As summer camps welcome more kids in person, doctors say Covid-19 precautions must stay

Source: Live 5
Updated: Apr. 25, 2021 at 11:36 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - From virtual classes to cutting attendance, the Coronavirus pandemic has made summer camps across the Lowcountry innovate their annual programs.

This year, many camps say they are either expanding what was done last year, or even reopening all together since the pandemic began.

Corey Colman, director of auxiliary programs for the Porter-Gaud School said they are planning to serve around 1,200 children in more than 100 camps this summer.

“The kids need it, they need the socialization. It’s been tough for them to get outside and see their friends and have some fun,” Colman said.

Last summer they had to scale their attendance down and get creative to put new precautions in place.

“That leads us into having some experience coming into this summer having some confidence. I said last summer we were cautiously optimistic. This summer we are just very optimistic,” Colman said.

Family program director at the Summerville YMCA, Andrea Dorman, said her camps had to reinvent programing to fit safety during the pandemic as well.

“Just really rethinking the way we do everything,” Dorman said. “It made us better as an organization. We we’re able to serve our community better than we ever have and I think we are going to take that forward.”

Dr. Allison Eckard, the leading pediatric infectious disease physician at the Medical University of South Carolina, says parents should pay close attention to Covid-19 safety protocols at camps before making their decisions.

“Parents need to be very careful about what they choose,” Eckard said. “Some kind of camp where children spend most of their time outside with lots of space to distance themselves from other children would be much lower risk.”

She says while many people have been able to be vaccinated, most children aren’t eligible and still susceptible to the coronavirus and a rare but potentially severe complication in kids, known as MIS-C.

“While overall cases are decreasing, the number of cases in children is actually on the rise,” Eckard said.

Colman says they will use the tools learned last year to keep kids safe, even in larger groups.

“When they get here, we will do the symptom checks, we’ll do the temperature checks. We will make sure they’re masked up. We’ll give them hand sanitizer,” Colman said. “We have our experience from doing it last summer so we know we can do it safely.”

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