PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island summer camps can begin their summer camp programs Monday under new state health guidelines.
In addition to packing items like sunscreen and bug spray this year, campers are also expected to pack a mask, or cloth face covering.
According to Rhode Island’s Phase 2 guidelines for summer camp, cloth face coverings are expected to be worn by staff and camp attendees for parts of the day including drop-off and pick-up times, and any time six feet of distance cannot be “easily, continuously, and measurably” maintained.
Group size limits, social distancing, and separation practices will be in place for summer camps.
For the duration of the summer, stable groups no larger than 15, including both staff and children, will be in place. Guidance notes this applies to children age five or older, and groups cannot be combined during drop-off or pick-up times, or group recreation activities.
Each stable group is asked to occupy the same space every day and social distancing is not required.
A distance of 14-feet between each group is required and barriers or partitions may be utilized to separate the groups when in large spaces. Barriers must be secure and not shorter than four feet.
As face coverings are not recommended when children are at home with family members, the guidelines state “it is reasonable to not require them, even of older children, in childcare when interactions are limited to only children and adults in the stable group.”
During drop-off, you can expect children to be verbally screened for symptoms, and camps can also decide if they want to do temperature checks. Campers or staff with symptoms that cannot be explained by allergies or another non-infectious cause will be sent home.
Camps are also encouraged to limit the use of shared equipment and there will be increased cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting practices.
One camp that Eyewitness News spoke too, Barrington YMCA, says it’s been all smiles on the first day back.
“It feels great, you know our campers are really happy, they are engaged,” said Bayside Family YMCA Regional Executive Director Michael Squatrito. “We’re so excited to have them back, its been a challenging three months, we couldn’t be happier to be offering camp again.”
And says despite all the changes, kids and parents both just seem happy to be back.
“I think children have certainly been in isolation, so this is a way to get campers socializing again in a safe way,” added Squatrito.
If you’re sending your child to camp, it means the camp’s COVID-19 Control Plan has been approved, and the Department of Human Services has provided a letter of written approval to the camp to open.
A copy of the approved plan must be posted in a visible area during all hours of operation while the current emergency regulations are in effect.