CDC issues updated summer camp guidelines, emphasizes outdoor activities, masks and social distancing

After the COVID-19 outbreak sidelined most in-person summer camps across the country last year, camp operators are gearing up for a return this summer. And of course, in the age of a pandemic, like everything else, camp will be different.

On April 24, 2021, the CDC released its updated guidance on summer camps for youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help create a safe experience, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its updated camp operating guidelines this weekend.

“Youth and summer camps can play an important role in children’s lives, including supporting their social, emotional and physical development,” the CDC said, noting that compared to adults, children are at much higher risk. weaker from contracting COVID-19, but children can still become infected, transmit the virus to others and suffer serious consequences.

“Youth and summer camps can play an important role in children’s lives, including supporting their social, emotional, and physical development,” the CDC said in its updated summer camp guidelines. it published on April 24, 2021.

The CDC has also warned of the emergence of globally circulating variants – viral mutations that have been detected here in the United States as well as in the Bay Area. Experts said some variants have been shown to spread more easily and quickly than others, which could lead to an increase in coronavirus cases.

“These guidelines are intended to help camp administrators manage camps while preventing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting campers, their families, staff and communities.” the CDC said.

On April 24, 2021, the CDC released its updated guidance on summer camps for youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These guidelines included implementing mask rules and ensuring campers adhere to physical distancing guidelines, maintaining a distance of at least three feet from others, and setting up cohorts or “groups” of campers and staff who stay together throughout the day to minimize exposure to other people. at the camp.

Additionally, the CDC has strongly encouraged those eligible to get vaccinated to do so.

(San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks)

“Getting vaccinated at the earliest opportunity is an important way for camp operators and staff to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19,” the CDC said, noting that vaccines do not have yet been approved for under-16s. , although trials for use on children were in progress.

“For this reason, even after camp workers have been vaccinated, camps should continue prevention measures for the foreseeable future, including requiring masks and physical distancing,” the health agency advised.

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The CDC also addressed the issue of ventilation as part of efforts to prevent a possible outbreak and stressed that whenever possible, activities should take place outdoors, with masks, and contact sports narrow should be avoided, as this increased the risk of spreading COVID. -19.

“If activities are indoors, bring as much fresh air into camp buildings as possible,” the CDC said, recommending opening windows and doors and adding fans to help with ventilation. air circulation. “Bringing fresh outdoor air into your facility helps prevent virus particles from concentrating indoors,” officials explained.

Other recommendations included adopting policies that do not discourage staff from calling in sick after exposure to the virus. “Implement flexible, non-punitive sick leave policies and practices that allow employees and volunteers to stay home when they are sick, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or are caring of a sick person,” officials said, adding, “Leave policies should be flexible and not punish people who take time off and should allow sick employees to stay home and away from co-workers. and campers.”

The CDC has also encouraged camp operators to offer families the option of keeping their camper home if their child shows symptoms or tests positive for the virus.

The agency noted that those who have been fully vaccinated and show no symptoms can refrain from having to quarantine or undergo testing following a known exposure.

The CDC’s very detailed guidance also included adopting proper cleaning and sanitizing practices, reinforcing frequent handwashing among campers and staff, and making soap, water, and hand sanitizer available. easily accessible. “Ensure enough sinks or hand sanitizer dispensers are available at key locations for campers to use easily without crowding, especially during peak hours,” the agency wrote.

He offered additional advice for overnight camps, including asking campers and staff (who are not fully immunized) to self-quarantine for two weeks before arriving at camp and asking for proof of a negative viral test one to three days before going to camp.

On April 24, 2021, the CDC released its updated guidance on summer camps for youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overnight camp operators have also been instructed to perform daily symptom checks and assign campers and staff to cohorts that stay together in the same group for the entire camp session without mixing with other campers and staff in circumstances where they are in close contact such as sleeping in the same cabin.

“When different cohorts of households use shared indoor or outdoor spaces together during the day or night, continue to monitor and enforce mask use, physical distancing and healthy hygiene behaviors for everyone,” said recommended the CDC.

The agency said implementation of the recommendations should ultimately be tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of each community and that the guidance should be used as an additional resource, not a substitute, for state and local regulations.

On April 24, 2021, the CDC released its updated guidance on summer camps for youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Camp administrators, in collaboration with local public health officials, should assess the level of community transmission to understand the disease burden in the community,” the CDC explained. “The higher the level of community transmission, the more likely it is that the virus that causes COVID-19 will be introduced into the camp setting from the community, which could lead to transmission in the camp if prevention strategies at multiple levels are not used.”

In addition to its guidance, the agency provided camp operators with a planning tool and checklist to help them prepare for a safe, in-person summer camp experience.

This story was reported in Oakland, California.