Why Your Kids May Have to Wear Masks At Summer Camp
Just when you thought restrictions were lifting and the COVID situation was dramatically improving, some summer camps are adding heavy restrictions that will make it feel like 2020 all over again. And there's a reason behind it.
Because vaccinations haven't been approved for kids under the age of 12, some summer camps are implementing serious cautionary restrictions similar to those that were in place at the height of the pandemic last year.
My kids have gone through so many emotions about the ups and downs linked to their favorite summer camp that they are at their wit's end and I don't know what to say to make it better. They were wrecked about the cancellation of the camp last summer, then super excited when the camp announced it would be open this summer, and now they are wrecked again about the stipulations that are in place because they feel like it will have a negative impact on the fun.
This is an excerpt from the letter I got about my kids' overnight camp scheduled for the last week of June:
-- Masks are required except when eating, sleeping, and in the swimming pool. Campers should plan to bring enough personal masks for 2 per day. If masks become wet or dirty, they must be changed for a clean one. Cloth and disposable masks are acceptable.
-- Singing is considered a high-risk activity even with masks, therefore there will be no group singing. And there will be no nightly campfire. (The campfire was where the kids did much of their bonding over skits and marshmallows.)
-- Bunks will either be 6 feet apart or separated by a plastic barrier that will be cleaned daily.
-- One camper in the cabin bathroom at a time.
-- Personal care items will be kept in a bag or basket. These will not be stored in the bathroom but rather on the camper’s bunk.
-- Cabin mates will be assigned a table to be used all week. Campers in the group will be spaced 3 feet apart. Tables will be arranged with at least 6 feet between.
-- Masks will be required while waiting for the meal and moving in the dining hall. Masks may only be removed while eating.
-- There will be a shield between the servers and the campers. Campers will indicate what they would like added to their plate as the plate is passed down the line of servers. There will be a pick-up station where the camper retrieves the tray and a separate station to pick up a drink.
-- Only campers from the same cabin can be in the swimming pool at one time. Other cabin groups will have to wait.
-- Campers must show proof of at least one negative COVID-19 Molecular RNA nasal swab taken within 10 days of arrival at camp.
The list of rules goes on and on, and some of them are understandable, but it also creates frustration for kids who have been through over a year of masks, cancellations, super-sized disappointments. My 9-year old was distraught when she found out about the changes at this month's camp, and with huge crocodile tears banged her fist into the living room wall and said, "Just the thought of how great everything used to be and now with all these rules it will never be the same and I'm mad that it's taking so long for kids like me to be able to get a shot and we have to wear masks and other people don't and it's just not going to be any fun with a mask on when it will be so hot outside." There are only 17 kids signed up for this camp so far, and the camp usually draws five times that many. It will be at twenty percent capacity (or less if kids drop out) and that should count for something.
The CDC recommends unvaccinated kids wear a mask this summer and The Today Show pointed out the recommendations are not mandates, but they're intended to help camp directors and counselors make decisions about their own rules. Your kids' camp may be different than ours, and every camp will decide what is best.
For a list of camps around Tyler this summer, click HERE. And you have advice about how to make kids under 12 feel better about life right now, please let me know!