COVID UPDATE – Monday, July 12, 2021 – We feel it is safe to host Week 7 (July 12-17), however, we want everyone to be aware of the circumstances. Currently, Northwest Arkansas is experiencing a rise in COVID-19 attributed to the Delta variant of the virus. During Week 5 of summer camp, we had seven summer staff members test positive for COVID-19. We sent the staff home to quarantine for 10 days. We told the remaining staff we were requiring them to stay on property for the weekend (4th of July) to mitigate spread of the virus for Week 6. It was difficult for our staff, but these measures were successful and we had no COVID positive staff for Week 6. During this past week (Week 6), the ministry to campers was highly successful and we had no campers or staff reporting signs and symptoms of COVID during the week. However, on Sunday, July 11th, we began getting texts from two churches who had a total of seven COVID positive campers. Sunday evening, we tested our unvaccinated summer staff and we had one COVID positive staff member. Our staff member was sent home to quarantine for 10 days.All summer, we have been implementing COVID protocols to help mitigate the spread of the virus but keep camp as normal as possible. We have been seating churches in separate groups during worship and at meals. We have been working to minimize the number of churches in one bunkhouse. For this week of camp, July 12-16, 2021, (Week 7), we are reducing the contact between our unvaccinated staff and campers. They will be required to wear masks while inside the dining hall, worship center and hub. All our staff will be eating meals outside, on the porch of the dining hall. They will all be sitting at the back of the worship center and cannot sit with campers.We believe that because of these measures, transmission from staff to campers has been minimal. In the last three weeks, 10 cases of COVID out of 1,900 guests – less than 1%, were reported to us from camper families that have been at Camp Siloam. As of today, we feel our measures to minimize the virus’ spread are effective. Week 7 will continue as planned.Please beware, if you or your camper is at high risk of complications from COVID-19 we recommend you not send them to Camp Siloam. Every family has had ample time to protect themselves from the virus via isolation, vaccination or masks and social distancing. The responsibility for protecting against the virus will be on the camper this week. Decision making in the pandemic is complex and dynamic. What is in place today may change tomorrow with new information. It is a challenge to balance safety, protecting the ministry, living life and honoring people. We are doing the best we can to be thoughtful and communicate well. Thank you for all your encouragement, understanding and support last week. If you have any questions for our office, please call 479-250-1865.