How Will Camps Keep Kids Safe This Summer?

Some camp traditions may not make an appearance this year if camps have unvaccinated campers. “We’re not going to have the loud, raucous dining hall filled with incomprehensible yelling,” Dr. Navsaria said. (Campers may still sing and chant, just outdoors.) Parents probably won’t be able to visit, or even step foot inside cabins at drop-off, and staff members may not be allowed to leave camp premises during breaks.

Camp activities that involve cabins competing against each other, like the popular Color War competitions, may not happen this year, Dr. Navsaria added.

Other camp activities may be allowed, but modified. For instance, camps probably won’t allow kids from different cohorts to mingle during electives like dance or archery. Evening campfires might still take place, but campers may be required to sit with their cohorts and six feet away from other groups. Camp performances will still happen, but they will most likely be held outside. And campers may still play some outdoor sports, but the C.D.C. advised against indoor sports as well as close-contact sports, like wrestling and basketball, even if done outside.

The C.D.C. has also advised camps to avoid day trips to indoor locations. If camps do take campers to indoor destinations, unvaccinated campers should stay within their cohort, wear masks and maintain at least six feet of distance from anyone not in their cohort.

Camp policies may vary, but if your child is in day camp and develops symptoms of (or tests positive for) Covid-19, the camp will probably isolate the child from other campers and call you to come pick her up. If your child is positive, she will most likely be able to return to camp after 10 days, provided she has no fever and her symptoms are improving. If your child is exposed to Covid-19 at camp — or if you or someone else in your household (or another close contact) contracts Covid-19 — your child may be asked to stay home and quarantine for up to 14 days.

If your child is at an overnight camp and develops symptoms of Covid-19, the staff should immediately isolate and test her. If she tests positive, they will most likely move her to a dedicated facility with any other infected campers, under the care of medical providers. The staff should immediately call you and let you decide if you want to pick her up or let her stay at camp until she has recovered. If your child is exposed to Covid-19 at camp, her group should also be quarantined for up to 14 days, monitored for symptoms, and may be tested regularly, though they should still be able to do some limited sports and activities as a group, said Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease physician at Columbia University who is advising a handful of camps this summer.

If kids go home because of Covid-19, or if camps have to close because of an outbreak, Mr. McEntire said that most Y.M.C.A. day and overnight camps plan to provide prorated refunds. It’s wise to ask camps in advance about their refund policies.



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