RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The summer is just around the corner. For many families, that means sending kids to camp.

If you are wondering about how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic may affect your child’s summer plans, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recently released a set of COVID-19 guidelines for overnight summer camps.

Here are the latest recommendations from the VDH for keeping summer camp activities safe in light of the pandemic.

Vaccination

  • All campers and staff ages 5 and older should be up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters if they are eligible.

Masking

  • Camps should follow the VDH’s masking recommendations, including wearing a mask if symptoms appear.
  • Masking is recommended in the 10 days after a positive COVID-19 test and in the 10 days following exposure to a person with COVID-19.
  • Indoor masking is encouraged, especially when participating in activities in the larger community. 
  • Some children, including those with certain disabilities, may find it difficult to wear a mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information about the use and care of masks for children and people with disabilities.
  • Individuals who are at high risk for severe disease should talk to their healthcare provider about wearing a mask in indoor settings. 

Testing

  • Check with your camp about guidelines for how to submit proof of your child’s negative viral test taken one to three days before arrival.
  • If necessary, camps may consider issuing both diagnostic and screening testing to detect a COVID-19 infection.

Screening

  • The VDH encourages all camps to develop a plan to reduce the risk posed by infectious campers and staff. Make sure to check with your camp organizers for these protocols. Information on how to monitor COVID-19 symptoms is also available from the CDC.

Ventilation

  • Outdoor activities should be prioritized as often as possible.
  • Camps have been encouraged to limit gatherings that include participants from multiple parties to ones that can take place outside
  • Check your camp’s “indoor air action plan” aimed at improving air quality and reducing the risks of airborne viruses.