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Governor Murphy and Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli announced today the guidelines for both sleepaway and day camps for the summer of 2021. Both overnight and day camps will be allowed to operate this summer, but there are still a lot of COVID requirements to keep kids and staff safe.

All of last summer’s guidelines for day camps about keeping to cohorts and handwashing and social distancing from other groups are still a major part of these new guidelines. Here are some of the biggest new rules you’ll see in place at camps this summer:

  • Daily health screenings will be required. Campers and staff will need to have their temperatures taken either at camp or at home and parents will be required to fill out a survey about any possible COVID symptoms and their travel to certain states.
  • Staff must be trained on handwashing and proper PPE usage and taught how to look for symptoms, while campers should also be taught about healthy hygiene practices.
  • Cohorts will be a big part of camp this summer, both for sleepaway and day camps. When possible, day camps should aim to stagger arrivals and meals for staff and campers by cohort.
  • Masks must be worn indoors at all times by staff and campers, and outdoors when they aren’t in their assigned cohorts or physical distancing isn’t possible.
  • Outdoor activities are strongly encouraged.
  • Buses require social distancing between drivers and campers, and also masks should be worn on buses.
  • Camps must clean and disinfect common areas and equipment regularly.
  • Camps must have an assigned policy if a camper gets sick, which includes isolation and reporting COVID cases to health officials.
  • Specific to sleepaway camps and overnight facilities, all unvaccinated staff and campers must have negative COVID test results within 72 hours of arriving on site. After arriving, unvaccinated staff and campers are required to take another test within 3-6 days of arrival. Camp operators should encourage campers and staff to quarantine prior to arrival at camp.
  • Campers are not required to wear masks in their bunks or when they are in their assigned cohorts.
  • Beds should be arranged head-to-toe in bunks so they are 6 feet apart and have adequate ventilation.

Check with the New Jersey Department of Health or the American Camp Association of NY & NJ if you have questions or concerns about sending your kids to camp this summer.

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