With the outbreak of the coronavirus and summer approaching rapidly, parents are asking, “Should I send my child to summer camp?” Parents were already leery about sending their children out into the world without them, and this outbreak certainly hasn’t made them feel any better about it. There are pros and cons to consider in this situation.
What good can come from sending kids to summer camp now?
Kids benefit in many ways from summer camps. Camps are so much fun; after being locked in for months, many kids will love the opportunity to leave the house. Camps also give children the chance to socialize, which they haven’t had the chance to do since the quarantine began. It’s also a chance for kids to grow, separate from their parents. Overall, summer camp gives children the chance to enjoy wholly new experiences.
Parents will always worry about their kids; be it allergies, injuries, bee stings; you name it, they’ll worry about it. This pandemic is just one more thing parents will need to worry about. There are obviously risks involved in summer camps right now, but there is risk in everything.
These risks can be managed. Whatever camp you might be thinking of sending your child to should have health guidelines in place. Picking a camp with a track record of safety is paramount. Parents will need to weigh the risks and see what protocols are in place for whatever camp they might be thinking about sending their child to. Do they seem like they will keep your child safe? Some places will be safer than others, so do your research.
What safety measures are being taken to protect the children?
The American Camp Association(ACA) and the YMCA-USA(Y-USA) are working together to provide information to both day camps and overnight camps and the parents/guardians of potential campers. The information they are providing is coordinated by a panel of experts whose skills include pediatric medicine, camp medicine/nursing, epidemiology, infectious disease management, biological safety, industrial hygiene, and more. Keeping children safe from the virus is obviously summer camps’ top priority.
Not all camps will be opening this summer. Overnight camps especially have mostly decided to keep their doors closed for now due to the risks that opening could present to the children. But state and local governments are allowing camps to open as long as they can comply with the safety and health guidelines that are currently in place.
The guidelines the ACA is working to set in place are essentially more detailed plans of action based on the guidelines the CDC already released. The guidelines include regularly occurring sanitizing, frequently washing hands, following social distancing rules, staggering meals to limit group size, smaller groups for planned activities, and staggered arrivals and pick-ups. They have also included the regular sanitizing of outdoor equipment and an optional policy that would have them designate certain equipment to one particular child for the duration of the camp; like life jackets, tennis rackets, craft sets, hand boards for the pool, etc.
Whether parents decide to send their children to summer camp or not; doing research into them to make sure they’ll keep the campers safe is the most important aspect to consider.
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