Summer Camp Health And Safety During Pandemic

Now's the time to sign your kids up for summer camp, but some parents might be concerned because of the pandemic. KDKA's Dr. Maria Simbra takes a look at that risk.

Video Transcript

- Now is the time to sign your kids up for summer camp, but a lot of parents might be concerned about the possible spread of COVID, especially with kids in groups. Dr. Maria Simbra takes a look at the risk.

MARIA SIMBRA: Outdoor activities and interacting with friends are some of the best parts of summer camp.

MIKE PETROSKY: The benefits definitely outweigh the risks in most situations.

MARIA SIMBRA: But some parents worry.

- I'd like to know what protocols they put in place, I'd like to know if they were following those protocols, and honestly, I'd like to know the statistics behind how many people have contracted COVID.

MIKE PETROSKY: If schools have been able to do as well as they had throughout this year, I have a feeling summer camps can do just as well, if not even better.

MARIA SIMBRA: Because being healthy is important to the experience, you'll want to ask the camp director some questions. For example, do the kids have to wear masks? Dr. Petrosky says except for eating, swimming, high intensity activity, or sleeping--

MIKE PETROSKY: Masks as much as possible.

MARIA SIMBRA: This is especially important indoors in large groups, like for rainy day arts and crafts, or movie night. And since the kids don't mask while sleeping, bunks should be as far apart as possible. Another question, will vaccines be required?

MIKE PETROSKY: Kids under 16 right now, they're not eligible. The camps and that have a lot of staffs that are vaccinated, I'm sure they'll be proud to say how much of their staff got vaccinated.

MARIA SIMBRA: Also, will testing be required? Dr. Petrosky, who is on the board of the Woodlands Foundations Camp says testing asymptomatic people may miss early infections. So he believes another approach is better.

MIKE PETROSKY: To have a plan in place that if someone starts developing symptoms, what's their protocol, how do they quarantine, how do they isolate?

MARIA SIMBRA: And what will happen if someone tests positive?

MIKE PETROSKY: You'd want to minimize exposure as much as you can, and the best way to do that is actually to send them home.

MARIA SIMBRA: And another question, how will activities change to keep everyone safe?

MIKE PETROSKY: Anything that causes heavier breathing, where kids are real close to each other, that can put them at a slightly higher risk. The more you can do outdoors, the more you can do in smaller groups, the better.

MARIA SIMBRA: For kids at high risk for severe illness, or with health conditions that might make COVID harder to handle, camp is a little trickier. As with anything, it all comes down to weighing the pros and cons. I'm Dr. Maria SImbra, KCKA News.