summer camp

What Will Summer Camp Be Like in NJ? State Unveils COVID Guidance

Masking and social distancing are expected to be part of the 2021 summer camp experience in New Jersey

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Camp will be back in New Jersey this summer with COVID-19 distancing and masking safety protocols in place.

Gov. Phil Murphy said he would sign an executive order clearing the way for New Jersey overnight, youth and day caps to operate this summer.

"We’re committed to a safe and fun summer for our kids," the first-term Democrat said at his Wednesday coronavirus news briefing.

For all camps, masking and distancing rules in place last summer will continue this summer, New Jersey Department of Health Secretary Judith Persichilli said about her department's guidance.

Last summer there were no COVID outbreaks reported due to the successful mitigation efforts. "We're looking forward to another summer where children can safely enjoy their camps," Persichilli

Whenever possible, activities should be done outdoors, she said. And when indoors, campers should wear a mask.

All camps must train staff for health hygiene and COVID-19 practices. Each camp must also have a daily coronavirus screening plan and cleaning program.

Camps groups should be cohorted -- to minimize contact with other groups -- and meal times and drop-offs should be staggered, Persichilli said.

Campers should wear masks whenever 6 feet of distance between campers and staff isn't possible.

Campers are not, however, required to mask when they are in their bunk or within their cohort, she said.

Social distancing should be adhered to on buses to and from camps.

Overnight camps face an extra level of scrutiny as anyone who isn't vaccinated -- which is common since vaccines are only approved for people 16 and older -- must get a negative COVID test result within 72 hours of arriving at camp and within three to six days of arriving at camp, Murphy said.

Overnight camps should try to align beds for people to sleep head to toe and at least 6 feet apart, Persichilli said.

Click here for the full NJDOH summer camp guidance.

The statewide regulations come after recently released guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, are much on par with the CDC plan.

Children attending summer camp can get within 3 feet of each other, but should wear masks to limit the spread of COVID-19, the CDC said.

Masks should not be worn when swimming, napping, eating or drinking, however, it is recommended that campers stay at least 6 feet apart for these activities. Camp counselors and other adults should stay at least 6 feet from children and each other, the CDC said.

The camp guidance was released as New Jersey gets closer to its goal of getting 4.7 million adults vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of June. To date, more than 6.8 million doses have been given, with 2.9 million people fully vaccinated, Murphy said.

COVID-19 cases in New Jersey have been on the decline recently as the rate of transmission has dropped to 0.80 and the most recent positivity rate is 8.99%.

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