Summer camp safety: CDC releases new guidelines

Ottawa County

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Summer camp will begin in less than three weeks for Camp Geneva in Holland. 

“We are so excited to have kids at camp this summer,” said Kevin VanderKlok, the camp director at Camp Geneva. 

Hundreds of kids from ages 5 to 19 will be attendance throughout the summer. 

“Right now, we’re at about 3,600 or 3,700 kids who are coming to camp,” VanderKlok said. 

Most of the camp’s activities will be held outdoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs — which licenses camps — do not require kids to wear a mask outdoors regardless of vaccination status. 

“When kids arrive, we’ll be playing games outside and swimming in the pool in cabin groups,” said VanderKlok. “Rather than doing everything in large groups, we’ll be splitting up with the group in your cabin.”

Eight to 10 kids will be placed in each cabin. 

The CDC strongly recommends mask usage indoors for unvaccinated people, including children. 

LARA is requiring masks usage indoors for unvaccinated kids; however, they will not be required when kids sleep. 

Campers will spend most of their time outdoors but if they are indoors with a large group of people, they’ll need to wear a mask. 

“When they go inside due to an inclement weather situation to use the gymnasium or inflatable obstacle course, they’d need to be masked up,” VanderKlok said. 

Camp was held last year with similar guidelines as this year. More than 2,000 kids were in attendance. 

“We had 2,081 kids come to camp and 80 college student staff members and not a single case of COVID,” VanderKlok said. “We ran camp in small groups and outdoors. It went well.”

They’re hoping for a similar outcome this year. 

“The thing that sounds like is best to have fun in COVID is to be outside and to have the most precaution,” VanderKlok said.

Camp Geneva is still looking for staff to help run the camp. To apply for a position or register your kid for camp, and a complete list of safety protocols, you can head to campgeneva.com.

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