It’s time to make summer season plans, and for a lot of households, these plans embody summer season camp. After the yr we’ve had, the thought of getting out of the home, being energetic, and seeing different youngsters sounds very interesting.

Whereas there’s motive to hope that this summer season shall be higher than 2020, the truth is that COVID-19 will nonetheless be with us. The vaccines will make a distinction, however they aren’t obtainable but for campers below the age of 16 — and the youth and younger adults who make up many of the employees will doubtless not all have been vaccinated both. In order households make plans, they want to consider COVID-19.

Begin right here: Think about danger components

Earlier than even interested by camp, households ought to keep in mind their explicit danger components. Hopefully, any high-risk adults within the household could have acquired a COVID-19 vaccine by the point children head to camp. In the event that they haven’t been vaccinated but, now’s the time to work on getting the vaccine.

If youngsters have well being issues like bronchial asthma or congenital coronary heart illness that put them at greater danger of issues of COVID-19, dad and mom ought to speak with their little one’s physician earlier than sending them to camp. For some youngsters at excessive danger, it may be higher to remain house yet one more summer season.

It’s additionally necessary to make it possible for youngsters are updated on childhood vaccinations. Many youngsters have gotten behind due to the pandemic.

Discover out about dangers at camp — and plans to decrease danger

There isn’t a strategy to make any camp risk-free. However there are many ways in which camps, and fogeys, can reduce the chance. Listed below are some issues for fogeys to assume and ask about:

The place are campers and employees from? A neighborhood day camp with youngsters and employees largely from a city with low numbers of COVID instances goes to be decrease danger than one that pulls from many various communities, together with some with greater numbers. The New York Instances has an interactive map of the US that may enable you test how low or excessive COVID-19 case counts are in states and counties.

How are the campers organized? Are they divided into small teams that don’t combine (which is preferable)? Or are they in bigger teams — or not divided into teams in any respect? The extra mixing, the extra probability of publicity and unfold.

Are actions largely indoors or largely outside? The extra outside, the higher. Indoor actions ought to be in well-ventilated areas.

How a lot bodily distancing is deliberate or potential? Whereas distancing is probably not potential all day, the camp ought to be arrange in a method that limits crowding and offers youngsters three to 6 toes of area each time possible. Dad and mom ought to ask particularly about typical days and actions on the camp, together with how meals shall be managed, to get a way of how shut to one another the youngsters shall be.

How a lot shared gear will there be? The much less, the higher — and any shared gear or surfaces ought to be usually cleaned. That is notably necessary for sports activities camps. (In case your little one or teen has had COVID-19, see my earlier weblog submit about returning to sports and physical activity afterward.)

How is the camp screening for signs or exposures, and what protocols have they got in place? There ought to be each day screening for signs (and exposures outdoors of camp) for campers and employees, with applicable plans for staying house, testing, and quarantine based mostly on the outcomes of these screenings. Sleep-away camps ought to have designated quarantine area, and entry to testing. Ask about testing necessities, as nicely.

Will the campers and employees be sporting masks? There could also be some conditions (like swimming) when sporting masks could also be tough, however as a lot as potential, campers and employees ought to be sporting masks to maintain everybody protected.

What are the camp’s plans for hand washing? Common hand washing with cleaning soap and water or hand sanitizer is necessary to restrict the unfold of germs, together with the virus that causes COVID-19. Dad and mom ought to ask how typically campers shall be washing their palms, and concerning the availability of hand sanitizer.

What’s the plan for meals? It’s greatest if youngsters carry their very own meals, and sit at a distance from one another once they eat. If meals is being served, it ought to be pre-packaged in luggage or bins, with no shared utensils.

What sort of coaching and supervision will employees have relating to COVID-19? Workers ought to be skilled in recognizing and stopping COVID-19. Additional, they need to be supervised and held accountable. There ought to be written protocols that folks ought to be capable of see.

Are there extra issues for in a single day camps? Sure. In a single day camps must take extra precautions. Examples embody having everybody sleep head-to-toe, and utilizing bodily limitations between beds and loo sinks.

Speak to your youngsters about how they really feel about camp — and concerning the worries they might have about being round different folks, particularly if they’ve largely been remoted at house. Speak particularly about how the times will work, and be able to reply any questions.

It feels like so much to do, nevertheless it’s necessary. For not less than yet one more summer season, we have to keep protected — for our well being, and the well being of everybody round us.

For extra details about in a single day camps and on suggestions for all camps, take a look at the information about camp safety during COVID-19 on the web site of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

Comply with me on Twitter @drClaire