WHY IS JROB CANCELING ALL 2020 CAMPS?
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EFFECTIVE APRIL 28, 2020: JROB Intensive Wrestling Camps has made the difficult decision to cancel all 2020 camps. We will resume normal operations in 2021. Though government officials in many locales have not yet explicitly banned large-scale gatherings through the summer, we are proactively canceling camps because we do not believe we, nor any other camp, can create a safe environment for wrestlers in the midst of the pandemic. Our decision was made due to the following factors:
Social DistancingSocial distancing guidelines cannot be followed in the sport of wrestling. It requires constant, close contact with other athletes involving sweat, saliva, and blood. Social distancing also cannot be practiced in close-quartered living situations such as college dormitories.
IT ONLY TAKES ONEWe are not willing to take the risk that even one camper or staff member becomes infected with COVID-19 at our camps. Aside from the immediate concern for the infected person/s and those the infection may have spread to, we would be required to inform all parents immediately of the situation and organize safe travel back for every camper. This is of particular concern for those who flew and do not have return tickets until the last day of camp. Immediate, large-scale coordination like that is logistically impossible.
COMMUNITY SPREAD UPON RETURN HOMEGiven current age-related statistics, if a wrestler or wrestlers became infected at camp, they would likely be asymptomatic or show only mild symptoms. This could accelerate the spread at camp, which would then lead to infected, asymptomatic wrestlers returning to hometowns across the country and potentially infecting others, including older people and those with compromised immune systems.
LOGISTICS AND LEAD TIMEEven if the COVID-19 situation markedly improved by June or July, we would not have enough lead time to find new facilities, hire staff, rent wrestling mats, purchase medical equipment, etc. These are huge tasks even during a normal year when we start preparing camp supplies in February or March.
testingEven if a camper tested negative for COVID-19 prior to the beginning of camp, they may interact with others (family, service workers, airline staff, etc.) while traveling to camp. As a result, we would need to test every camper immediately upon arrival. Universal access to testing is not currently available, particularly for adolescents who are considered extremely low priority for tests, so this is not possible. We would also need access to a nearby laboratory with sufficient capacity to turn around hundreds of tests immediately. Currently, most labs need a minimum of two days to turn around COVID-19 test results. There are rapid-test options on the market, but these are not yet widely available. Also, because wrestlers interact with many people other than just fellow campers—university dining staff, dorm staff, townspeople, etc.—camp does not take place in a fully closed environment and a wrestler could become infected or infect others. Because of this, we would need to continue testing each camper throughout camp, perhaps daily.
CONTACT TRACINGIf one wrestler becomes infected, determining who they were exposed to during camp would not be possible.
VACCINEThe most optimistic forecast for vaccine approval/roll-out suggests that it won't be publicly available for 12-18 months.
ANTIBODY TESTSAntibody tests are not widely available nor at an acceptable level of accuracy. Thus, we could not trust them to show that campers are immune, nor can any medical or science professional say at this time that "immunity" would prevent a second infection. The FDA fast-tracked as many as 70 different antibody tests without full vetting, many of which have now been proven ineffective.
SMALL TOWN HOSPITALSWith a few exceptions, our camps are held primarily in small towns. A surge of COVID-19 cases from our camp could overwhelm their already thin health care resources.
LOCATION OF CAMP DOESN'T MATTEREven if our camp was held in a state with a low infection rate, campers will still be traveling from across the country to attend. Thus, the state-specific situation is of no consequence.
DisinfectionThere is currently no guidance from health officials on protocols for cleaning wrestling mats that may harbor COVID-19. Even if there was, we may not have the equipment, disinfectants, and expertise necessary to implement the cleaning procedures.
STRESSAdolescents are currently experiencing unprecedented stress and anxiety from the last several months of isolation and disruption of their normal social and educational lives. Therefore, it is likely that many have compromised immune systems. The physical and mental stress of camp may cause other unintended new problems.
LIABILITYOur insurance company will not give us assurances that we will be covered in the event that a camper becomes infected at camp.
leadershipWe are proud to have earned the trust of so many parents over the last 42 years through our uncompromising commitment to excellence and safety. With many athletic camps still telling customers they will operate as normal this summer, it is time for a prominent company like ours to lead the way by canceling all 2020 camps. We hope other companies will follow our lead. Simply put, nothing is more important than the safety of your children, and we stand behind our decision knowing it was made with them in mind.
This will be the first summer since our founding in 1978 that we will not hold camps. We understand how upsetting this is to the wrestlers and families who have been planning for JROB 2020 camps for months—years, in some cases—and we are profoundly saddened that we have had to make this decision. On behalf of owners J Robinson and Sue Rubens, JROB full-time office staff, and seasonal counselors and trainers—we will be back in 2021! Please stay safe, be responsible, and we look forward to guiding your summer workouts with the JROB+ virtual training program.