With New Jersey’s youth summer camps allowed to open in less than a month, the state put out guidance on what to expect regarding health and safety guidelines for families and children.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order permitting the camps to open on July 6, giving families an alternative to traditional childcare centers. As part of that order, which also allows organized sports to begin, health and safety standards were established for child campers to avoid spreading or catching COVID-19.
Camps will be allowed to open that first Monday of July if they develop and implement a COVID Operation Plan that is approved by the state’s Department of Health. That plan must include the following guidelines:
- Cloth face coverings required for staff and campers, and must be worn when social distancing between assigned groups cannot be maintained
- Staff encouraged to wear masks while working, unless it would inhibit the worker’s health, if the worker is in extreme heat outdoors, or the worker is in water
- Rules regarding cloth face coverings do not apply to children under the age of 2, as it presents a suffocation risk
- Daily health screenings for the coronavirus added at the entry for campers and staff
- All camps (both indoor and outdoor) should try as much as possible to have groups of children remain the same each day, and the staff with each group remain the same as well
The state also listed some usual camp features that will not be allowed this summer, including residential and overnight camps still prohibited. Any mixing between groups of campers should be restricted as much as possible, the health department’s guidelines stated, and any off-site activities, field trips, contact sports and inter-group competitions are still banned as well.
“Summers for our children means being outdoors and engaging in activities with friends, and for many, day camps are an important part of their summer,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “These guidelines will help ensure the health and safety of our children, camp workers and the greater community from the infection and spread of COVID-19.”
Childcare centers can get up to $5,000 from the state’s Department of Human Services to help meet the health and safety guidelines (including the purchase of cleaning products, PPE such as masks, gloves and thermometers, and others), while youth camps are eligible for up to $2,000.