Birch Trail Camp in Northwestern Wisconsin is a traditional girls camp. The whole Chernov family has worked together for two generations to create incredible summers at Birch Trail, where girls grow and flourish, having the best times of their lives. But as Coronavirus took hold in the spring of 2020, Director Gabe Chernov knew that Birch Trail Camp would need to go to Plan B.
“It was an extremely hard decision, but we did not open for the 2020 season,” said Gabe Chernov. “But as we looked to planning for summer 2021, I immediately enlisted Laura’s help to ensure our plans were informed by the most up-to-date scientific evidence and public health practice.”
Laura and Gabe began meeting monthly in October of 2020 to discuss salient, top-of-mind issues. What capacity of campers is ideal? How will running camp in the time of COVID-19 impact programmatic decisions or the number or duration of sessions? How should dining services be run and what outdoor eating areas might be necessary? How do state guidelines impact the operations of camp?
“I have answers and confidence to operate camp as well as to communicate with parents and staff about what is certain and what remains unknown about running camp safely in the time of COVID.”
Gabe Chernov, Director, Birch Trails Camp
Dr. Laura helped 30+ Maine overnight camps navigate the pandemic information while our camp directors were forming decisions… she was smart, well prepared, well informed, resourceful and compassionate.
Laurie Kaiden, Director, Maine Camp Experience
As the Executive Director of Citizens of the World Charter (CWC) Schools in Los Angeles, Mark Kleger-Heine is well-versed in the myriad issues of operating schools in the time of COVID-19. Mark heard Laura speaking to parents of summer camps about COVID-19 public health protocols and connected with Laura to provide support to CWC as they navigated the ever-changing world of school opening in Los Angeles.
Laura began working with the CWC leadership teams on opportunities from drafting their Re-Opening Guidebooks to consulting on testing relationships to answering parent and staff questions about vaccines to teaching hand hygiene.
“Laura has been invaluable to helping CWC during such an uncertain time,” says Kleger-Heine. “In this ever-changing landscape, it is even more important to have had Laura’s expertise, communication and steady hand to traverse the COVID-19 medical and public health landscapes to make sound decisions.”
Mark Kleger-Heine, Executive Director, Citizens of the World Los Angeles
When California passed an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19, the Division of Occupational Safety & Health sent new standards and procedures for employers operating in the time of COVID-19.
Theodore Shapiro, American film composer and owner of ELBO Studios in Glendale, CA reached out to Laura at the encouragement of his legal counsel to draft COVID-19 protocols for the ETS. “As a business owner, my expertise is in writing music for film, not public health. Laura was able to work in collaboration with my legal team to create written public health guidelines to ensure protection for my employees and my business.”
Teddy Shapiro, Composer/Owner ELBOS Studios
Laura Blaisdell MD/MPH, FAAP
is a board-certified, public health trained pediatrician and advocate with expertise in vaccine policy and camp medicine. Currently consulting with schools, camps, and businesses on communicable disease prevention protocols and strategies, she shares her expertise on local and national media and serves as medical advisor to the American Camp Association (ACA).