April 18, 2021
Dear TAF Family,
For forty years now, the Taiwanese American community has placed its trust in us to provide a safe environment for our youth to grow into confident leaders. Last summer, we re-envisioned TAF as a digital space, bringing folks together using new technologies while keeping the same spirit of TAF love as our foundation.
After more than a year of loss and isolation, children have missed out on many of the social, emotional, and developmental opportunities that usually take place in schools, family gatherings, community events, and even just playtime with friends. In some aspects, it is our youth who have sacrificed the most to keep the rest of us safe, as data strongly shows that 5-17 year olds are by far the lowest risk age group for COVID-19, experiencing slightly lower rates of hospitalization even compared to fully vaccinated adults. It is vital to TAF’s mission and vision that we build a safe space in which our campers can again begin to explore the social relationships that bring meaning to our lives.
We are preparing to bring TAF 2021 back in-person to Manchester University from July 25 through August 1 (though the possibility of a pivot towards an online-only model remains, as we are constantly re-evaluating public health trends). Reuniting with the safety of our community as our top priority will require new levels of diligence and creativity. Even if we see each other again this year, every element of the TAF experience will have to be reevaluated.
In consultation with President Ho Chie Tsai and Medical Director Karena Lin Woo, we are developing a TAF 2021 COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan in the event that prevailing public health conditions allow us to reconvene. This plan will reflect the latest data, and best practices on operating an in-person sleepaway camp this year, as determined by guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Camp Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Manchester University, and state public health authorities. We will only invite our TAF family back to an in-person camp if we are confident in our ability to protect everyone, and we empower all members of our community to give their feedback.
Here are some of the measures we will be taking:
- All conference attendees will be asked to securely share additional health information at registration. Everyone will be screened for symptoms at bus stops (if applicable), upon arrival on campus, and in the mornings before leaving their dorm rooms. All TAF participants are highly encouraged to become fully vaccinated, if eligible, before attending camp. Our same recommendation extends to TAF parents and any other household members. The sooner, the better.
- Mask wearing, social distancing, and sanitation/hygiene best practices will be strictly enforced according to guidelines. Additional staff, training, and resources will be dedicated specifically to our enhanced COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols.
- If you or anyone you know may be able to volunteer as a member of our COVID-19 Compliance Team or our Medical Team (even part time as part of a remote work situation from TAF or at our bus stops), please let us know regardless of qualifications.
- We will be operating at half capacity out of Manchester University’s facilities. This includes eating and housing arrangements; everyone may have their own room, though bathroom facilities may still be shared.
- Our traditional small group structure will be used throughout the week, as smaller cohorts (aka pods) have been shown to reduce risks of transmission. Large group interactions will be limited in comparison to past years.
- Anyone showing signs of illness will be immediately put into our isolation and testing protocol, with parents being notified and asked to come pick up their children depending on test results and symptoms shown. Any close contacts will also be immediately traced and put into protocol.
- We will be considering ways to broadcast the scope of our programming to be inclusive of those in our community who may not be able to physically join TAF.
- Knowing the economic impact COVID-19 has had on many of our families, we are committing ourselves to keeping TAF’s registration fees as low as possible, even though our operating costs will be increasing. We thank everyone who has supported TAF with your time and your donations for making this possible.
We hope this plan of action inspires both confidence and commitment within you, as we once again ask for your trust and support in joining TAF. We care deeply about your own comfort and safety, so please help us plan by reading through our FAQ and responding to this survey before Monday, April 26. Your answers will help guide our planning as we prepare to open registration around mid-to-late May. For though the path may yet be uncertain, our destination of a healthy TAF 2021 filled with joy and love is within sight.
Please look forward to further updates from us soon, and for any questions or concerns please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vince Huang, Executive Director
Shannon Sung, Operations Director
Andrea Lin, Conference Director