The CDC has announced that summer camps may open for in-person activities this year, provided they take certain steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The CDC recently released new guidelines for the reopening of both day and overnight summer camps. The guidelines placed a large emphasis on face masks, vaccines, and social distancing.
“Consistent and layered use of multiple prevention strategies can help camps open safely for in-person activities; protect children, families, and staff; and slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19,” said the CDC.
The CDC acknowledged that children are less likely to get sick or die from COVID-19, but said that there is still a risk that they can spread the virus to others.
“Getting vaccinated as soon as the opportunity is available is an important way for camp operators and staff to keep from getting and spreading COVID-19” the CDC stated.
COVID-19 vaccines are currently not approved for children under 16 years of age, but trials are currently underway. The FDA is expected to authorize the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12-15 this week.
The CDC’s guidance on mask-wearing is particularly strict, requiring masks to be worn at all times, both inside and outside, except while eating or swimming.
Masks with two or more layers of fabric are recommended, and the CDC’s general guidelines on mask-wearing recommend two masks.
The CDC also recommended placing campers in cohorts, groups of campers that stay together throughout the day. Each cohort should stay 6 feet away from other cohorts, and members of a cohort should stay at least 3 feet away from each other.
The guidance discouraged close-contact and indoor sports, citing the increased risk of spreading COVID-19 in these situations.
Singing inside is also discouraged, as well as group activities where campers can’t be socially distanced.
The guidelines recommended that campers quarantine and test negative for COVID-19 before their arrival, and quarantine for one week and take a COVID-19 test upon their return (unless they are vaccinated).