5 Health Factors to Consider when Choosing a Camp During a Pandemic
When selecting a camp for your children this summer, there are certain things you should ask camps about COVID-19 guidelines and policies—and how the camp plans to keep kids safe.
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If you find that your views contrast with the majority opinion in your area regarding public safety, then attending an in-person camp may not be the best option for your family at this time. While New York state has issued requirements and best practices for summer camps to follow to keep campers and staff safe, it’s possible that some camps may shape their policies based on what local families are petitioning for. If that’s the case with a camp you’re considering for your child, it might be best for you to look for virtual summer camp programs or smaller, pod-based child care options with families who are on the same page.
Is the size of the camp conducive to public health?
Last year, many camps opted not to run, some pivoted to run their curriculum online, while those that ran in-person programs had to limit capacity to ensure social distancing could be maintained. This is another important factor for parents to consider this summer. After all, even with ample public safety guidelines, too many campers and staff in one place may lead to COVID transmission.
Here are questions to ask regarding camp size and capacity:
- What is the camp’s registration limit?
- What is the on-site staff-to-camper ratio?
- What percentage of the camp’s normal capacity are they operating at?
Related to camp capacity limits, parents may also want to ask how socializing at camp will happen for kids. Are kids placed in cohorts or groups for the entire summer? Do kids get to socialize with campers outside their cohorts at all? And what does lunchtime look like in terms of socialization?
What does the camp expect of its parents?
Though public health and safety policies are important for the camp to have in place, they can only be effective when clear expectations are outlined for attending families. It takes the cooperation of camp administration and families to produce an environment conducive to public health. If camps fail to provide a clear set of guidelines for families interacting with the camp, the overall efficacy of the public safety efforts may struggle.
These are important questions to ask:
- Are parents required to wear face coverings when they pick up and drop off children? And what does pickup and drop-off look like?
- Does the camp encourage parents to pack basic sanitary materials (hand sanitizer, extra masks) for their child? Are these materials provided by the camp itself?
- Does the camp have a policy in place that allows it to deny any parties who may have COVID entrance?
Please keep in mind that these pieces of advice are subject to change, as camp directors are constantly reassessing the guidelines to best uphold public safety. Regardless, these considerations should help inform your decisions as you plan for a fun and safe summer for your kids!