2020 is proving to be a year like no other, one that is far from normal. At this point I’m ashamed to say that devices and screen time is taking up much of my kids’ day. I’m desperate to find something to keep them productive this summer. Our normal summer typically consists of day camp where I send my kids off at 9:00 am and pick them up late in the afternoon, tired and dirty. This year most of our summer camp options were canceled due to COVID-19. I would love to register my children and ship them off to camp; however, we are still in the midst of a pandemic, so safety is my main concern. I’ve been struggling with this decision as I’m sure most parents are. Do I send my kids away to their happy summer place for some “old-fashioned” entertainment and normalcy, or keep them home?
Social distancing restrictions are being eased across the country and this coincides with the start of summer where several states are now seeing an increase of COVID-19 cases preceding Memorial Day. It is clear that COVID hasn’t gone away and won’t until there is a vaccine in place. In making this decision we need to assess the risk, get input from our children on their feelings of camp and of course review the 2020 summer camp guidance and recommendations.
Assessing the situation and risks is challenging as the guidance is continually changing and there is a lot of contradicting information floating around.
How does your child feel about camp? If camp is a consideration, talk to them and ensure they are not feeling too anxious. Our children have been separated from their friends and going back to normal activities during a pandemic can be overwhelming or scary. Summer camp might be a good way to ease them back into normalcy or it might cause extra anxiety. After all, there will likely be screening daily upon arrival and again possibly again at departure.
As you are making this decision, do your research and ensure that your camp is following the recommended protocols and potentially going above and beyond. Does opening comply with local and state orders? Are COVID-19 cases in your area decreasing or increasing?
The Center of Disease Control (CDC) has worked with the American Camp Association (ACA) on guidance for opening camps. Do your research and make sure your camp is following recommendations and committed to keeping your child healthy this summer.
This summer you may want to stick to a camp that you are familiar with unless your camp options are limited and necessary. Choosing a camp that you are already comfortable with will cut down on anxiety for both you and your child as you return to some level of normal. If you decide camp isn’t a viable option for your kids this summer, there are options for virtual camps. Or you might want to plan a summer with activities that can include social distancing such as hiking, camping, fishing or other low contact outdoor sports and games and bike rides to keep your kids healthy and active.
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