Summer Camp and COVID-19: What Parents Need to Know
The arrival of summer is coinciding with an encouraging drop in new COVID-19 cases and the easing of restrictions around the country. As a result, many kids are looking forward to exciting adventures at summer camp.
Parents are eager for their kids to have the experience and make great memories, as well. But, of course, it’s understandable that there are questions about whether it’s safe to spend time in close contact with other kids in what everyone hopes are the waning days of a pandemic. It’s also important to consider whether your child, specifically, is ready for summer camp.
The insights below can help you make a well-informed decision.
Summer Camp Is Good for Kids (and Parents)
As the CDC notes, “Youth and summer camps can play an important role in the lives of children, including supporting their social, emotional, and physical development.”
But if you’re a parent whose child has attended camp in the past, you don’t need the CDC to tell you that. It’s clear from the smile on your child’s face when you pick them up after camp and the stories, they share on the drive home, and for weeks after.
After all the stressful restrictions and routine changes in 2020, kids are needing an immersive and engaging summer camp experience more than ever. Parents, too, can benefit from some free time to focus on their own mental and emotional health.
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Is Your Child Ready for Summer Camp?
While the sunshine, fresh air, and fun activities are good for kids, it’s important that they be ready for the time away from family, especially if you’re considering sleep-away camp. Some of the questions you should ask yourself in reaching your decision include:
- Is your child ready to handle personal hygiene and other daily tasks with little or no guidance?
- Does your child enjoy sleepovers?
- Has your child asked to go to camp?
- Will any of your child’s friends be at the camp?
- Does your child understand that they won’t see you until the session is over?
Some kids may be interested in going to camp, but somewhat hesitant at the same time. If that describes your child, the key is to be available to them when they want to talk about it, but patient as they process what you tell them about the camp experience.
Is Summer Camp Ready for Your Child?
Just as important as your child’s readiness for camp is whether you’re confident that the camp is ready to host children and ensure their safety in light of the pandemic. Some of the things you’ll want to research include:
- Is the camp operating in collaboration with local health officials and in compliance with CDC guidelines?
- What disease prevention measures are currently in place? For example, are drop-off and pick-up times staggered? Do groups of campers and counselors move through their day together and somewhat separate from other groups?
- Is the camp prepared to change its operating procedures as restrictions and guidelines evolve?
- Does the camp require a negative COVID-19 test?
- Are there camp counselors on site who are trained to address the physical and emotional health needs of children?
- How will the camp address a situation in which one of the campers or staff members becomes ill with what is, or could be, COVID-19?
- Is support available for campers with special needs?
- What’s the camp’s refund policy if your child becomes ill just prior and can’t attend?
You should review all safety information provided by the camp and follow up with a phone call or email if any of your questions aren’t answered.
Be Safe, Be Informed
To learn more about COVID-19, visit the Baptist Health COVID-19 Resources page. Getting vaccinated when the guidelines allow it is essential in protecting your loved ones and stopping the spread of the disease. Information about vaccines can also be found at the CDC. To schedule your first dose, visit ScheduleYourVaccine.com to find available appointments at Baptist Health.
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