Considerations Before Reopening Day Camps
As more and more states and local jurisdictions are opening back up, your organization has a paramount decision to make about reopening during these unprecedented times.
We know the safety of your campers and staff is always your top priority. With the potential spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), despite your best efforts to enforce social distancing, temperature checks, wearing face masks, etc., the likelihood of spreading the disease remains very high. When that happens, will you be able to respond in a way consistent with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? What impact will that have on the future operation of your camp?
Consider the following:
- Opening for camp should only be considered when it is lawful to do so under the public health orders and regulations in place in your state.
- Beyond what is lawful, carefully consider what is safe. Understand and follow voluntary guidance for camps and childcare programs established by federal, state or local authorities as well as authoritative sources such as the CDC and the American Camping Association (ACA).
Additional safeguards for day camps
- Advise families to self-assess symptoms for all family members for 14 days prior to camp. If any family member has any symptoms in that period, do not come to camp.
- Require parents to remain in their vehicles while dropping off and picking up campers.
- Maintain social distancing in all situations to every extent possible.
- Staff and campers should wear a mask in situations where distancing may not be possible.
- All campers and staff are screened when they arrive.
- All campers and staff wash their hands upon entrance.
- Have a designated and isolated area for anyone exhibiting a fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, etc.
- If a sick camper or staff member needs medical attention beyond what you can provide, have a plan in place with your local health services to pick them up.
- Verify your local health services have the capacity to test and process results for the entire camp community at once.
- Stock sufficient cleaning and protective supplies and materials for 2020 camp season.
- Have a plan in place that, if a camper or staff member is confirmed having the disease, a thorough cleaning of the facilities can be done. Close off areas used by the affected individual and do not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfecting them. If possible, wait at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting.
- If your camp is required to close, develop a plan to communicate and coordinate the decision to close camp with the parents, staff and local health officials.
- Develop a contingency plan in the event a critical staff member (e.g., nurse, food service, maintenance, etc.) is quarantined so you will be able to replace them in a timely manner.
- In the case of a sick counselor, you will need to ensure you can maintain safe supervision ratios.
- Limit 10 campers or less per group activity.
- Do not mix campers between groups.
- Staff must remain with the same group of campers throughout the day.
- Field trips should be limited to places that can be controlled to the same extent as the primary camp location. Avoid contact with others that are not part of the same group.
- Promote frequent hand-washing between activities for all campers and staff.
- Prohibit food sharing between campers.
- Consider having parents/guardians provide lunches for their children.
- All deliveries and non-camper visits should take place only when no campers are present.
The items above are in no way a complete list of considerations you need to think about, but we hope it gives you a sense of the challenges you are likely to face.
Youth Programs and Camps Decision Chart
CDC’s Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps
CDC’s Caring for Someone Sick
CDC’s Interim guidance for Schools and Day Camps (pages 45-52)
Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance
Federal Guidelines for Opening America Up Again
Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus