Are Summer Camps in 2020 in Jeopardy from the Pandemic?

Summer camps — both day and overnight — are back on in Michigan. Here, we offer some expert information on what summer camps will look like in 2020.

Little girl at summer camp

Will the coronavirus kill a summertime rite of passage, summer camp, for kids who have already has so many other plans ruined?

It doesn’t look like it. Michigan day camps, including camps offered by YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, are allowed to open on June 8 and overnight summer camps may return on June 15, but they will have a different look under the American Camp Association’s new guidelines.

In 2020, campers and staffers can add masks, social distancing, smaller groups sizes and less mingling among one another to their summertime itinerary.

Camps will also be limiting shared equipment and outside field trips, changing sleeping arrangements in the cabins to head to toe at least four feet apart and encouraging lots and lots of hand washing and cleaning.

For day camps, expect new pickup and drop-off procedures under the guidelines, including parents remaining in the car and only one designated person to do the pickup/dropoff.

But while camps are allowed to reopen this year, not all of them may have a 2020 season. Some camps have made the decision not to run, others are waiting for more guidelines and some have gone virtual — the American Camp Association just launched a brand new online search tool for parents that are interested in enrolling their kids in virtual options.

For those that are choosing to reopen, the safety of campers remains the most important focus, says Colette Marquardt, executive director of American Camp Association, Illinois, based in Chicago.

One big topic for camps is whether they can even obtain the personal protection equipment and increased amount of cleaning supplies needed to protect campers from the virus.

For example, the new guidelines have suggested supplies that camps should buy, including 50 percent more hand soap and paper towels, 100 percent more cleaning supplies and disinfectant wipes and to have 50 ounces of hand sanitizer per 100 people per day available.

Since every camp situation will be different, Marquardt continues to advise parents to check in with camps they are interested in for their kids for guidance on next steps for this summer.

“There will be something. It may look different. It may feel a bit different but at the core, that community and that focus on the development of a child will still be the mission,” she has said.

This post was originally published in April 2020 and is updated regularly.

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