As the world tries to establish normalcy, several guardians want schools to be re-opened. This might sound bizarre as parents are concerned about the children’s health, it’s true that they are concerned about their children’s psychology as well. Being locked up for months inside their houses, children are facing mental distress and anxiety. Schools, as a place of community gathering, served to socialize children and engage them with fellow learners and teachers.
As attending schools become impossible, summer camps in the US have served as a means to keep children engaged. Following, all COVID-19 protocols, several of these camps have managed to pull off an exciting summer for the kids whose learning wasn’t stopped by the lockdown.
To limit the risk of infection of staff and students, the summer camps in the US have adopted reimaged norms of operation and undertaken protocols to isolate cases or suspects before they spark outbreaks. Several camps have successfully reached completion while keeping away COVID-19 for weeks. Though there has been security norms and safety measures being followed, Tom Rosenberg, President and CEO of the American Camp Association said that out of 15,000 camps that operate every year, 80% of night camps and 40% of night camps have closed down this summer in the fear of infection spread. This has caused the industry to face a loss of $16 billion.
As some camps could glide through the pandemic, many others weren’t as lucky. As per a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, out of 597 campers and staff of an unnamed overnight camp, almost 44% that is 260 people tested positive for the virus. This camp, in the state of Georgia, recorded one of the highest attack rates on younger people- 51 out of 100 children, aged between six and ten, tested positive for the COVID-19. This figure eliminates our earlier assumption that young children were at lesser risk of being infected.
The Summer camps across the US can provide an overview of what it might look like to reopen schools amidst the pandemic and what are the challenges that will have to be dealt with.
Challenges and Summer Camps
Summer Camps have always faced challenges and had to contend the spread of any disease or infection- be it head lice or strep throat. But this summer has been especially tough with the pandemic claiming thousands of lives and infecting millions.
From how to get children dropped off to how would campers collect for assemblies, everything had to arranged from “Ground zero”. Lemel, who has operated the Keystone Camp for 37 years as a family convention, spoke about how she and her staff had regular temperature checks and managed camp meets following physical distancing norms. The Keystone Camp had run through the flu pandemic of 1918 and even this time, the changes in camp operation have paid off. As campers play and enjoy themselves outside in the open, no camper has tested positive from here as yet.