Wondering if the kids should go to camp this summer? This might help...
We all know the tremendous benefits of attending summer camp for our kids: socialization, independence, friendships, and discovering new skills and interests, to name a few, however, COVID19 and all its variants are still around; so, should the kids go to camp this summer or should they stay at home and participate in online opportunities?
After a year of lockdowns and isolated remote-learning, day camps and sleep-away camps are able to operate this summer with strict, safety guidelines which might put your mind at ease. Here are some of the key facts and what camps must or are recommended to do:
● Establish COVID safety policies for hygiene, sanitation, cleaning & disinfecting, screenings, social distancing, and peer groupings
expect daily health screening
expect cohorting of campers and staff with no mixing between groups
- expect increased cleaning and disinfecting
● Masks: Staff must wear masks at all times, except when impractical (ie: swimming, eating, drinking, sleeping, extreme heat). Even when outdoors, staff must wear masks when within 6 feet of staffers or campers.
● Social distancing must be maintained (6 feet), otherwise masks and group staggering are required. Campers do not need to be masked within their cohort but must be masked when interacting closer than 6 feet with other groups or campers and on buses.
When indoors, masks should be worn at all times, but particularly if social distance is difficult or not practical (eating, drinking, sleeping, swimming).
- When outdoors, campers do not need to be masked within their cohort (unless they cannot be socially distanced with other groups)
● Develop and document a clear policy with strict training, execution, separation and monitoring if camper or staff member tests positive or exhibits symptoms.
All COVID etiquette and policies should be properly taught and mandated for all staff
- Campers, staff, family members are encouraged to get fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks prior to camp. All unvaccinated staff and campers are encouraged to engage in a 14-day pre-arrival quarantine
● Proper ventilation must be administered everywhere, at all times.
● OUTDOOR activities are encouraged when possible.
- Activities that produce respiratory droplets such as singing, shouting, and heavy breathing should be outside.
● No more self-serve food offerings.
● For Sleepaway camps: tests are required
Staff and campers must test negative for COVID no more than 72 hours prior to their first day at camp and then be re-tested within 3 to 6 days for sleepaway camps.
Campers & staff must sleep head-to-toe and 6 feet apart
The full camp-safety guidelines, which can be found on NJ’s state website are detailed and explicit. The importance for everyone’s physical and mental health & safety is clearly addressed and should be enforced by all camps this summer. Non-compliances are said to be subject to closure. With that said, every camp operates differently. We recommend calling and speaking directly with the camp directors, reviewing their Covid19 policies online and asking all the right questions so that you feel comfortable in your choice.
There is no doubt, after an unprecedented year of isolation and remote learning, that our kids are craving and in need of in-person socialization and physical activities, away from the computer, for their social-emotional wellness. With the above information and guidelines, will this be the summer your kiddos return to in-person camp?
For more information about the specific procedures at a camp you and your child might be considering, please always consult with the camp director and/or staff directly so they can accurately answer all your questions and concerns!
May you all enjoy your summer safely!