COVID-19 Protocols

While I have updated this guidance many times, the action by the Iowa State Legislature is final and will be followed by the 2021 Prairie Chess Camp. The pertinent legislative language says:


"[T]he school district ... shall not adopt, enforce, or implement a policy that requires its employees, students, or members of the public to wear a facial covering for any purpose while on the school district’s or accredited nonpublic school’s property."


With that said, I am announcing these updated COVID-19 policies and procedures for the 2021 Prairie Chess Camp.

  • The law is clear that wearing face-coverings at the Prairie Chess Camp is optional. Previously, the Prairie Chess Camp had announced that "All students will wear masks when inside the school building."

  • It is recommended that staff and students who have not been vaccinated wear a face covering.

  • For legal reasons, we cannot require anyone teaching or participating in the chess camp to be vaccinated. Furthermore, we cannot act on information regarding an individual's vaccination status.

  • To promote social distancing, additional classroom space has been secured than traditionally has been secured in past years.

  • Students will be placed in dedicated groups (cohorts) for classroom instruction and maintain those groups throughout the week. This is the same as past practices where students have been grouped based on age and skill level. Groups will be identified in advance and parents will be notified. The Prairie Chess Camp staff will make final assignments so as to allocate students into cohorts equitably.

  • For students that prefer to play over-the-board, chess sets will be routinely sanitized throughout the day and hand washing or sanitizer will be used when students change opponents.

  • For students that prefer a non-contact method of playing chess against other students, an online chess option will be available with a ChessKid account. To access the online play, students will be asked to bring a portable electronic device. If a portable device is not personally available, we will make a school-owned Chromebook available for your child.

  • When soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol will be used for staff and children who can safely use hand sanitizer.

  • Employees and campers who are sick should stay home. We will not be conducting temperature screening when students arrive. Families will be reimbursed for any portion of the camp missed when taking this precautionary measure.

Last year, the Prairie Chess Camp was 100% virtual offsite In the initial March email announcement, it was stated that virtual options will be available. Virtual accommodations on site are being made to provide social distancing and no contact. However, 100% virtual offsite instruction will not be available. This is based on a preponderance of the evidence that students and families want to participate onsite. Registered students and families that do not desire to participate onsite - with the additional provisions for social distancing - are offered a full refund of their registration fee and removed from the camp roster. I deeply regret any inconvenience that this may have caused.


This is a very complex and fluid issue. Please contact me with any questions, concerns, or changes to your registration


These protocols may be updated periodically. Please check back or email james.hodina@chessiniowa.org with questions.

Last update: May 20, 2021