This weekend the President mentioned in his speech that camps are discouraged. This will have a severe impact on outdoor adventure camps and not to mention the wellbeing of our learners!
OUR KIDS NEED ALLES (ADVENTURE, LEADERSHIP, LIFESKILL, EDUCATION & SPORT) CAMPS AND TOURS MORE THAN EVER BEFORE!
Covid-19 has caused the SA Adventure-, Lifeskill-, Leadership-, Education- and Sport Camps-and-Tours to halt to an almost 100% stop. Department of Education officials in charge of approvals for the events, some HOD’s and other role players, advocate that these excursions are not safe and cannot be executed. All the scientific research has proven the statement of school camps not being a safe option during Covid-19, is false.
This situation is causing a humanitarian crisis with lively hoods being lost, with no income to buy basic food, medicine, basic utilities like electricity bills or even to attempt paying any financial institution on outstanding debts that have not been put on hold.
All other economic segments have been open as part of the Government’s recovery program, but School camps and Tours have been left one side and forgotten and forced not to function as normal business entities, even at lower quantity of learners attending camps.
We, the undersigned, call on public support and participation.
Department of Education officials in charge of approvals for the events, some HOD’s and other role players, advocate that these excursions are not safe and cannot be executed.
All the scientific research has proven the statement of school camps not being a safe option during Covid-19, is false. The science state the following: a. Learning should take place in outdoor spaces, fact – School camp programs are run outdoors in 95% of the cases. b. UV destroys the Covid-19 virus, fact – School camps are run in sunlight. c. Covid-19 cannot survive in high temperatures, fact – 75 % of School Camps in SA is situated in areas with day temperatures well above 25 degrees, with the rest running between 15 and 24 degrees (in the coldest seasons). d. Social distancing is key to limiting of the Covid-19 spread, fact – All camps are in the position to provide accommodation well below 50% capacity (much less than even currently allowed in School Hostels and boarding facilities) and activities have been developed within the clear guidance of minimum spaces of 1.5 meters apart from the next participant. e. Enforcement of Covid-19 protocols, fact – Strict School camp guidance and protocol documents were compiled in accordance with input from CDC, DBE SOP documentation, WHO and the American Camp Association Guidance on Covid-19 Protocol. School camps have their foundation in the principals of structured and controlled activities and environments at camp with the basis of the programs nestled within teaching children how to execute safe and responsible actions, so school camp is a perfect environment to teach correct skills in managing your personal Covid-19 protocol. f. Covid-19 caused a significant amount of children to experience trauma and depression, fact- School camps developed many outcome based programs focusing on social problems, like online bullying, abuse, victimization and trauma guidance. g. Children are encouraged during Covid-19 to be active and exercise , fact – School camp activities range from entry to high levels of physical participation, and all of this is done in controlled environments with camp staff ensuring that strict protocol guidance is executed during all activities.
The SA School and Church Camp industry consist officially of over 487 camps nationally, with a staff complement of 25 000 people. Most of the school camps have retrenched 80% of their staff complement as only a few were able to qualify for the UIF TERS benefits, with the expectation to re-instate all their staff as soon as camps are back to normal. The SA School camp industry also has not received any other financial assistance, as they do not qualify under any tourism grants and none were given under education (except in very limited cases some financial institutions providing a 3-5 month Covid-19 loan assistance from April 2020 to September 2020, which now cannot be repaid due the non-return of groups to school camps). Almost all the camps that were insured for business interruption did not get any payouts, as they did not qualify.
98% Of School camps are based in in the farming areas and are a significant provider of work and income to those areas,
This situation is causing a humanitarian crisis with lively hoods being lost, with no income to pay salaries, buy basic food, medicine, basic utilities like electricity bills or even to attempt paying any financial institution on outstanding debts that have not been put on hold.
We call on all South Africans to support our plight for approvals to take place, as no lawful or health risk reason can be provided for non-approval.
We as School camps are only asking to be given our civil right to earn an income with our businesses and our salaries, the same as any provider of services, like schools and public transport providers are currently earning.
It has taken us 92 years to build this industry into a sector that supports educational growth, advancement of youth experiential learning abilities, and have been bridge builders between cultural groups.
We the undersigned call on the Honorary President of South Africa, Department of Basic Education, Department of Sport and Recreation and Arts and Culture and various organizational, Unions and educational decision makers, to allow our schools to get back into the School camp and School Tour Educational Enrichment Programs. This will benefit not only the financial survival of our School camp industry, but also the emotional and physical well-being of the learners in need of our services.