Youth and summer camp season is here, and this is the time to be especially cautious when sending your children off amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Camp administrators, in collaboration with state and local health officials, are hard at work setting precautions to keep your children, staff, and community safe. You and your family can also follow a few guidelines to help keep your children safe while attending summer camp.
Here are just some measures you can take to reinforce safety and healthy habits with your children while attending summer camp this year:
Contact your camp on COVID-19 safety measures
The safety measure for your child’s summer camp program depends on the guidelines from local and state officials, as well as safety considerations unique to your community. Before sending your child to a summer camp program, check with camp administrators to make sure the program is following all of the necessary safety guidelines for COVID-19 for your community.
Youth & summer camp safety measures to check for include:
- Visible signage: Are there signs posted in highly visible locations around the facility promoting protective measures for campers like social distancing, maintaining hand hygiene, and wearing face coverings?
- Physical Barriers and guides: Are physical barriers provided to help stop the spread of germs? (For example, a sneeze guard or partition at a reception desk.) Are there tape and markings at the facility to help campers and staff maintain 6-foot distancing?
- Adequate supplies: Does your summer camp program have the necessary supplies to support health hygiene for both campers and staff? Supplies include soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, paper towels, and tissues.
- Routine cleaning and disinfection: Do camp staff have a schedule for cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces? (e.g., playground equipment, door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains, shared vehicles) The CDC recommends routine cleaning at least daily or between each use.
The American Camp Association has additional resources for you to stay informed on recommended COVID-19 safety measures for day and overnight camps.
Maintain social distancing
Since people may be sick without showing any signs or symptoms, your child needs to follow social distancing guidelines when attending summer camp. Encourage your child to maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from other campers and staff at all times, limit close contact with others, and avoid big groups and crowded areas.
Wear face coverings
Give your child a proper cloth face covering to wear to prevent the spread of germs and infection, especially in certain areas where it’s difficult to maintain social distancing.
Double-check that your child’s summer camp program is reinforcing the use of face coverings for their staff and administrators, as well.
Hygiene & etiquette
Teach your child proper hand-washing hygiene like washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating, after using the bathroom, or when dirty. If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used.
Encourage your child to follow the proper etiquette when needing to cough or sneeze. Cover your mouth using a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or use your elbow instead of using hands. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Pack your child’s lunch
You can pack your child’s lunch to bring to camp and encourage them to eat in separate areas when sharing a communal area like a dining hall or cafeteria.
If food is offered or provided, make sure it is in pre-packaged boxes or bags instead of an open-faced buffet or family-style meals.
Stay home if necessary
If your child is sick or recently exposed to someone with COVID-19, they should stay home and quarantine until it is safe to return to camp. If they have been exposed to or test positive for COVID-19, they should contact the camp and advise them so they can take proper precautions and measures.
Having your child attend summer camp during the COVID-19 pandemic can be especially worrisome to parents. You can make sure your child has a safe and fun camp experience by working with camp staff and administrators on taking the right safety measures. Happy camping!