CDC has issued guidance for childcare programs including Pre-K, Head Start programs, private and home childcare, and temporary childcare centers operated by municipalities for essential workers. Topics covered include:
• General preparedness
• Guidance for childcare centers currently open
• Social distancing strategies
• Parent drop-off and pick-up
• Screening children upon arrival
• Cleaning and disinfection
• Caring for infants and toddlers
• Healthy hand hygiene behavior
• Food preparation and meal service
• Vulnerable/high-risk groups
For communities where spread has slowed, CDC has issued official guidance and considerations for summer camp programs as of May 19, 2020. These considerations are outlined to help protect campers, staff and communities, and maintain low levels of the spread of COVID-19. Agencies should still consult with local and state health officials to determine if and how to put these considerations into place.
Guiding principles shared by CDC outline that the risk of exposure and spread will increases the more people a camper or staff member interacts with and the longer that interaction occurs. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in youth camp settings as follows:
• Lowest Risk: Small groups of campers and staff stay together all day, each day. Campers remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. Outdoor activities are prioritized. All campers are from the local geographic area (e.g., city, town, county, community).
• More Risk: Campers mix between groups but remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. Outdoor activities are prioritized. All campers are from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).
• Even More Risk: Campers mix between groups and do not remain spaced apart. All campers are from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).
• Highest Risk: Campers mix between groups and do not remain spaced apart. All campers are not from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).
Camp administrators should consider implementing several strategies to encourage behaviors and maintain operations that reduce the risk of spread. Detailed guidance is provided by CDC. These strategies include:
Promoting healthy and protective measures
• Encouraging campers and staff to stay home when sick.
• Teaching and reinforcing proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
• Teaching and reinforcing the use of cloth face coverings.
• Ensuring adequate supplies are on hand.
• Posting reinforcing signs and messages.
Maintaining healthy environments
Engage in frequent cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces and shared equipment.
• Discourage the sharing of items and personal belongings.
• Ensure proper ventilation.
• Ensure all water systems and features are safe to use after a prolonged shutdown.
• Modify layouts to encourage physical distancing.
• Install physical barriers for added protection.
• Close shared communal spaces, including playgrounds.
• Limit the sharing of food and ensure food safety practices are in line with CDC recommendations.
Maintaining healthy operations
• Ensure protections for staff and campers who are at higher risk of severe illness.
• Be aware of local regulatory controls and policies.
• Identify small groups (cohorts) and keep them together to limit interaction outside of groups.
• Stagger scheduling, including arrival and drop-off times.
• Avoid gatherings, visitors and field trips where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
• Designate a COVID-19 point of contact.
• Establish and implement a communication plan.
• Have flexible time off policies for staff and back-up staffing plans.
• Train all staff on safety protocols, PPE, communications, and chain of command.
• Recognize signs and symptoms and conduct health screenings of campers and staff.
• Reduce sharing of spaces between groups.
Prepare for when someone gets sick
• Advise sick individuals of home isolation criteria.
• Isolate and transport those who are sick.
• Clean and disinfect.
• Notify health officials and close contacts.
Additionally, the American Camp Association has developed a comprehensive camp operations field guide with more detailed information and NRPA has created a Summer Camp Reopening Decision tool to help support decision-making about reopening.
Download a Printable Summer Camp Reopening Decision Tool
Other resources available:
• CDC Summer Camp Guidance
• CDC Resources for Schools, Childcare and Youth Sports
- Childcare during the COVID-19 Pandemic
○ Decision Tool
- Youth Programs and Camps during the COVID-19 Pandemic
○ Decision Tool
- Youth Sports Program during the COVID-19 Pandemic
• American Camp Association Camp Operations Guide
• American Camp Association Resource Center
• Association of Camp Nurses Resource Center
NRPA will provide more guidance as available. Check this page regularly for updates.