Professional Development

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Updated Guidance for Operating Youth and Summer Camps During COVID-19

As the end of the school year swiftly approaches, summer programming is top of mind. On April 24, 2021, the CDC released updated guidance for operating youth and summer camps during the pandemic.

Within the new guidance, the CDC recognizes that youth and summer camps play an important role in the lives of children, including supporting their social, emotional and physical development.

The new information applies to a wide variety of areas, including updates for: what is known about COVID-19 and transmission among children and in summer camp settings; vaccination information; physical distancing; camp activities (including sports and athletic activities); considerations for screening testing and contact tracing; cleaning and disinfection; physical barriers; developing emergency operations plans; ventilation and water systems; and communal spaces, food service, playgrounds and play space.

It also states the guidance is intended for all types of youth day camps, with additional guidance provided for overnight camps.

Some key points from the guidance includes:

  • Consistent and layered use of multiple prevention strategies can help camps open safely for in-person activities; protect children, families and staff; and slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • The guidance describes physical distancing recommendations for day camps that align with current evidence for physical distancing in schools, including at least 3 feet physical distance between campers in the same cohort, except when eating and drinking (at least 6 feet); at least 6 feet physical distance between campers and staff; and at least 6 feet between campers in different cohorts. Additional guidance on physical distancing in overnight camps is also provided.
  • The guidance outlines strategies that camp programs can use to maintain healthy environments and operations, lower the risk of COVID-19 spread in their programs, prepare for when someone is sick with COVID-19, and support coping and resilience.

After reviewing this guidance, CDC encourages use of their Youth Programs and Camps Readiness and Planning Tool to protect campers, staff and communities.

To see the updated guidelines in full, visit CDC.

Courtesy of NAA.

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages.