How to handle summer camp questions in the pandemic era


Choosing a summer camp is not always so easy, and it is especially tricky as the world continues to manage the COVID-19 global pandemic. The following are some tips for parents as they consider if camp is a good idea this summer.

Consider your comfort level.
It’s understandable if parents are hesitant about sending their children to camp this summer. In fact, some camps may still be closed while others may only offer limited camps. Some are offering mostly outdoor options, while others have set up safety protocols for indoor camps that mimic how schools have managed things. Camp organizers continue to remain flexible and pay attention to latest recommendations from the CDC. Without state or federal mandates, individual protocols can vary greatly. Parents should consider their comfort levels before enrolling kids in camp. Vaccines have proven effective, but COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, and vaccines also have yet to be offered to children under 4. Parents can ask themselves how comfortable they are sending kids to camp, and if they’re hesitant to do so they can explore their alternatives.

Ask children if they want to go to camp.
Everyone is experiencing some measure of pandemic-related burnout, and that includes kids. Kids may be sick of wearing masks at school all day and, even if they have loved camp in the past, may not be looking forward to wearing masks all day at camp this summer. Others might not be experiencing such burnout and may see camp as a way to quell boredom at a time when boredom has seemingly lingered over every day. Either way, solicit kids’ input and let them know their feelings matter regardless of which side of the fence they’re on.

Inquire about safety protocols.
When researching summer camps, ask about the safety protocols each camp will have in place. Will masks be mandatory for both campers and staff? How much direct interaction will campers have with each other? Have staff members been vaccinated? What measures are being taken to keep kids safe? Camps should have detailed protocols and share those protocols with parents upon request.

Ask about alternatives.
If parents and/or children are hesitant about attending camp in person, ask camp officials if there will be any virtual events or programs this summer. Some camps may be organizing activities like craft projects online, and that can help kids overcome the boredom of being stuck at home all summer.
Summer camps may not be fully back to normal in 2022. However, families can pick and chose from offerings to find options that work for them.


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