Here are frequently asked questions and answers about novel COVID-19 and coronavirus for students traveling to Newsroom by the Bay for summer 2020. If you don’t find the answer you’re seeking, please don’t hesitate to email us at newsroombythebay@gmail.com.

Note: This page is updated as information becomes available.

Are you planning for Newsroom by the Bay to take place this summer?

Yes — currently it’s all systems go for our Summer 2020 session, June 28 to July 11. We continue to accept applications, hire staff and plans for field trips and guest speakers.

However, like other summer programs we are continuing to monitor the coronavirus situation as it develops. That includes keeping abreast of developing news, state and local public health alerts, current advice from public health authorities and updates from Stanford on coronavirus-related requirements.

Closer to camp, depending on how the coronavirus situation develops, and based on guidance from Stanford and local public health authorities, there could be changes to some scheduled activities. Communicating with families and students is a priority. We’ll keep you informed of any developments.

What specifically are you doing to address the possibility of coronavirus at camp?  

We’ll continue our existing focus on health and safety — but keep watch on coronavirus developments, require more health information from campers, plan ahead for contingencies and keep our parent and student community informed.

As a summer camp entering our 10th year, we already employ best practices to prevent illnesses from being shared. They include frequent hand-washing, easy access to soap and hand sanitizers, wiping down surfaces such as computer keyboards and regular health check-ins with campers.

In our program office, we stock over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, thermometers, gloves and other emergency medical items. Each team leader carries a first aid kit at all times, and each student receives a plastic water bottle for her/his personal use.

For this summer, we’ll bolster these practices and resources as the CDC and other public health authorities recommend.

We’re also updating our registration packet to ask about pre-camp travel and possible exposure to COVID-19. We will suggest that campers get flu shots if they haven’t already done so. And we are working with Stanford on plans for rapidly reporting, isolating and arranging for medical care for students who develop cold or flu-like symptoms.

While coronavirus risk is concerning, according to the Association of Camp Nurses, the flu “currently poses more risk” to camper health and safety. We’re also glad that our program start of June 28 gives us more time than some other summer programs to prepare. 

I’m making travel plans for my student. How can I recoup this cost if s/he is unable to travel?

You may want to look for airlines that are taking steps to accommodate uncertainty ahead. This March 10 article in The Washington Post reported on airlines that are offering flexible travel policies and/or waiving cancellation or change fees for upcoming travel.

You may also want to consider third-party travel insurance. Typically, this must be purchased along with or shortly after you make your travel plans. This March 4 article in The New York Times‘ Parenting section explains “cancel for any reason” policies that provide refunds of up to 75%. The article mentions Squaremouth, TravelInsurance.com and InsureMyTrip among websites that can help you compare policies.

What is your refund policy in case of cancellation?

Accepted students have until May 1, 2020, to cancel and receive a refund of NBTB’s program fee (not the application fee) minus the transaction charge incurred depending on the type of payment (Intuit Quickbooks or PayPal). Because the number of program participants is limited, and because we pay program costs in advance of our program start to Stanford University and these costs are non-refundable, we cannot refund program fees after May 1.

My student applied and was accepted prior to March 1.  But due to coronavirus news, we needed more time to make a decision. Can we still get the early discount?

We understand — and the answer is yes: If your student applied and was accepted prior to March 1, we will honor the $500 discount for residential students through May 1.  The alumni discount of $500 for returning residential students also applies through May 1.

What type of medical information and health insurance will you require this summer?

The registration packet we already send to all accepted students in April includes a detailed medical emergency form with questions about your student’s health and known medical conditions, prescription and/or over-the-counter medications, and special dietary and/or other needs. We also ask for the name of your health insurance provider and policy numbers, contact information for your student’s doctor and any specialists, and an authorization for emergency medical treatment in case we cannot reach a parent or guardian.

For summer 2020, we’ll update this packet and our health screening procedures in line with current advice from public health authorities. Among other additions, this will include questions about international travel in the past two weeks or exposure to any known carriers of the coronavirus.

