Thursday, 15 July 2021 14:38

Updated Protocols for Summer Camps and Summer School

By Jaynie Ellis | Education

NEW YORK — New York State Department of Health, in accordance with the CDC, has released interim COVID-19 guidance for child care, youth camps, and summer schools. 

The NYSDOH has published a 20+ page detailed guideline in accordance with the CDC’s “Guidance for Operating Youth Camps.” The guideline describes COVID-19 protocols for summer child care, day camps, overnight camps, and it aligns with the recommendations for summer school.

The CDC stated the following:

“Youth camps can play an important role in the lives of children, including supporting their social, emotional, and physical development. Camps provide opportunities for children to try new activities, develop relationships, develop social and emotional skills, and be physically active. In addition to allowing for free play and unstructured learning, many camps also incorporate educational content. The interim guidance is intended to help camp administrators operate camps while slowing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 thereby protecting campers, their families, staff, and communities.”

For camps where everyone is fully vaccinated, it is safe to return to full capacity without social distancing and mask use. People who are fully vaccinated do not need to undergo routine COVID-19 screening either.

For camps where not everyone is fully vaccinated, the following guidance should be taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

Firstly, camps are encouraged to strongly promote the vaccination for eligible staff and campers, and individuals who are not fully vaccinated may still undergo screening, testing, and contact tracing. 

Mask use is still strongly encouraged indoors. Outdoor mask use is only encouraged in high transmission risk areas/situations, and masks should not be worn during outdoor water-related activities. Camps should be supportive of campers and staff who choose to still wear a mask. They may also continue to require masks, regardless of vaccination status, when it is difficult to tell who has been vaccinated, or to set an example for campers who have not been fully vaccinated. 

Social distancing will be maintained in “cohorts.” These small groups of campers and staff will remain together throughout the duration of camp to minimize exposure. At overnight camps, “household cohorts” will be made; these will be the campers and staff who are staying together in a cabin, bunkhouse, etc. Camps will take into consideration age, grade level, and other grouping factors. 

Saratoga Springs City School District released a message on their website regarding how the updated face mask protocol and health and wellness screenings apply to the school district’s 2021 summer programs.

Masks are no longer a requirement for in-person instruction or any outdoor instruction and activities. Unvaccinated staff must continue to wear a face covering indoors and children who are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to still wear their masks. All staff and students must continue to wear masks on school transportation. Social distancing recommendations are still in place, and the school will continue to use the Pinpoint Wellness screening service, per NYSDOH guidelines. The guest/summer staff and student weblink and QR code to complete the wellness screening can be found at: www.saratogaschools.org. 

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