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CDC issues strange summer camp guidelines

The CDC has issued new summer camp guidelines that many say are arbitrary and contradictory. The rules are being mocked on social media as out-of-step with reality.

The new guidance says that kids attending summer camp should get no closer than 3 feet of each other and should eat alone – or at least 6 feet from each other. That means one child at each end of an 8-foot table. And you can forget about roasting s’mores and hotdogs around a campfire while telling ghost stories.

But getting to summer camp is also an issue. The new guidelines have restrictions on transportation that are not even applied to the nation’s airline industry. The guidelines on transport to summer camp would have 15 kids riding a bus meant for 6o with just one child per row and an empty row between. According to the guidelines just two children per 15-passenger church van would be allowed. The requirements will greatly increase the cost of transportation and staffing.

READ: Summer camps are still relevant

It also continues the policy of wearing masks to limit the spread of COVID-19 except when “eating or swimming.” The new policy, say critics, continues to contradict CDC findings that show children are the least susceptible to Covid and extremely unlikely to spread it.

The CDC’s updated recommendations, issued on Saturday, have been eagerly awaited by parents plus churches and other camp organizers. But most were left disappointed saying keeping kids 3 feet apart at a camp, which is meant to encourage team building and outdoor physical activities, is ridiculous. In many parts of the nation, summer temps are in the 90s and often near 100. Wearing “double masks” outdoors as the CDC recommends, would pose more risks to students suffering heatstroke than contracting Covid say parents.

The agency contends its camp guidance aligns with its evidence for social distancing at schools, with at least 3 feet between children—and at least 6 feet when eating and drinking. Camp counselors and other adults should stay at least 6 feet from children and each other, the CDC said.

Summer camp activities should be held outdoors as much as possible, and if indoors, doors and windows should be left open when possible, the CDC said. Group events and large gatherings should be avoided, it added, virtually wiping out group activities which summer camps are built upon.

COVID-19 vaccinations have ramped up across the country, but younger children are not currently authorized for the three shots approved in the United States because of their low infection rate. Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for use starting at age 16, with approval now being sought for children ages 12 to 15. Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson are studying their vaccines in children.

The table below is sorted by mask order start dates. To sort by another column, click a column header.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice