COVID-Specific Frequently Asked Questions

We're thrilled to return to in-person for SMA 2021, but know that many questions about health and safety precautions are on your mind. This is where we'll try to answer as many as possible! More information will be added as we go.

COVID Safety Protocol

A variety of changes have been made to our programming to mitigate the risk of COVID spread at SMA, which you can learn more about in the pages within the SMA website.

Other significant precautions that are being taken include:

  • Obtain a PCR diagnostic COVID-19 test at home and test negative within 72 hours of traveling to Ithaca. This will be at families' cost. Campers may not travel to Ithaca if they test positive.
  • Participants will be tested upon arrival as part of the Check-In Process.
  • Depending upon New York State guidelines for overnight camps, and the prevalence of COVID within the community at the time, participants may also be required to test a second time during the week.
    • At this time, there will not be exceptions for vaccinated individuals. However, as the CDC guidance will likely change as more individuals become vaccinated, we will provide updates to this policy as more information becomes available. 
  • Daily Health Screening Questionnaire, given by Camp Counselors.
  • Appropriate social distancing and mask wearing requirements.

Quarantine and isolation facilities for minors are not available at Ithaca College. Minors who test positive must isolate and individuals identified as close contacts must quarantine under public health orders and will not be permitted to do so at Ithaca College. Families will be required to retrieve their child within the same business day in the event of a positive test, or if they are named as a close contact and are subject to quarantine. Your child will be temporarily relocated to Emerson Hall or a location designated by the college and will be under the supervision of our Care Manager staff or other college personnel while awaiting pickup by family.

Families should be aware that the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) is the final decision-maker on the completion of isolation and quarantine. Families will be required to take their children home to complete isolation or quarantine.

To clarify, Ithaca College is not responsible for the isolation and quarantine of minors in the event of a positive test or being named as a close contact, or any costs that families may incur in completing isolation or quarantine. The TCHD will work with each family to plan safe transport of the child back home. This will include education on traveling safely (i.e., a private car will be required) and traveling to their destination without exposing others (i.e., public transportation such as airplanes and buses are not permitted, and minimal stops are required).

In addition, TCHD will notify the appropriate health department at the destination location to continue with follow up. If the family member retrieving the child is not vaccinated, traveling in a car with a positive case will result in being named a close contact and a requirement to quarantine upon returning home.

Contact tracing will also take place within our camp to ensure that any close contacts can be tested and monitored as needed.

Further guidance may come from the Governor's office in the weeks ahead, resulting in minor shifts to the above. This information will be updated as more guidance comes through.

No: Campers will not be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the start of camp. However, we do strongly recommend that eligible campers consider receiving the vaccine with their family to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.

→ Learn more about the COVID-19 Vaccine (CDC)

COVID Testing

Campers who have completed their COVID-19 vaccination process (defined as two weeks after the final dose of their vaccine series) and have uploaded their completed card to their SMA account do not need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken prior to arrival.

All other campers who have not yet completed their COVID-19 vaccination process must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken within 72 hours of arrival to camp. This test is to be completed at the family's expense.

Per recent updates to Ithaca College protocol, campers will not need to be tested during SMA. In the event of a positive case, contact tracing may require testing, but surveillance testing will no longer be required for campers during SMA.

Music-Making & Aerosol Safety

Since the School of Music resumed in-person instruction for the Spring 2021 semester, we've had a chance to refine our efforts to make music with lessened risk for aerosol spread. Some of these efforts include:

  • Distancing in ensemble performance adhering to recommendations by the CDC and music-specific studies.
  • Taking advantage of opportunities to rehearse outdoors.
  • Masking and social distancing requirements.
  • Instrument-specific PPE required.
  • Mandatory "cycle time" in the hall, which is built into the schedule, to ensure that the air filtration system is able to run a full cycle of air through rehearsal and practice spaces.
  • Individual air purification units in smaller spaces, following similar "cycle time" requirements as above.

PPE requirements will vary by instrument. More specifics will be available in the days ahead.

If you're interested in ordering PPE in advance, the Hickeys Music Store in downtown Ithaca has an excellent selection of musician-specific Face Masks & PPE.

This year, we are thrilled to be partnering with Electrify Your Symphony to help produce our music video project! To avoid the health and safety concerns of broader scale recording projects, all parts will be recorded individually, then brought together to make a final music video project featuring our campers!

Electrify Your Symphony is a music education organization founded by Mark Wood (Violinist, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) to create unique musical experiences for participants, and build energy around music education across the country.

This year, all concert performances will be streamed for families to view online! You can view your camper's performance on the Ithaca College School of Music YouTube channel, where it will be featured at the top of the page.

Performances can be viewed at the following times:

  • HS Week 1 Concert: Saturday, July 17 @ 1:00 PM
  • HS Performance Track Recital: Thursday, July 22 @ 8:00 PM
  • HS Week 2 Concert: Saturday, July 24 @ 8:00 PM
  • INT Concert: Saturday, July 31 @ 8:00 PM

Residential Life

Housing, meals, and beyond!

Similar to prior summers, all campers will stay in a dorm building on-campus at Ithaca College. We organize housing in dorms by gender identity.

Unique to SMA 2021, all campers will be placed in single-occupancy rooms. This is an Ithaca College policy to reduce potential transmission risk between roommates.

Campers will live on-floor with their Counselor group – an assigned group of approximately 8 campers. That way, if they ever need to see their counselor, they won't have to look too hard!

Each floor of each dorm wing has its own bathroom space, which will be used by the campers in that hall. The bathrooms will be accessible as they have in the past without sign-outs required, though masks will still need to be worn unless brushing teeth or using the shower.

To ensure clean, safe spaces, IC Facilities Staff will continue cleaning in all residence hall bathroom spaces once per day.

Unfortunately, since all campers will be in single rooms, we will not be able to accommodate roommate requests for SMA 2021. If you would like to have your camper in a counselor group with another friend, please contact us at SMA@ithaca.edu.

Similar to prior summers, all campers will eat meals prepared by the Ithaca College Dining Hall throughout the duration.

Unique to SMA 2021, all meals will be served from the dining hall into eco-friendly, reusable take-out containers. Campers will go through a "buffet" with a staff member building their to-go box with food, as well as providing campers with a beverage.

From there, campers will be able to eat in spaces in our Campus Center building; in outdoor, open-air tents; or in their dorm building with their counselor group. The containers are then brought back for full sanitization before reuse.

Ithaca College dorm room beds are size Twin XL. This size is typically available in stores like WalMart, Target, and more.

Have a question that isn't included above?

Send it our way! We know there are many questions on your mind, and we're here to help. We look forward to hearing from you soon.