Hooray for Summer!

Camps are back this year — what you should know.

Summer has arrived in full force! After a challenging school year, it comes as no surprise that kids are more than ready to let loose and have fun with their friends. Summer camps are a great way for children to learn, socialize, and let out some extra energy.

As businesses and our lives get back to a new normal, you may be thinking about sending your child off to enjoy summer camp. The good news is that most camps plan to reopen this summer — with some new safety guidelines in place.

But before we dive in, let’s remember that children ages 12 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine. The vaccine is your child’s best protection against COVID-19 while at camp. But remember to plan ahead. Kids are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose.

We also recognize that many campers may not be old enough for the COVID-19 vaccine. However, they can still have a fun-filled, and safe, camp experience if everyone follows these precautions.

Day Camps and Group Childcare

Is your child headed to day camp or another daytime childcare setting? Here’s how to prep:

  1. Maintain physical distance from other families while dropping off and picking up your child.
  2. Screen your child every day and keep them home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms.
  3. Ensure your child is kept in manageable group sizes throughout the day. This will vary by age and can range from 5 to 30 campers.
  4. Remind your child to wash their hands many times during the day.
  5. Mask rules do apply in some camp settings, regardless of vaccination status. This is to help protect unvaccinated campers.
  6. Indoors: staff and children age five or older must wear facial coverings regardless of their vaccination status, unless eating or sleeping. Children ages two to four should also wear cloth face coverings when indoors, with adult supervision.
  7. Outdoors: Campers and staff are not mandated to wear masks by DOH. However, please understand that some camps can still require masks outdoors based upon their own risk assessments.

*Summarized. For more information, see DOH’s full guidance here.

Overnight Camps

Sleepaway camp is an exciting time for campers and parents alike! As you can imagine, overnight camps have some special considerations and require some different guidelines. Here’s a brief summary of what to know:

  1. All campers and staff must do one of the following before arriving at camp:

1) be fully vaccinated, OR

2) quarantine for 72 hours prior to arrival at camp AND get a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before arriving at camp. Details on quarantining can be found here.

  1. Your child’s camp will conduct daily COVID screenings for campers. If your child has symptoms, the camp is responsible for locating free COVID-19 testing.
  2. Vaccination status must be verified before arriving at camp.
  3. The mask rules outlined for day camps still apply. Campers are required to wear masks indoors, except when eating or sleeping. Masks may be required outdoors by the camp.
  4. Parents or caregivers may only enter camps for medical emergencies or early pickups.
  5. All campers will keep at least 6 feet physical distance from other camper’s heads in sleep facilities, such as beds, bunks, cots, or tents.

Please be aware that camps may always add extra safety precautions beyond these guidelines. Be sure to contact your camp to see if there’s anything else you and your child should be aware of.

So, the bottom line is that s’mores, campfire stories, and other treasured camp activities are back — just with some extra precautions to keep everyone safe. Have a wonderful –and safe — summer!

More information

Information in this blog changes rapidly. Sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles.

Check the state’s COVID-19 website for up-to-date and reliable info at coronavirus.wa.gov.

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to everyone 12 and older. For more information about the vaccine, visit CovidVaccineWA.org and use the vaccine locator tool to find an appointment. The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost to you.

WA Notify can alert you if you’ve been near another user who tested positive for COVID-19. Add WA Notify to your phone today: WANotify.org

Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington state may be found at our website. You can also contact the Department of Health call center at 1–800–525–0127 and press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday — Sunday and observed state holidays. Language assistance is available.

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