Just like everything else this year, there will be changes with summer camps. Some camps will be virtual—using Zoom or Facebook Live platforms—but there also will be day camps and residence camps.
Things parents should look at when choosing a summer camp include how the camps are complying with Covid-19 regulations and suggestions set up by the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC has prepared a Readiness and Planning Tool so camps and youth programs can design their programs to keep everyone, from campers to counselors, safe.
The CDC states that the more people that camp staff and campers interact with and how long they are together can increase the risk of Covid-19 spreading to others. The highest risk is when many campers are not from the same local area, such as city or state, and they interact with each other without staying socially distanced. The lowest risk would be for a small group of campers to stay together with each other all day. Campers should practice social distancing and not share items like art supplies, sports equipment etc. Outdoor activities are highly encouraged, and having campers come from the same local area is a high priority.
The CDC recommends that camps train and educate all staff members and volunteers in the camp on how to handle emergencies, daily well-check routines, constant cleaning of shared equipment and surfaces like desks, door handles, games, etc. A list of supplies like masks, hand soap, hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), paper towels, tissues, antibacterial wipes, cleaning supplies, no touch/foot pedal trash containers and other items are explained in the Readiness and Planning Tool. There are also suggestions and guidelines on what camp staff should do if anyone gets sick.
Most camps have a disclaimer on their website explaining how they will be following Covid-19 protocols during their camps. They should have a list of how many campers will be together at a time, what campers are required to bring with them (mask, lunch, snacks, water bottles), how they will keep campers social distanced and more. If you do not see this information on a camp website, do not hesitate to give them a call and ask questions so that your camper and your family stay safe.
Some camps may require that parents fill out a health questionnaire asking if anyone in your household has had the virus, been tested or vaccinated and other general health questions.
Campers will be expected to do their part as well to ensure that their camp experience is fun, memorable and safe! Wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands frequently and staying home if you have a fever, feel sick, or have any symptoms.
The CDC Readiness and Planning Tool can be found at this link: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/camp-planning-tool.pdf