School is ending and now that Virginia is continuing to reopen, summer camps are once again an option for parents.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced last week the state would move into Phase 2 reopening, which began Friday. While summer camps weren’t specifically mentioned as part of Phase 2, Stacia Roeth, chief operating officer for YMCA of Virginia Peninsulas, said the Virginia Department of Social Services has issued new child care guidelines that allow some camps to reopen.
YMCA of the Virginia Peninsulas is starting summer camps as a result on June 15, and James City County Parks and Recreation programs are set to resume June 29.
Roeth said the summer camps will come with new changes to protect safety. Campers will no longer share equipment and supplies and parents will drop their children off through a drive-thru line that prevents physical contact.
The camps will also continue a new policy that requires surfaces to be disinfected every 30 minutes.
The YMCA also won’t be holding any overnight camps or taking the students on field trips over the summer.
Roeth said she expects there to be many families coming to the camps. Parents began registering their families before the pandemic started in February and many still plan to send their children.
“So we’ve gone through the process of calling all the families and getting an idea of what their comfort level is,” she said. “So some folks won’t put their kid in camp for the summer but some will. So we will see an ebb and flow in capacity in some locations.”
Roeth said there will be limited capacity as the camps try to promote social distancing among the children. Phase 2 guidelines from the Virginia Department of Social Services state that group size limits have increased to 12 for children under 4 years old and to a size of 22 for school-age children up to 13 years old.
Those groups of children can share the same space so long as there is a distance of six feet between them.
But even with these changes, Roeth said she’s glad to provide the opportunity for children to attend summer camps, especially because the camp curriculum provides a helpful educational supplement.
“Parents are beginning to ease back into work and we want to be able to support them through this,” she said. “We understand a lot of parents have been acting as teachers and providers so we want to alleviate that and support [the students] when they go back to school.”
More information about summer camps with the YMCA of the Virginia Peninsulas can be found online.
James City County also announced it would resume its summer programs and camps at the end of June.
The Parks and Recreation Department plans to operate those programs and camps based on guidance from the governor and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Registration for 30 different camp offerings, including REC Connect and teen camps, is now available online. They cover activities from Broadway to science and range in price. Full refunds will be made if any of the camps are canceled due to the coronavirus.
A full list of camps and prices are available online.
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