Even as more states are starting to reopen, the future for summer camps and summer programs remains uncertain.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided a list of suggestions in order to maintain safety during the pandemic. The top of their list includes staying home when necessary, wearing a mask, and having proper hygiene at all times.
In addition to these suggestions, in states where government health officials are allowing the opening of sleepaway camps, there are attempts to instate quarantine–like conditions. This means that campers as well as staff members will have to remain on campgrounds during the duration of the program, in addition to regular testing for all present.
Multiple testings were deemed necessary since the tests have a high rate of false negatives, according to The New York Times. As a result, several companies like Rapid Reliable Testing are providing testing services.
“We’re here to provide services with our lab partners like Mako Labs that will offer a turnkey solution to help you test not just your campers but your entire staff – front end and back end of camp,” said Ari Matityahu, a representative for Rapid Reliable Testing’s camp outreach, in a zoom call with several camp directors.
With the goal of making connections with camp directors, Rapid Reliable Testing is trying to help communities manage COVID-19. These precautions are now the same for New York as well, since Governor Andrew Cuomo is permitted these programs to open at the end of June, according to the New York Daily News. However, not all are willing to open, with Camp Morasha being one of them.
“[Camp Morasha] got cancelled because there would inevitably be a lot of interactions. Also, being at camp is all about spending time with your friends, so it wouldn’t be the same,” said sophomore Donna M., an attendee of that camp.
Rather than being sad about the cancellation of camp, she thinks it may be for the better.
“Little kids may not be able to follow the rules, so it’s not worth it. Even if everyone does, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Donna M.
Other students who might attend summer camps also agree with Mahalli’s concerns about safety.
“Summer camps are great in that they provide an outlet for everyone, including the staff members, especially now. My camp was always strict about maintaining hygiene, so if it does decide to open, I’m sure everything will be organized. However, following rules like wearing masks will be hard for younger campers,” said sophomore Sabrina M.
In addition to traditional summer camps, summer academic programs are being canceled as well, with not all of them providing virtual alternatives. Several Stony Brook University summer programs for high schoolers were cancelled as a result of this.
Nonetheless, some programs didn’t let the pandemic ruin students’ summer plans. Numerous research facilities are providing online experiences as well as new scientific writing competitions. As for those not interested in STEM related organizations, according to The Boston Globes, there’s something for everyone.
For those interested in theater, New York’s Metropolitan Opera is offering an eight-week global summer camp, for free, in which students will have online learning opportunities as well as live chats with professional stage artists. 🔳