According to the CDC, summer camps are going back to normal by welcoming campers again. Children won’t be require to wear masks and don’t have to practice social distancing at camps were the children and staff are fully vaccinated.
Children have missed out on family gatherings, team sports, and other forms of socializing for the past year. Many parents are glad that camps are opening back up to keep kids from spending hours in front of their screens. Kids are easy to get outside and enjoy sports and fun activities with their friends, and overnight camps offer a change of scenery that children are likely looking forward to after more than a year of sheltering in place. Even though parents are exciting about sending their children to camp this summer, they likely have some concerns that need to be addressed before families can feel at ease about the prospect of summer camp after the pandemic.
Summer Camp Safety Plan for Children
AAP guidance doesn’t require that all children planning to attend summer camp are tested, but testing is recommended. Check the rules for your city or the camp you plan on sending your children to so you can schedule a test if necessary.
What If There Is a COVID Case at Camp?
It’s important to know the camp’s policy if a child or staff member contracts COVID, as well as how the individual will be separated from other campers and staff and removed from the premises. Be sure to ask whether the camp will close if a case is discovered so you can have a plan of action for your child in place.
The Rules About Masks
Mask mandates may vary depending on the camp. Some camps may only require children and staff to wear masks indoors or when riding on the bus for field trips. Other camps may have varying mask mandates depending on the age of the children. Have a plan for ensuring your child’s mask stays clean, such as labeling the mask and storing it in a Ziploc bag.
What Parents Are Saying
Camp staff should still support kids who prefer to wear masks since these children could have underlying health issues that can make getting COVID-19 particularly devastating. The CDC asserts that unvaccinated individuals should wear a mask indoors, but vaccinated people are not required to do so. One parent, Eliat Gabay, reminds her 8-year-old son that he should wash his hands often, practice social distancing and take extra care to remain safe as he prepares for robotics camp this summer. Gabay says she knows masks are required indoors and agrees that this is a safety measure that could keep her son from getting sick.
Learning About the Vaccine
CDC guidelines state that the vaccine for COVID-19 is effective, safe, and widely acceptable in the US. Everyone over the age of 12 should receive the vaccination as soon as possible to avoid getting and spreading the virus, according to the CDC.
These guidelines apply to day camps and overnight camps. For camps where the staff and all the children are vaccinated, it is safe to return to full capacity — children and staff are not required to wear masks at these facilities.
Even though safety precautions are in place, the choice to send your kids back to camp this summer is a family matter. If you’re not sure whether summer camp is safe talk it over with your child’s pediatrician to help you make your final decision.