency. It should be noted that while operation of summer camps is currently prohibited by the State, construction at summer camps is allowed as an essential service. Summer camps are regulated and permitted by the NYS Department of Health, not the local municipalities. Under NYS law the NYS DOH is the “Authority Having Jurisdiction” (AHJ) and we, local officials, cannot overrule their decisions, regulations or rulings. It is my understanding that there have been social media posts directing concerned citizens to call their Town Supervisors. They might be better served by expressing their concerns additionally to our State representatives and the NYS Health Department since they make the final decision. Should the NYS DOH ultimately decide to allow summer camps to operate, they should do so only with a clear and enforceable plan to protect the campers and staff, our year round and seasonal residents, and protect our limited resources at Catskill Regional Medical Center. The DOH should move with the utmost of caution and make decisions based on medical science, not emotions or political pressure. William J. Rieber, Jr. Town of Thompson Supervisor 845-794-2500 Ext. 306 LETTER FROM ASSOCIATION OF JEWISH CAMP OPERATORS IN SULLIVAN COUNTY: Respected Representatives, We hope all is well with you and your families. We hope that we can together overcome this terrible challenge. We are writing you to request that Sullivan County representatives understand the overnight camp plans for operation this summer, and not send a letter to Governor Cuomo requesting that overnight camps not be allowed to operate in Sullivan County this summer. Camps will be run differently this summer. We are interested in the safety and welfare of all our campers and staff, and plan to run camp completely differently this summer. As can be seen from the attached DRAFT guidelines, each and every camper and staff member will be tested prior to their coming to camp. Once in camp, we will enforce a full and complete lockdown in addition to implementing a regimen of well checks in our daily schedule: • No out-of-camp trips • No visiting day • Staff will not be permitted to leave camp on their day off Overnight camps are unique in that we CAN enforce a full and total lockdown. Additionally, we will not have any dual use facility – AJCO overnight camps that have a day camp are seriously considering canceling their day camps for this summer. Many of the campers and staff that are in our camps have families with second homes or bungalows. If there is no sleep away camp, there will be thousands of youth with unstructured time on their hands roaming the Catskills. If, G-d forbid, there is any kind of COVID19 outbreak, local health facilities will not be … Continue reading CATSKILLS SUMMER CAMPS UPDATES: Letter From Town of Thompson Supervisor; Letter From Jewish Camp Operators