Pa. releases summer camp guidelines, but some camps still undecided about opening

Hadas Kuznits
May 22, 2020 - 6:10 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Wolf administration released summer camp and recreation guidelines on Friday, but some camp directors are still scrambling to figure out whether or not they'll be able to open this summer.

Some of the guidelines from Harrisburg are clear: Overnight camps located in the “yellow” zone  — as outlined in the governor’s phased-in reopening plan — are prohibited. Organized team sports are only permitted for “green” counties.

But for “part-day school-age programs,” which are permitted in “yellow” and “green” zones, officials recommend limitations on group sizes to keep children 6 feet apart. 

Face masks for children are also recommended, but not required.

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The recommendations from the Pennsylvania Department of Health continue: “If possible, groups should include the same group members each day, and the same staff providers should remain with the same group every day. … Keep each group of children in a separate room or space.”

Miquon Day Camp Director Cindy Flemming Powell wonders: Are these guidelines enough to keep the virus from spreading at her Conshohocken camp?

“The biggest factor for me right now is transporting children safely and determining how to monitor their temperatures,” she said. “Would I ask the families to monitor symptoms and temperatures? And the families’ commitment to safety: Are the families social distancing?”

To keep up with social distancing rules, Flemming Powell now has to measure the space to see how many people the campus can accommodate.

She’ll have to make more tough decisions before determining if Miquon camp can open.

“Size of groups would be a challenge. One of the things that I'm dealing with is that if the sizes of the groups are limited and my camp is fully enrolled for the summer, how do I choose what camp families to turn away?” she questioned.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the city’s Playstreets program, which provides free meals to children and a safe place for them to play, will alter its programming to align with the state’s guidance.  

A modified day camp season may be implemented “if the health situation allows,” said Kenney.

The city’s Swim for Life day camp and other city-wide theme camps will not operate this summer.

“The city’s Office of Children and Families’ Out-of-School Time summer programs have shifted to be virtual until further notice,” the mayor added.