The company sent an email to registered families announcing its decision to voluntarily file for bankruptcy on Wednesday.
“While we had high hopes of avoiding going to court, the severity of the pandemic economic crisis and the complete cancellation of our in-person camp season in 2020 made the status quo impossible,” said Jessica Berg, spokesperson for Galileo Learning LLC. , in a statement to The Chronicle.
Galileo founder and CEO Glen Tripp left many parents angry and contemplating prosecution when he announced his decision to end the program’s summer season on April 16 without offering registrants the opportunity to obtain a refund.
The company, which said it had been forced to lay off or lay off 80% of its staff all year round, instead offered credit to a future session and to a free virtual camp, Camp Galileo Anywhere, with activities weekly and parenting resources.
The decision to reorganize under Chapter 11 law came after Galileo tried to redeem itself from registered families through a survey that asked parents if they wanted a full or partial refund or a credit for their 2020 registration fee.
“While we were hoping that the number of family reimbursement claims would be manageable – and we were encouraged by the number of families who expressed both compassion and support for Galileo – unfortunately, the reimbursement claims exceed far from Galileo’s current financial means, ”says Berg.
She said the camp, which started in 2002 and which also runs programs in Chicago and Denver, hopes to return with a full summer program in 2021. In the meantime, she said that Galileo will continue its virtual programming , hoping that families can use their credits for them.
Tripp declined to comment on The Chronicle, but in a statement he said, “When I think about our progress over the past 18 years, my heart goes out to our Galileo community. Like thousands of other small businesses, we are not going to give up and let this pandemic win – we are absolutely determined to find a way to continue to bring joy to families for many years to come. “
As the pandemic continues to rage, Galileo joins a long list of summer camp programs struggling to figure out how to move forward.
The Northern California Girl Scouts decided to postpone the start of her 2020 camp season to July 19, canceling the first four weeks of her nine-week program. Camp Edmo has switched to an online model; and other regional camps – including those run by the San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks, the YMCA and the San Francisco Jewish Community Center – are still weighing up their options for the summer.
The latest Bay Area ordinance, effective Monday, allows summer camps and other educational or recreational programs to reopen as long as they serve a stable group of 12 or fewer children. The caveat is that they can only serve families of essential workers, those who do outdoor work or minimal basic operations.
“In the coming days, as more employees are allowed to return to work, the family eligibility guidelines for child care and summer camps will change accordingly,” said a spokesperson. Word from the San Francisco Children’s Council at The Chronicle.
“As with daycare centers, places in our city’s summer camps fill up very quickly. We expect demand to be even higher this year.
Aidin Vaziri is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]