State Camp Safety Advisory Council, December 15, 2011, Meeting Minutes

Roll Call

Members Present

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

Members Absent

  • Gordon Felt

Department of Health Staff Present

  • Michael Cambridge
  • Douglas Sackett
  • Timothy Shay
  • Diana Yang
  • James Maurer
  • Edward D'Alessio

Call to Order

Chairperson Jordan Dale called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.m., at the University of Albany, School of Public Health, George Education Center, Auditorium, Rensselaer, New York . Mr. Shay called the roll. Gordon Felt and Doug Pierce were not in attendance, and there was one vacant position. A quorum was present. Douglas Pierce arrived at 11:00 a.m.


Mr. Shay announced the resignation of Council member Judith Reilly, Vice-Chairperson.

As specified in the Council's Bylaws, the annual elections for Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson were held. Jordan Dale was re-elected Council Chairperson and Mr. Coleman was elected Vice-Chairperson.

Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the October 14, 2010 SCSAC meeting were unanimously approved.

Mr. Cambridge acknowledged that the spring Council meeting was cancelled by the Department due to the Department's priority of finalizing the amendments to Subpart 7-2 of the State Sanitary Code. Mr. Cambridge also acknowledged and thanked Mr. Dale for his efforts to reschedule the meeting.

Old Business

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

Mr. Cambridge reported that the amendments to Subpart 7-2 became effective on July 6, 2011; however, the late timing made it impractical for the amendments to be implemented for the 2011 season. The Department is moving ahead with implementation for the 2012 season. Mr. Dale commented that he had been informed the Department would not be moving forward with the proposed Day Camp Program Activities Fact Sheet to identify activities with a significant risk for injury. Mr. Cambridge confirmed that the Department decided not to utilize the Fact Sheet because of difficulties with appropriately categorizing activities that have varying ways of being conducted at camps and the need to continuously update the activities list. Instead the Department will be directing local health departments (LHDs) to use the definition of Nonpassive Recreational Activities with Significant Risk of Injury in the regulation to determine if programs should be regulated as a camp. The Council expressed concern for consistent implementation of the definition between LHDs. Mr. Cambridge stated that the Department plans to provide guidance to LHDs and would share it with the Council.

The Council members stated that the recent amendments were a large undertaking with challenges, thanked the Department for working hard on it, and hoped that the recommendations from the Council's committee to categorize activities with significant risk for injury would be part of the decision making by the Department when determining what activities qualified a program as a camp. Mr. Coleman asked that when a decision is to be made for an activity the Department "err on the side of being conservative."

As a result of not being able to answer questions posed to him last spring about the implementation of the proposed amendments, Mr. Bacon stated that he hopes the Department will have better communication with the Council in the future. Mr. Cambridge stated that the Department will work to improve communication.

Mr. Dale inquired as to the next steps for making Epi-Pens a requirement at camps. He stated that the Council had previously discussed the issue and recommended the Department add the requirement to the proposed amendments. The Department decided not to include the recommendation in the amendments at that time because it would have delayed implementation. Department staff responded that, in order for the recommendation to be included in future code amendments, the economic impact and need for the change must be assessed. The Council asked if in the interim the Department could make a recommendation for camps to participate in an Epi-Pen program in existing guidance documents. Department staff responded that they would look into it and asked the Council if they would reach out to their constituents to determine the economic impact of requiring Epi-Pens.

Bed Separation Requirements

Mr. Shay presented information about bed spacing requirements of Subpart 7-2 which are intended to help prevent the transmission of disease spread by droplets. The discussion included minimum separation distances for various configuration for single and bunk beds. It was noted that the minimum separation distance between the heads of beds has been a long standing requirement in Subpart 7-2 and, although there is no infection control literature specific to camps, the separation distance has been supported by the Department's communicable disease staff and in literature for military for barracks. Mr. Dale asked the Department to consider whether it may be possible that when children cough, droplets that spread disease are not transported as far as when grown soldiers cough, and if so, whether data on children's coughs should be reviewed to determine whether 6 feet is the appropriate distance. Mr. Dale also asked if the Department could check whether any evidence exists that disease has actually been spread at camp as a result of campers sleeping closer than 6 feet apart, or even if there have been any significant outbreaks of illnesses that are spread by droplets and therefore could have resulted from proximity of sleeping campers. Mr. Shay responded that during past outbreak investigations at children's camps bed separation distances data has not been collected. He noted that the Department's outbreak investigation tool has been updated to collect bed spacing information for future analysis.

