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Is your kid eager to get out of the house this summer?
As the United States begins to reopen, thanks to vaccinations, there are more and more opportunities to enjoy summertime favorites. For many, that means a trip to summer camp.
While parents and kids, alike, are excited for the return of traditional summer activities, you may still have questions about the safest ways to approach them.
Here’s a breakdown of the latest guidance.
Is It Safe?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its recommendations for summer camps after confirming that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for everyone aged 12 and older.
The big takeaway is that summer camps are safe, and don’t require masking or physical distancing if everyone at the camp is vaccinated.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also released guidelines, and emphasized the social importance of the summer camp experience for children.
“During the summer, it is important that children begin to reestablish connections with their friends, peers, and non-parental adults in an environment that supports their development while also consistently practicing the recommended principles to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2.” – AAP
Here are the crucial recommendations from the CDC to ensure a safe summer camp experience. You can confirm with your child’s camp that these measures are taken prior to the start of activities.
- For camps where everyone is fully vaccinated prior to the start of camp, it is safe to return to full capacity, without masking, and without physical distancing in accordance with the CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People; except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.
- Although people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks, camp programs should be supportive of campers or staff who choose to wear a mask.
- Consistent and layered use of multiple prevention strategies can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect people who are not fully vaccinated, including campers, staff, and their families.
- Campers should be assigned to cohorts that will remain together for the entire camp session without mixing, to the largest extent possible. A “cohort” means campers and staff who are staying together in a cabin, bunkhouse, or similar defined space.
- Outdoor activities will generally be the safest, though most indoor activities are also safe when all are vaccinated.
How To Prepare Your Child
For many children, it’s been a while since they’ve interacted with a large group of their peers. It’s possible they may feel intimidated by the summer camp experience, or a bit wary of having close interactions after more than a year of limited contact with others.
Start by having a conversation with your kids about what they can expect at camp, and emphasize that it’s alright if they feel overwhelmed and need to take a break from the activities.
Kids should also know that, even if they don’t need to wear a mask or socially distance, it’s perfectly fine to do so if those things make them more comfortable. Camp counselors should make an extra effort to accommodate the safety and comfort of each child to ensure a positive summer camp experience.
- If it’s safe for your child, get them a vaccine. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose.
- Follow the CDC’s guidance for travelers before dropping off your child.
- Ask your camp about plans and protocols for testing and contact tracing.
- Send along hand sanitizer and extra face masks with your child. The camp may provide these supplies as well.