What if my student becomes ill and s/he does not have health insurance in the U.S.?

Especially in light of current coronavirus risk, we require proof of health insurance for our students. Neither NBTB nor Stanford offer health insurance to students in our program. We take students who are ill or injured to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and/or the nearest appropriate medical facility. If immediate treatment is required, this may include ambulance and/or emergency services. These costs are solely the responsibility of the student’s parents/guardians. Squaremouth and InternationalStudent.com offer a selection of international travel medical insurance policies.

What if my student suddenly comes down with cold, flu or possible coronavirus symptoms prior to camp? What if my student has been knowingly exposed to COVID-19? 

If your student has symptoms of fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, and/or your student has been knowingly exposed to COVID-19, keep your student at home and contact us immediately.

Depending on current advice from local public health authorities and consultation with Stanford, we may or may not be able to accommodate a delayed arrival. We are also designing some remote learning opportunities for accepted students who plan to come to us but cannot due to last-minute coronavirus-related travel and/or health concerns.

What will you do if my student arrives at camp or comes down with cold, flu or possible coronavirus symptoms, at camp? What happens if my student’s roommate comes down with these symptoms?

The answer to this question is developing. Currently, Stanford says that it will require that summer camp students who exhibit symptoms of fever, cough and/or shortness of breath to be sent home. For residential students who cannot immediately depart campus, we expect to have more information from Stanford in coming weeks regarding isolation policies and emergency response. We are also working on our health screening and response plan and will communicate this as soon as possible. 

What about commuting to NBTB? Is that an option?

In addition to students who commute to us from their homes in the Stanford area, we often have students from across the U.S. and overseas who come to us as commuters, staying with local family or with parents who decide to vacation in or near Palo Alto. Students who want to attend our program but would prefer not to be a residential student may want to explore this option.

Commuter students enjoy all of the same classes, newsroom opportunities, field trips and evening activities as other students. They are required to be on campus no later than 8 a.m. for the morning chalk talk, to check out any camp equipment daily and to leave no later than 10 p.m., when the residential bedcheck begins.

My student is coming to NBTB from overseas. What should international students do?

All camp participants and their families must monitor and comply with U.S. government travel alerts regarding COVID-19, including restrictions on travel. Student campers, plus their families, friends and any visitors must also monitor and comply with Stanford’s alerts and restrictions on access to campus, which may include a 14-day self-isolation period prior to beginning NBTB. In order to participate in camp, on arrival students must not exhibit symptoms associated with coronavirus, such as fever, cough and/or shortness of breath.

As of March 4, foreign nationals who have traveled to China or Iran within 14 days immediately prior to their arrival in the U.S. are barred from entry. Travelers from South Korea and Italy are required to undergo enhanced screening.

David Pekoske, head of the Transportation Security Administration, testified at a Senate hearing on March 3 that more countries will face travel restrictions “soon.” But keep in mind that these restrictions may or may not apply as of travel in late June.

Help — I’m overwhelmed. As a NBTB camper/parent, what can I consult to keep up with coronavirus news?

There are a few pieces to this puzzle, including travel alerts, international and U.S. public health information, and local news about coronavirus in the Stanford area.

Here below are some websites and news organizations that may help you stay informed:

  • Travel alerts may be found at the top of the U.S. State Department’s website. International SOS has a comprehensive list of travel restrictions by country.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Situation Summary and the World Health Organization’s Coronavirus disease outbreak page track coronavirus cases and offer advice on staying healthy at home and while traveling.
  • Click here for CDC guidelines released March 10 on keeping workplaces and schools safe.
  • Click here for advice as of March 12 from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • For summer camps, campers and families, the American Camp Association’s coronavirus page and the Association of Camp Nursing’s Coronavirus Disease information sheet offer specific guidance.
  • For updates on local conditions, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department monitors and reports on coronavirus cases and also has guidelines for schools and students in the Stanford area.
  • Stanford’s Health Alerts website includes information on campus-related coronavirus developments.

 

 

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