Bed Bugs Guidance

As a follow-up from the last meeting, Mr. Shay reported that guidance regarding the prevention and control of bed bugs has been posted on the Department's website. The guidance highlights an integrated pest management approach for controlling bed bugs, and the need for pesticides to be applied by a certified pesticide applicator.

Amusement Device Update

Although not on the agenda, Mr. Shay updated the Council on the issue of regulatory oversight of amusement devices at children's camps. The Department of Labor (DOL) has drafted legislation that would exempt specific amusement devices at children's camps from the need to obtain a permit from DOL. The Department is reviewing the draft language and will be providing comments to the DOL. The Department had planned on surveying camps to determine how many have activities that would meet DOL definition of an amusement device, but did not get it done.

New Business

Preliminary Overview of the 2011 Camp Season

Mr. Shay gave an overview of the major incidents of the 2011 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 2011 season there was 1 camp staff related fatality, associated with a drowning during a non-camp activity. Mr. Sackett stated that the Department welcomes any input on how the injury/illness data is presented or additional analysis of the data that would be beneficial.

Hot Water Temperature Requirements

Mr. Shay discussed the inconstancy between the hot water temperature requirements in Subpart 7-2 and the Uniform Code. He stated that the next code revision to Subpart 7-2 would include amendments to make it consistent with the Uniform Code's requirement for a minimum hot water temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit. In the interim, guidance will be distributed to LHDs advising of the discrepancy and that the Uniform Code Standard should be applied at camps.

Minimum Qualifications to Oversee Boating Activities

At the request of the Council, Mr. Shay provided information regarding Subpart 7-2 requirements for staff qualifications to oversee a boating activity. He reviewed the recent amendments, which eliminated the mandate for an aquatics director to oversee all waterfront activities, and Navigation Law requirements for operators of public vessels that includes motorized boats used at camps. The Council discussed the issue and had concerns that staff supervising non-motorized boating activities, which are not covered by the Navigation Law, may not be qualified and that the current code requirement for activity leaders to be trained in the specialty does not address other hazards such as weather. They asked Bureau staff to evaluate the Department's safety plan template to determine if guidance on minimum staff qualifications to oversee boating is provided and if additional qualifications are needed.

Amended Social Services Law – Camp Directors Added to the List of Mandated Reporters

Mr. Shay reported that Social Services Law was recently amended to include children's camp directors as mandated reporters of suspected child abuse and maltreatment to the State Central Register for Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR). The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) is responsible for overseeing mandated reporting requirements and has training available. Mr. Shay highlighted that the change in the Social Services Law does not alter the State Sanitary Code requirement for camp operators to report an allegation of camper physical or sexual abuse occurring at the camp to the permit-issuing official within 24 hours.

Open Discussion and Public Comments

Mr. Bacon expressed concern that immunization records and staff first aid requirements may be excessive for municipal day camps.  Mr. Sacket indicated that the Bureau was looking into the topics. It was agreed that additional discussion could take place on these topics in the future.

Audience member Andrea Arnold commented that boats carrying campers should be supervised by a lifeguard. Mr. Dale asked if it was a requirement of Subpart 7-2 to have a lifeguard supervise camper boating activities. Mr. Shay responded, no. Mr. Dale asked for the subject to be added to the agenda for the next meeting.

Next Meeting/Adjournment

Proposed Topics

No topics were proposed for the next meeting.


The Council adjourned at 12:28 p.m. after tentatively scheduling the next Council meeting for Wednesday, April 25, 2012. Subsequent to the meeting, the DOH identified schedule conflicts and the meeting was rescheduled for May 2, 2012.