New guidelines for summer camps in New York

Coronavirus Update for New York

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
These are the newest COVID guidelines for summer camps in New York
Children and campers over the age of 2 and staff who are not fully vaccinated must wear face coverings except when eating, drinking, showering, swimming, or sleeping/resting.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo announced some new guidance for child care, day camp, and overnight camp programs in New York.

Even while outside most campers will still need to wear their masks, according to the state's guidelines.

"We are continuing to make incredible progress against COVID and lifting restrictions based on the science and numbers, but we are not yet at the finished line," Governor Cuomo said. "To help ensure maximum protections for staff and children at child care and camp programs, we are issuing this guidance so the facilities can implement basic but critical measures that will allow them to operate safely."

There will be some wiggle room in the heat and with sports outside, but much less wiggle room for indoor activities.

Facilities and programs must collect COVID-19 vaccination status and documentation for all staff and children, and implement mandatory daily health screening practices of their staff and visitors including daily temperature checks.

Facilities and programs need to notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 test result by a staff member or child at their site.

Each site must implement a property-specific capacity limitation for children and campers that ensures appropriate social distancing.

Staff who are not fully vaccinated must maintain a distance of at least six feet from other unvaccinated staff.

Children and campers over the age of two and staff who are not fully vaccinated must wear face coverings except when eating, drinking, showering, swimming, or sleeping/resting.

Since face coverings have been proven to be effective when distancing is not feasible, facilities and programs must provide and require the use of face coverings for individuals who are not fully vaccinated.

Additional hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and Department of Health must also be followed.

"Our goal was to get camps open and get them open at full capacity, so from that aspect, we're very pleased with the guidelines," said Susie Lupert with the American Camp Association.

Some parents are frustrated about the guidelines.

"It's not fair to take the step back, they deserve to run around and play, and breathe in the fresh air," said mom Deborah Berro.

These guidelines came out on the very same day Cuomo adopted the more relaxed guidelines for masks from the CDC, for fully vaccinated people, both indoors and out.

"Everything in the state and the country seems to be easing up, so I really don't understand any thought of doing anything more restrictive this year as opposed to last year," said Crestwood County Day Camp co-owner Mark Transport.

In terms of brighter news - the sizes of the camp "pods" or "co-horts" will now be doubled from just 15 per group - to 36. And at sleepaway camps, the whole camp can be together after 10 days if they do rigorous testing.

"So we're gonna have one test prior to the arrival, we'll actually have two different types of tests on the first day of camp, and then another one five days into the first week of camp," said Iroquois Springs sleepaway camp director Mark Newfield.

Camps can also use bus transportation this year - with social distancing. But clearly, the issue of masks at camp, remains thorny with camp directors just hoping things evolve and that the thrill of coming back will be enough in the end.

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