Weighing the Risks of Returning to Summer Camp

April 6, 2021

By Dr. Joseph Kahn, president of Mercy Kids 

As the weather warms, it’s a signal to start planning for your kids’ summer and thinking of ways to keep them busy, including camps.

Although COVID-19 numbers have come down, the coronavirus is still with us and will continue to be a significant factor in our lives throughout 2021. So when deciding whether to send your children to camp this summer, consider the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stratification of risk to decide how comfortable you and your family are with certain options:

  • Lowest Risk: Small groups of campers stay together all day, each day. Campers remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. Outdoor activities are prioritized. All campers are from the local geographic area (city, town, county or community).
  • More Risk: Campers mix between groups but remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. Outdoor activities are prioritized. All campers are from the local geographic area.
  • Even More Risk: Campers mix between groups and do not remain spaced apart. All campers are from the local geographic area.
  • Highest Risk: Campers mix between groups, do not remain spaced apart and are not from the local geographic area.

For those who choose not to enroll their kids in camps, here are a few alternatives to consider:

  • Create a camp in your yard. Pitch a tent. Plan a scavenger hunt. Have a campfire with s’mores.
  • Explore science at home with virtual camps and field trips.
  • Check with your school or school district to see if it offers summer education challenges, such as summer reading or STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs.
  • Check out your community parks and recreation resources for programs.

Remember, summer is a special time for kids, and this school year has been especially challenging for all involved. Have fun – and here’s hoping we get back to normal as soon as possible. 

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