How summer camps treated COVID-19 as a nuisance
The Garden State wasn't all that worried about the restart of summer camps in the face of COVID-19.
And despite a couple of reported closures due to positive cases, officials and professionals in the industry say the shortened camp season was a success overall, thanks in part to stringent safety protocols that made summer 2020 different than any other at New Jersey campgrounds.
"We did not see any spikes," Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday regarding positive coronavirus cases related to camps. "We felt ... that the protocols around camps opening this summer were good."
According to the American Camp Association, NY and NJ, four associated-accredited camps in New Jersey "had a few cases," but they were quickly contained following health and safety guidelines.
"While you can't completely keep COVID-19 out of the situation, you can jump back very quickly if you have the right protocols in place," said Susie Lupert, executive director of the association.
To avoid the spread of disease, Lupert said, camps kept kids within small cohorts, avoided outside trips and visitors, and screened campers daily.
Of the 1,200 licensed summer camps in New Jersey, about 91 are accredited by the association, the nonprofit said.
According to media reports, a handful of camp programs run by towns were suspended for the season due to one or more positive cases of COVID-19. The summer recreation program for residents was cancelled after several beach and recreation employees tested positive. One ill camper ended the summer for Grade 6-8 camp in Oakland, northjersey.com reported. Several counselors tested positive at Berkeley Township's program, according to Patch.
Individuals under the age of 18 make up a little more than 3% of the state's positive cases, according to the Department of Health.
Gov. Murphy said his administration had plenty of things to worry about this summer regarding COVID-19, but camp was not one of them.
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