Pack your bags: sleepover camps for kids will be allowed in Connecticut this summer, the state’s Office of Early Childhood told NBC Connecticut.
They said they’re currently working on specific guidance for those overnight camps.
Meanwhile this weekend, the CDC issued their suggestions for a safe summer camp experience, including guidelines for overnight camps.
The CDC recommends always wearing a mask except when eating, drinking or swimming and kids should be kept in pods and stay at least 3 feet from each other, six feet while eating.
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In addition, they suggest that if eligible, staff, volunteers, campers and their family members get fully vaccinated before camp. For those who aren’t vaccinated, you'll have to provide proof of a negative viral COVID-19 test taken one to three days before the start of camp.
With this new guidance, the state said they’ll soon be updating their safety protocols for summer camps they released last month.
As the CT Camping Association explains, camps in Connecticut follow state guidelines which are created with CDC guidance in mind.
While day camps could run with restrictions last summer, overnight camps were closed in Connecticut.
The YMCA of Greater Hartford looks forward to hosting again.
“This year we’re excited about resident camp. We’re going to work with the CDC and the Connecticut state guidelines to ensure that we have a productive summer, and most importantly a safe summer for the kids and families that we serve,” said CEO and President of YMCA of Greater Hartford Harold Sparrow.
They’re still accepting spots for day and overnight camp.
“We’re very optimistic about this summer, we’re seeing very positive responses to summer camp enrollment,” said Sparrow.
“Our issue really is to manage the numbers so we have a safe camp, and to manage the expectations so that everybody can have a fun time,” said Sparrow, who said kids can’t all attend a certain week or two, rather they have to be spread out all summer because of cohort size requirements.
Meanwhile, Winding Trails Day Camp in Farmington already has a waiting list.
“We’re ready to have another great summer and give kids the opportunity to be outside to meet new friends in a fun safe place and do some really cool things,” said Keith Garbart, camp director at Winding Trails and vice president of the CT Camping Association.
After months of being cooped up, he and others we spoke to said the pandemic proved the importance of camps for kids, even with COVID-19 protocols in place last year.
“It looked different, but I don’t think to them it felt different,” said Garbart.
He added, “It was actually probably one of our best camp seasons that we ever had to be honest with you,” with smaller group sizes making for closer connections between campers and counselors.
Seven-year-old Olivia of West Hartford is already excited to look for fish at Winding Trails camp, after loving it last year.
“Kids, you know, they’re so resilient. They all did such a good job. Like the masks and all of the health precautions and they had a great summer,” said her mother Melodi Kinsella.