School’s almost over and we’re thinking about summer! Part of the joy of summer for many kids is going to camp. Camp gives children a sense of independence and provides the opportunity to create life-long friendships, discover new passions and learn new skills.
Camp can help provide parents peace of mind, knowing children are cared for in a safe environment. This summer, not wanting to give up the benefits of camp can be at odds with being concerned about the continuing spread of COVID-19.
Bay Street Pediatrics is here to help! We recommend asking these questions of camp administrators – and listening for clear, direct answers – before you make a commitment.
How is drop-off and pick-up handled?
You’ll want a camp that staggers arrival and departure times by groups, so your child is not exposed to a very large crowd in a short amount of time.
Is there a mask mandate?
Your child’s camp should require masks whenever kids are indoors, except when they are swimming, napping, eating or drinking. Masks should also be worn outdoors when kids are closer than 3 feet apart, such as during lacrosse, baseball, soccer and other close contact activities.
Are kids given enough space?
Ideally, most activities will be conducted outdoors, giving children enough room to spread out and providing the absolute best ventilation. Indoors, participants should be positioned 3 feet apart. During nap times and at overnight camp, children should sleep on mats or cots set 6 feet apart, head to toe.
How many kids will my child socialize with?
In any other situation, we want our kids to meet as many children as possible. During COVID-19, kids should stay in small groups or “pods” that don’t interact with other groups. Cabins or rooms at overnight camps should include just the kids in one group, with no “outsiders”. Keeping kids isolated in pods helps prevent infections from spreading quickly.
How are meals handled?
It’s best if kids bring their own snacks, meals and drinks to day camp, and are restricted from sharing food or drink items. At overnight camps, buffet and family-style situations bring the highest infection risk; pre-packaged and individually wrapped items are the lowest.
What’s the cleaning policy?
Equipment, supplies, furniture – everything kids touch – should be sanitized between uses. There should be a strict policy for frequent and thorough hand washing and hand sanitizer dispensers should be plentiful and well stocked throughout the camp site.
What will happen if someone gets sick?
Daily checks should be mandatory, with weekly screening of unvaccinated staff members also required. If a child or staff member has a runny nose, cough, congestion, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, they should be tested for COVID-19 immediately, and parents should be notified of a possible outbreak.
Camp offers so many benefits for children and when handled correctly, can be a safe and positive environment. If you’re looking for a day camp nearby, click here for a guide to specialty camps, all around camps and featured camps in the Westport area.
If you’re still not sure if camp is right for your child this summer, call our office at 203-227-3674. We’ll answer your questions and help you feel confident about whatever decision you make!