Meet the Doctors: NYMC Sheds Light on Summer Camp Safety
As day camps open for business, parents wonder, is it safe to send my children back to camp?
After months of COVID-19 necessitated quarantine, New York State is slowly reopening for business including camp—leaving parents to decide, is summer camp in the time of COVID-19 safe? To answer this question, on July 1, New York Medical College (NYMC) hosted a free community webinar: Summer Camp: Is It Safe, Yet? The lecture was part of NYMC’s “Meet the Doctors” series on health-related topics of interest to the community, which provides a venue for participants to learn from health care professionals on subjects ranging topics from Zika, concussions, Autism, family caregiving and the effects of substance abuse in minors.
Moderated by Jennifer Riekert, M.B.A, vice president of communications and strategic initiatives, panelists Robert W. Amler, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice and vice president of Government Affairs, and Peter DeLucia, M.P.A., assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Public Health Protection for the Westchester County Department of Health, provided insight into the new safety protocols put in place to keep campers safe.
For example, according to Mr. DeLucia, to avoid exposure to unnecessarily large crowds, camps will group campers into cohorts, (small groups of no more than 15 campers). In addition, daily screenings will be required for both campers and counselors prior to drop-off, in order to ensure campers have not traveled into COVID-19 hot zones in the past 14 days, been in contact with anyone sick, or displayed any symptoms themselves. “All campers will have their temperatures checked before getting on a bus or before entering camp,” he explained. “Any child with a fever of 100.4 or higher will not be allowed to enter camp.”
As to what age is too young for this new brand of summer camp, which comes attached with new rules about mask-wearing and social distancing, Dr. Amler said this: “I believe school-aged children can learn just as well as we all can, particularly if parents consistently drill them with these safety measures. When it comes to preschool children, some three- and four-year-olds are good at following directions. Others are not.” He continued, “As a pediatrician, I tell parents, nobody knows your child better than you do. You are the best person to decide whether or not your child is mature enough to follow the rules.”