Children screaming in the woods will be back this summer — in a good way.
Both day and sleepaway camps in New York will be allowed to reopen in June, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week, as long as they have proper Covid-19 testing protocols in place.
It’s still unknown what those protocols will look like, although last summer they included smaller group sizes, health screenings and increased equipment sanitization. In his announcement last week, Cuomo said the state’s Department of Health would have further guidance on the situation for parents.
Last summer, day camps were allowed to operate but overnight camps were banned.
“We’re seeing a ton of studies coming out right now about the mental health of children and the results of the isolation that they’ve had this past year,” said Susie Lupert, executive director of the American Camp Association, NY and NJ. “Camp really is an antidote to that.”
Some New York camps celebrated the news on social media:
To Our Echo Community:
We are thrilled to share that earlier today Governor Cuomo announced that Overnight summer camps can plan on reopening (on schedule). 
— Camp Echo (@thecampecho) February 17, 2021
View this post on Instagram
New York may look to Connecticut, where camps have had the greenlight to operate, as it implements its own Covid-19 safety protocols. In the Nutmeg State, only 14 kids may attend a camp, and facilities must have enhanced cleaning protocols in place. Face coverings must also be worn by staffers.
In New Jersey, an announcement for the 2021 season has yet to be made. Last year, New Jersey day camps were allowed to operate, while sleepaway camps were not. The state also issued a set of guidelines in 2020 that included regular temperature checks, face coverings worn by campers and staff, and limiting attendance numbers for indoor and outdoor day camps.
“We’re in a very different landscape than we were last summer, in terms of what we know about the virus,” Lupert said. “We are hopeful that day camps will look and feel pretty normal to a kid.”