Should Kids Go to Camp This Summer? Doctors Say “Yes!”

girl camper with magnifying glass

Researchers at Duke Health, Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian studied YMCA of the Triangle summer day camps last year where COVID-19 safety protocols were strictly enforced, including masking, distancing and hand-washing. There were only 19 cases of COVID-19 among 5,344 staff and 1,486 youth, with only two of those cases linked to possible on-site transition at the Y when COVID rates were hitting their peak in North Carolina last summer. 

“These results suggest that the benefit of in-person programming for supporting youth learning and mental health, particularly in vulnerable populations, outweighs the risk of viral spread,” said Dr. Permar, who was recruited as the Nancy C. Paduano Professor of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine. “This is true not only in a school setting, but in a camp setting where children are engaging in activities like playing outside and at the gym and doing crafts.”

YMCA camps across North Carolina followed strict safety protocols and NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidelines last summer, and staff are preparing for this year's camp with the latest learnings and DHHS guidelines in place. Screening and testing will be a significant part of camp precautions this year. 

Learn more about the research in this Duke Health article and this Weill Cornell Medicine article.

(Feb. 3, 2021)