State Camp Safety Advisory Council (SCSAC), October 14, 2010, Meeting Minutes

Roll Call

Members Present

  • Eric Bacon
  • George G. Coleman
  • Jordan Dale
  • Dawn Ewing
  • Gordon Felt
  • Douglas Pierce
  • Robert Scheinfeld
  • Patricia Skinner

Members Absent

  • Judith Reilly (participated by phone)

Department of Health Staff Present

  • Michael Cambridge
  • Douglas Sackett
  • Timothy Shay
  • Diana Yang, Division of Legal Affairs
  • Elizabeth Rausch-Phung, Bureau of Immunization
  • Cynthia Shulte, Bureau of Immunization
  • James Maurer
  • Edward D'Alessio

Chairperson Jordan Dale called the meeting to order at 10:32 a.m. in the, 4th floor conference room, 547 River Street, Troy, New York. Mr. Shay called the roll; Judith Reilly participated by phone. A quorum was present.

Mr. Shay introduced new Council member Eric Bacon, Director of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Camillus, recently appointed to the Council to serve as a representative of municipal camps, and announced the re-appointments of Doug Pierce and Gordon Felt, both representatives of for-profit children's camps. The Council members welcomed Mr. Bacon to the Council.

The minutes from the April 20, 2010, SCSAC meeting were unanimously approved.

Mr. Shay announced the retirements of Department of Health (DOH) staff, Richard (Dick) Svenson, Director of the Division of Environmental Health Protection; Bruce Philips, Division of Legal Affairs (DLA) attorney assigned to the Council; and Felix (Phil) Mrozak, Principal Sanitarian working in the children's camp program. New DOH appointments/assignments include Vic Pisani, replacing Mr. Svenson as the Director of the Division of Environmental Health Protection, Diana Yang, replacing Mr. Philips as DLA attorney assigned to the Council, and Ed D'Alessio, Public Health Sanitarian working in the Children's Camp program.

The Council accepted a request to move the DOH Bureau of Immunization presentation on Vaccine Preventable Diseases ahead of other agenda items.

Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Raush-Phung and Cynthia Schulte from the DOH Bureau of Immunization presented information on an ongoing mumps outbreak, which originated in 2009 at a children's camp in NYS, and actions taken by the Department to prepare and respond to cases of mumps at camps this year. The Council was asked to provide feedback/comments on a document titled "Procedures for Handling Vaccine-Preventable Disease at Camp" which was distributed to camp operators and health directors prior to the 2010 season to help prevent and identify an illness outbreak at a camp and limit its impact. The Council suggested distributing the information to other groups; to distribute this and other guidance to camp operators by email; limiting the information to preventive measures, what to report, and problems with delayed reporting; making the recommendations in the guidance requirements; and providing information about which countries do not routinely provide vaccinations.

Department staff responded that the guidance and past outbreaks will be evaluated to determine if actions are needed. The benefits to having and transmitting information by email to camp operators will be stressed to local heath departments (LHDs). In addition, the Department is trying to assess the 6-foot separation requirements in bunks to determine its effectiveness and implementation. The Council was asked to keep the separation requirement in mind as a possible future discussion topic and when assessing illnesses at their own camp.

Status of Amendments to Subpart 7-2 of the NYS Sanitary Code

Department staff reported on the status of the proposed amendments to Subpart 7-2. The final rule-making package is now at the Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform (GORR) where it has two levels of review prior to being posted in the State Register for a 45 day public comment period. February 23, 2011 is the earliest date the amendments could be adopted. A later adoption date may occur depending on the time needed by GORR to review and/or comment. Public comment could result in the proposal being revised and resubmitted.

The Council discussed the importance of getting information out to camp operators as soon as possible to notify them of the proposed amendments and implementation. Mr. Shay stated that the Department has sent the proposed amendments to everyone on the DOH children's camp interested parties list including but not limited to children's camp organizations such as the American Camp Association, NYS Camp Directors Association, and Boy/Girl Scouts. The department conducted outreach to the Associations of Counties and Towns, Conference of Mayors, and NYS Recreation and Parks Society. In addition, the Department will be presenting on the proposed amendments at the Association of New York Youth Bureaus conference in November.

Mr. Scheinfeld expressed concern that day programs with swimming as their only activity with a significant risk for injury are not regulated as camps under the current proposal. The Council discussed swimming and other activities that may not be regulated by the current proposal based on Department's Draft Day Camp Program Activities Fact Sheet. The Council established a committee to provide recommendations to the Department about categorizing activities on the Day Camp Program Activities Fact Sheet. Mr. Dale, Mr. Felt, Mrs. Reilly, and Mr. Scheinfeld volunteered to be on the committee. Mr. Shay will be the Department's representative.

In response to a request from the Council at the last meeting, the Department evaluated the actions necessary to incorporate into the proposed amendments a requirement for all camps to participate in the Epi-pen program. Department staff reported that adding the requirement would have delayed the proposed regulations because of the need to assess the impact on local governments and justify the need for the cost to regulated parties. The Department will address this issue after the current amendments have been passed.

Amusement Devices at Children's Camps

Mr. Shay discussed the Departments plan to have LHDs survey camp operators about amusement devices at camps in order to assess the number and types of devices currently operated by camps. No changes have been made to regulatory oversight of these devices at this time.

New Business

Preliminary Overview of the 2010 Camp Season

Mr. Shay gave an overview of the major incidents of the 2010 camp season. The Bureau is currently working to process and categorize the incident data and will summarize the data in charts, graphs and a narrative report similar to previous years. During the 2010 season there was 1 camp-related fatality associated with a medical event.

Bed Bugs

As a result of an infestation of bed bugs at a children's camp this past season, Mr. Scheinfeld inquired if the Council thought a guidance document or regulations to protect campers was needed. Mr. Cambridge responded that bed bugs are not known to spread disease, but misuse of pesticides is a potential problem. He stated that bed bugs have been problematic this year throughout the State at hotels/motels, private residences and elsewhere and the Department will be providing guidance, which will be applicable to children's camp. The guidance will be available prior to next year's camp season.

Public Comments

Mr. Dale asked for comments from the audience. Audience member, Mr. DeSantis brought up the issue of hot water temperatures at camps and the apparent discrepancy between Subpart 7-2 and the Uniform Code for minimum temperatures. Mr. Shay stated that he was aware of an inconsistency and would look into it. Mr. Dale asked that this issue be put on the agenda for the next Council meeting.

Next Meeting/Adjournment

Mr. Scheinfeld proposed adding an agenda topic for the upcoming meeting regarding the minimum qualifications needed to oversee a boating activity.

Ms. Yang advised the Council that in accordance with the Open Meeting Law, Council members cannot discuss Council business outside of the Council's official meetings/committees, including by email, with two or more members at a time. In addition, although not prohibited, it is not recommended that members have one on one communications outside of meetings. When replying to information provided or requested by the Department, Council members should only respond to the Department and not copy other members. Mr. Dale stated that in the past the Council was advised that the Open Meeting Laws did not apply to this Council. Ms. Yang stated that they do. The Council was only given a waiver for meeting the web casting requirements.

The Council adjourned at 1:18 PM after tentatively scheduling the next Council meeting for Wednesday, April 27, 2011.