09 Jun Why is Day Camp a “Yes” and Sleepaway Camp Still Being Questioned?
On June 2, Governor Cuomo announced that New York will allow summer day camps to open as of June 29th. A long list of safety precautions, such as smaller group sizes, social distancing when possible, and mask wearing in close quarters, will have to be followed.
“Camp is essential for childcare in NY during the summer months as
well as beneficial for children’s mental well-being,” the New York
State Camp Directors Association said when Cuomo announced the June 29 opening of day camps.
And yet, sleepaway camps, which are a sizable business across much of upstate New York, is a separate deliberation due to the length of time campers and staff would spend together. When asked whether he would feel comfortable sending his own children to sleepaway camp, Cuomo answered that he would not feel comfortable yet.
The Governor said his concerns stem largely from the recent spread of a Kawasaki-like virus that has stricken children and appears linked to COVID-19. The illness has killed at least five children and sickened more than 100 more, fueling new questions about whether kids, who were once considered largely immune to the virus, could face a different type of affliction.
Yet the question remains, how is day camp any safer than sleepaway camps? It seems that the opposite would hold true for many reasons.
In a sleepaway camp environment, all children and staff can be tested before entering camp and be cleared as healthy, non-carriers. Daily testing cannot and will not be done at day camps to ensure that both campers and staff are healthy, non-carriers.
Once everyone arrives in a sleepaway camp, a “bubble” can be created where no one is allowed in or out of camp other than for essentials needed to run a camp. A bubble is impossible to create in a day camp because campers and staff members come and go daily.
A sleepaway camp creates a new “family unit” because of the bubble it has created. Just as families share common areas and touch shared items, so too campers and staff could walk without masks and play contact sports. In a day camp, family units cannot be created because campers and staff will be going to their own family units at the end of the day.
Though the opening of day camps is a logical way to restart the economy and provide essential day care options, there seems to be little logic in the decision making process. If day camps can open safely, then sleepaway camps certainly can too.
Governor Cuomo- Can you please answer this burning question???