CDC Releases Summer Camp Guidelines

A little boy plays in the park in Brooklyn on March 31. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has released its updated health guidelines for how sleepaway camps and day camps can operate over the summer.

Some experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, said they were extremely “stringent.”

Facui, in an interview, “I wouldn’t call them excessive, but they certainly are conservative. And I think what you’re going to start to see is really in real time, continually reevaluating that for its practicality. Because you’re right, people look at that and they say, ‘Well is that being a little bit too far right now?”

“The CDC makes decisions based on science, they will continually reevaluate that,” he told TODAY. “You’re right, it looks a bit strict, a bit stringent, but that’s the reason why they keep looking at that and trying to reevaluate literally in real time whether or not that’s the practical way to go.”

The instructions align with the current rules for schools regarding social distancing and masking.

  • All campers within the same bunk are expected to maintain 3 feet of social distancing, except for meals, when they are expected to maintain 6 feet of social distancing.
  • All staff and campers from other bunks are expected to maintain 6 feet of social distancing.
  • Everyone is expected to wear a mask, with the exceptions of those with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, for reasons related to the disability.
  • Masks are not expected to be worn constantly; people can go maskless during meals and during activities such as swimming.
  • In sleepaway camps, all members of the same bunk are considered part of a household and do not need to wear masks or socially distance when they are together. When they interact with other bunks, they should all be wearing masks and maintaining 3 feet of distance.
  • In sleepaway camps, all campers and staff are expected to be tested for COVID when they arrive at camp, and everyone is expected to check for symptoms of COVID daily.
  • In a sleepaway camp, if someone tests positive, they should be isolated immediately and all unvaccinated members of their bunk  should quarantine and be tested. If it is a child who has tested positive, the camper must be staying in an isolated bunk or infirmary room with an adult to keep them company and supervise them.
  • Camps should ensure the buildings are properly ventilated and increase air filtration by investing in portable air cleaners and keeping windows open.
  • Camps are encouraged to keep activities low risk, such as outdoor instead of indoor whenever possible, and limiting visitors and trips out of camp.
  • Camps are expected to maintain a healthy environment with frequent cleaning and disinfectant, individualize snacks or toys to campers to discourage sharing, and ensure there are enough sinks and hand sanitizing stations throughout the camp for staff and campers to use frequently.
  • All staff and campers age 16 and above are urged to be vaccinated as soon as possible.


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