The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in newly updated guidance for summer camps that people who can get vaccinated against COVID-19 should do so, but everyone should wear masks, distance is still necessary and staying outdoors is best.
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In guidance posted on Saturday, the CDC notes that vaccines are not yet authorized for children of all ages, so prevention measures such as mask-wearing and physical distancing must continue, even after camp employees are vaccinated. With few exceptions, "all people in camp facilities should wear masks at all times," it says. Masks should not be worn while eating, drinking or swimming, the guidance notes.
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The CDC recommends cohorting campers -- creating small groups that don't interact -- and says campers within a cohort should maintain 3 feet of distance, and 6 feet while eating or drinking. Campers from different cohorts should keep 6 feet of distance, and campers and staff should stay 6 feet apart.
The updated guidance also emphasizes that camp activities should take place outside as much as possible. If activities are held indoors, "bring in as much fresh air into camp buildings as possible" by opening windows and using fans.
Sports and athletic activities should be outdoors and masks should be worn, the CDC says, and campers should avoid close contact or indoors sports.
Camps may want to use screening tests for athletes, coaches and trainers, too, the guidance says.
"To decrease the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19, CDC recommends that campers do not engage in close-contact sports," the guidance says. "If you choose to play close-contact or indoor sports, reduce your risk by getting vaccinated when a vaccine is available to you, wearing a mask, playing outside, staying at least 6 feet away from others, and avoiding crowds."
Updated guidance for overnight camps also suggests staff, volunteers, campers and family members get vaccinated against Covid-19. Campers and staff who aren't fully vaccinated should be asked to provide "proof of a negative viral test taken no more than 1-3 days before arriving at camp."
Camps should request that campers, their families and camp staff follow guidance for travelers: "Ask unvaccinated campers and staff members to engage in a 2-week prearrival quarantine that includes physical distancing, mask-wearing when not at home, avoiding unnecessary travel, and refraining from indoor social gatherings with people outside of their households."
And after camp, staffers and campers who aren't fully vaccinated should get tested three to five days after traveling home, and self-quarantine for seven days after travel.