Dear CSKH Camper Parent (or Guardian):
Out of consideration for the safety of your child and the health of our employees, we have come to the hard decision to cancel Summer 2020 camp in Katy, Sugar Land, and our Bellaire/Houston locations. We are very disappointed about sharing this news with you and were hoping the Open Texas Plan would quickly generate favorable actions for Summer Camps. Please know our decision has not been easy given all the changing COVID-19 news and developments. This notice provides rationale about our decision with options and next steps for Summer 2020.
Rationale for Summer 2020 Camp Cancellation
- Texas, federal, and varied parental expectations for maintaining a safe environment for our campers and employees seems too broad and inconsistent. Given that we advocate and model curious, engaged, collaborative Science, the guidelines infer that hands-on science, and student, parent, and camp counselor interactions that shape our business would be highly limited. Further, we cannot guarantee that campers will not contract or pass the COVID – 19 virus to others. While we have seriously thought about and researched the range of expectations that we would need to meet after viewing protocols from (and talking with) other businesses, the thought of:
- enforcing social distancing during camper classes, recess, and lunch
- possibly (requiring) the wearing of masks for all attendees including employees,
- incessantly requiring and reminding all campers and employees to wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds
- requesting parents (who may be caring for elderly loved ones) to closely follow specific drop-off and pick-up routines to limit contact
- declining to send home camper projects for fear they may spread COVID-19 to a camper’s home
- thermo-scanning all children (and parents during Monday check-in) for fever
- requiring a signature on additional waivers of liability
- canceling our interactive Family Day
- requiring ONLY packaged foods for child lunches
- and instituting daily cleaning/sanitation protocols with harsh antibacterial cleaners does not seem like a fun, engaging, lively, curiosity-laden Summer of Science camp.
- Our campsites have indicated either closure or suspension of large gatherings until further notice. Additionally, the surrounding school districts of Houston, Katy, Alief, and Fort Bend are closed.
- Unlike previous years, our camps have yet to reach capacity. This means we are unable to hire the required number of camp counselors and directors, pay for advertised camp supplies, renew our insurance and pay our summer lease deposits. Like many small businesses, much of the collected registrations have been used to pay for marketing, business maintenance/utility expenses, and salaries of essential employees. These expenses will not allow us to offer full refunds.
- Most parents are opting to keep their children home as indicated by the number of registrations we received in March and April, as compared to other operating years. Significant numbers of parents stopped registering in late February. We suspect and have gathered that most families have cut back on spending, much like ours, because of the uncertainty of the financial landscape. While our sites could decide to open in June or July, we cannot anticipate such operations because we have yet to receive minimal numbers to do so. Just like you, we hoped things would take a turn for the better and we would begin receiving registrations that would indicate that we should proceed. At this time, we have not received such registrations. We view parental actions as an indicator that the risk is too great for children, our campers, and our employees and family.
Options for Summer 2020 Camp
Club SciKidz Houston began operating in Summer 2016 and has grown steadily. We are a very small franchise of an Atlanta-based company. In light of COVID – 19 developments, we are pivoting like many small businesses and have an answer for these challenging times. We are now able to provide a Camp-in-a-box or two other options in lieu of a full refund (for reasons listed above):
- Receipt of TWO (2) Camp-in-a-box sets (for a total of 4 boxes) – where each set of boxes contain 2 – 4 weeks of hands-on activities, a color guide, and links to videos and pre-scheduled virtual demonstrations.
- Full 100% credit with an additional $25 – to be held in your Club SciKidz Houston account and used as early as December 2020 (when the Summer 2021 camp season posts) through July 15, 2023 – you can also transfer the registration to another child.
- Donation of your camp registration to the Catalyst Science Scholarship Program – your child would receive an interactive project that can be mailed to your home or picked up at a designated location as a huge thank you! Each year the Catalyst Science Scholarship Program offers free Club SciKidz Houston camps to local schools and individual families.
Next steps to activate ONE (1) option
We are living during unprecedented times and the news changes daily. We hope our honesty is a testament to our willingness to continue to serve your family and our campers – we love what we do and can (with your help) return in Summer 2021. Please email your choice by May 18 so that we can have time to adequately prepare for your selection. We anticipate being able to distribute boxes as early as June 15.
With the hope of safety, health, and happiness for your family,
The Club SciKidz Houston Team and Family