What COVID-19 precautions to still take when kids go to camp this summer.

As people continue to step up and become vaccinated in record numbers, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have decreased, leading to the lift of additional public health orders and easing restrictions.  As more restrictions are lifted and it seems society is returning to the new “normal”, many families are eager to enroll their kids in summer camps.

But is it safe to send your kids to camp, with lower rates of vaccination for children under the age of 12? According to experts, the answer is yes — if the proper precautions are taken. When precautions like masking, social distancing, and hand-washing were put in place, COVID-19 cases were extremely low.

Here is a checklist parents should consider when making summer camp plans:

  • If your child is between 5-12 years-old, consider to get them vaccinated.

The vaccines that have been approved for preventing COVID are some of the most safe and effective vaccines that we’ve ever seen as pediatricians,” says Dr. Manish Sadarangani with B.C. Children’s Hospital’s Vaccine Evaluation Center.

  • Send them to camp with masks. 

For camps where not everyone is fully vaccinated, masks can still be worn when indoors. In general, people do not need to wear masks when outside, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although restrictions have been lifted we will still encourage mask use

  • Make sure the camp maintains small groups. 

Camps can minimize exposure if the same campers and the same staff stay together in small groups or “pods” while at camp. At Kumbuka we will maintain a 4:1 group ratio through out the week as we rotate through weekly activities exploring themes and adventures.

  • Ask about hygiene protocol. 

Summer camps should follow the CDC’s disinfection recommendations, which include routine cleaning of bathrooms, surfaces, and high-traffic areas. This is a good strategy for preventing many contagious diseases, not just COVID. For indoor activities, ask how they will improve ventilation (opening windows, using air filters, and turning on fans).

While COVID-19 has greatly impacted children’s developmental growth as well as their mental health. Summer camps help promote social, emotional, and developmental well-being in young children. They can provide them  with opportunities to make friends, be independent, think creatively, get exercise, and try new things.

“The benefit of in-person programming for supporting youth learning and mental health, particularly in vulnerable populations, outweighs the risk of viral spread,” says Dr. Permar, pediatrician-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine.

At Kumbuka we have prepared for a summer full of outdoor adventures, diverse and fun themes, and activities for a memorable summer. Join us for summer activities to create a summer full of adventure.