As the days start to get warmer and longer, one thing is on every parent’s mind: summer camp.
Summer camp is a brain puzzle just about every year.
Which camps fit around our family vacation? Can we drop the kids off early before work? Is swimming, space camp, and archery way too much?
But the continuing effects of COVID-19 make things even more complicated for 2021.
To help you prepare, we’re answering all your big questions so that you can plan the best summer camp experience for your child this year.
Is summer camp even a “thing” this year?
Yes! Although things will still be a bit different from a “normal” year, many day camps will be up and running.
And while some classes and camps may still be conducted virtually, plenty of in-person camps are taking action to make sure that your child’s summer camp experience is as safe as possible.
Many camps qualify as childcare services, so they’ll remain open as essential businesses. Depending on your location, you may have access to in-person summer camps even if your child’s school was conducting either virtual or hybrid learning.
How will the vaccine impact this summer compared to last summer?
Because broad medical studies are more difficult to perform with children than adults, the FDA hasn’t yet approved any of the current vaccines for children.
Studies are underway and could get the vaccine approved for kids in time for the 2021-2022 school year, but kids won’t be able to get vaccinated before summer camp.
This doesn’t necessarily put them at higher risk. Most summer camps will still be maintaining small class sizes and other safety measures.
But the increased availability of the vaccine for adults means that more parents will be returning to work and in need of childcare—probably more than last summer. Summer camps may be in higher demand and fill up faster, so you’ll need to enroll early before they fill up.
Finally, vaccinated adult populations will also help keep kids safer. When adult family members and caregivers get vaccinated, kids’ overall risk of contact with the COVID-19 virus is lower.
What safety precautions should I expect from summer camps?
In addition to recommendations for regular businesses, the CDC has published a set of health and safety guidelines specifically for summer camps.
Camp-specific recommendations include mask-wearing, handwashing, and physical barriers for distancing. The CDC also recommends frequent sanitization, visitor limitations, and posters to remind children of safety practices.
These safety practices are meant to be used with local regulations. If your region has stricter (safer) policies, summer camps will abide by the safest guidelines.
Although each ILK location is franchisee-owned, all of our facilities have been instructed to follow CDC and local guidance to maximize your child’s safety.
What kinds of summer camp opportunities will my child have?
Many summer camps will be offering full-day and half-day camps with a variety of class experiences. Most sleepaway camps will likely be cancelled, either by state and local regulation or by self-regulation.
This summer, ILK will be offering 76 different programs in science, technology, engineering, the arts, math, and more. From astronomy to theatre, and robotics to cooking, there’s something fun for every kid all summer long.
Parents and kids should expect some procedural changes this year. These will help maximize health and safety without compromising fun or learning at camp! Check-in and check-out procedures will be more distanced, classes will be smaller, and handwashing and mask-wearing will be enforced.
But even with these adjustments, camps across the country will still offer great classes for a fun, active, and enriching summer camp experience.
What else can I do to keep my child safe?
The best way to make sure that your child observes safe and healthy practices at camp is to model them at home. Teach and practice handwashing, mask-wearing in public, sanitization, and physical distancing. Your child is likely to mirror whatever you do.
Other than summer camps, other activities can also keep your family active and engaged. Enjoy distanced outdoor activities like biking, hiking, and sports/games that can be played at a distance. It’s generally safer to avoid contact sports like basketball and football, even if everyone is outside and masked.
And finally, check out our online programs to keep rocking your gray matter from home! Our STEAM @ Home newsletter brings a curated selection of activities straight to your email inbox.