Summer Camp and COVID-19

Summer camp is a rite of passage for so many young children. I know many kids that have been going to the same camps year after year and each year they look forward to seeing their friends from across the country. As parents, we have already had to deal with so much disappointment from our children over missed activities, vacations, and time away from school and friends, that the decision of whether or not to take summer camp away is hard.

Summer camps pose a unique risk for transmission of SARS-CoV2 as traditionally large groups of children from different communities gather and play together, share meals together, and often sleep in close quarters. 

The CDC and American Camp Association have offered extensive guidance for camps that plan to be open this summer. 

As a parent, here are some things to consider:

  • If your child or anyone in your immediate family is considered high risk for COVID-19, then it is best to pass on summer camp this year.
  • Day camps or overnight camps with campers from within your local community are preferred over camps that draw from a wider population.
  • Camps with primarily outdoor activities preferred over indoor activities.
  • Day camps are preferred over overnight camps as physical distancing in cabins/tents may be very challenging.

The CDC has offered the following risk stratification for camps and transmission of SARS-CoV2:

  • Lowest Risk: Small groups of campers stay together all day, each day. Campers remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. Outdoor activities are prioritized. All campers are from the local geographic area (e.g., city, town, county, community).
  • More Risk: Campers mix between groups but remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. Outdoor activities are prioritized. All campers are from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).
  • Even More Risk: Campers mix between groups and do not remain spaced apart. All campers are from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).
  • Highest Risk:Campers mix between groups and do not remain spaced apart. All campers are not from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).

As a parent, I recommend you check with your childโ€™s camp to find out what guidelines they have put in place to help limit spread of SARS-CoV2. Find out how they plan to monitor for illness and what they plan to do if someone does show signs of COVID-19. 

For families who would prefer online/virtual camp, Common Sense Media has gathered a great list of options.

Note that with any activity we do outside of our home, there is risk. Each family must weigh the risks and benefits of their individual situation when deciding about whether or not to send their child to camp.

Here’s to a safe and healthy summer!

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