As the coronavirus continues to infect new people every day, summer camps are considering the best way to keep children safe this year. Some have decided to go virtual and others have been canceled entirely.
“The cancellation of camp this summer is profoundly disappointing for all of us after what already feels like an eternity of frustration and uncertainty,” Shannon Donovan-Monti, executive director at Chimney Corners Camp in western Massachusetts, wrote in an email, according to NPR. “There are no words that can take away the heartbreak of depriving our children and ourselves of something that has given us such joy and connection to others.”
At least 22 summer camps have decided to go the virtual route this summer, USA Today reported.
The American Camp Association and the YMCA have released a “field guide” for how summer camps should decide whether to open and try to adopt safer practices during the pandemic, according to NPR.
The guide says that camp should only open when the locations meet the “Phase 2” and “Phase 3” requirements for reopening as outlined by the Trump administration and if local and state governments allow for it.
Camps should also screen campers and staff for COVID-19 symptoms and have them self-report, take temperatures daily, and send anyone home who is sick, according to the guide.
The CDC has also issued a one-page guidance that says summer camps shouldn’t open unless it’s allowed by state and local governments, camps are capable of protecting people with high risk of getting severe illness, and can screen children and employees at the camp.
The CDC recommends that camps promote regular hand-washing and other hygiene practices, ramp up cleaning and disinfection, encourage social distancing, and limit sharing of toys, belongings and equipment.
Other summer activities, such as running, walking, and biking outdoors, can be safe if proper social distancing is applied, experts say.
It’s safe to go running and walking outside “assuming they follow the actual social distancing guidelines,” Dr. Aaron E. Glatt, chairman of the department of medicine and hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau, told CNBC.
COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets, and people who don’t display symptoms can also spread the disease, so you should maintain at least 6 feet of distance from people while running and wear a face mask while out in public, according to CNBC.
Germs dissipate when you’re outdoors, but you should still keep up with social distancing, Glatt told CNBC.
As long as you’re not in a high-risk group, are social distancing at least 6 feet from others, and are wearing a mask, you have a low risk of getting the virus while biking or running outdoors, according to Vox.
“The risks of virus transmissibility in the air outdoors is likely quite low in those contexts, although this risk hasn’t been definitively measured,” Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, told Vox. “Outside, things like sunlight, wind, rain, ambient temperature, and humidity can affect virus infectivity and transmissibility, so while we can’t say there’s zero risk, it’s likely low unless you are engaging in activities as part of a large crowd (such as a protest). Solitary outdoor exercise is likely low-risk.”