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Reopening: What to consider before sending older children to summer camps

Navigating camps during a pandemic is not an easy task.  Thankfully Dr. Ashley Moss has laid out some important points to think about before sending your child out the door.

COVID restrictions have forced a healthy reprieve from our overscheduled, hectic lives but now that some summer activities and camps are reopening, a little bit of structure, exercise, and time with friends sounds appealing.  So are “socially distanced” summer camps something that would work for your family?  Just like child care, each family is different in terms of the risk that they are able, due to underlying medical conditions, or willing to accept.  Here are a few important things to consider when deciding if summer camp this summer is right for your family.

  • Will the camp be regularly following and implementing the CDC’s guidelines for summer camps? The CDC outlines measures to promote behaviors that decrease the risk of infection spread, guidelines for safe operations, and protocol for what to do when someone becomes sick at camp.
  • How will camps monitor campers and staff daily for COVID-19 symptoms?If a child develops symptoms while at camp, how will the camp manage sick children and facilitate their safe departure?  Will the camp notify other families if a child tests positive for COVID and what will the policy be?  Will the camp close and if so for how long?
  • How will the camp encourage social distancing?
  • How much time will campers spend outside and how much time, if any, inside?
  • Who will be required to wear face coverings at camp?When at camp will face coverings be required?
  • How will infection control strategies (social distancing, hand washing, proper use of face coverings) be implemented?
  • Does the camp have adequate supply of tissues, hand soap, hand sanitizer, and cleaning products?How will the camp be effectively cleaning and disinfecting surfaces?
  • What will be the maximum number of campers per group?Will the same staff be assigned to the same group everyday?
  • How and how often will shared areas (bathrooms, lunch tables and craft rooms) be cleaned?

It is important for each family to weigh the benefit of summer camp against the risk of exposure to the virus.  If your child has an underlying medication condition such as chronic lung disease, asthma, heart problems, severe obesity, diabetes, kidney or liver disease, or are immunocompromised, or if your children are exposed to elderly grandparents or someone who is immunocompromised, you consider alternative activities to summer camps where even small groups of people will increase your child’s risk of exposure to the virus.

We at Spring Valley Pediatrics are more than happy to discuss any questions that you may have and help you make the best decision for your family.