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The pandemic was a tumultuous event for everyone, especially children and adolescents. Months of social isolation have illuminated the decline of mental health and other calamities we have yet to diagnose. With summer in nearly two months, parents are considering alternatives to prevent boredom, increase positive interactions, and a piece of mind while away at work. Pre-Covid, summer camp was the perfect solution for children ages 6-17. A large margin of parents favor programs with the dexterity to guarantee safety since the pandemic.
The New Normal For Summer Camps
More than fourteen million children enjoy attending summer camp each year, and there are roughly 12,000 programs operating in the United States. Children can experience the lifelong and positive benefits of being detached from their computer screens and emerging into a social setting with their peers. In April 2022, the CDC declared that it was safe for kids to return to summer camps while practicing approved safety guidelines. Many of these guidelines included mask mandates, restricted capacity, social distancing, more outdoor activities, and COVID pre-screenings. Although. COVID cases are declining, parents are requesting safety protocol information before enrolling their children.
The Lingering Effects on Children
Children were less likely to develop severe symptoms similar to adults but contributed to the cases in the U.S. by 9,370. Unfortunately, 76 of those cases resulted in death, and the average age of victims was nine years old. Like adults, pre-existing conditions like asthma or congenital heart disease put them at higher risk of complications of COVID-19. Some children contracted long-term symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of smell, headaches, and more.
MISC- C Cases
Two to six weeks after recovering from COVID-19, some children experienced symptoms of a rare condition that causes inflammation through the body. In some cases, symptoms were undetected, but others experienced a fever, stomach pains, diarrhea, skin rash, fatigue, red eyes, sore throat, muscle pain, and more. Half the children in California diagnosed with MISC-C were admitted to the ICU. As we continue to control the threat of COVID, we must remain aware of emerging and transmissible variants that still exist.
Summer camps suffered considerably in 2020. Nearly two out of three programs were forced to close or could not operate in full capacity. Summercamp.com indicates that enrollment was down by 25% for 31% of respondents. As a result, camp directors should prepare information and procedures to support a safe and healthy environment for campers and staff.
Proper Safety Measures
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 8.3 million children between the ages of 12-17 have yet to receive their first dose of vaccines. And with the discontinuation of most mask mandates, there has been an increase in requests for proof of vaccination requirements or frequent PCR tests for campers and staff. To adhere to these recommendations, camp organizers should consider partnering with companies that offer easy-to-use self-testing kits, and a database to monitor COVID results. CrowdHealth’s all-in-one service supplies at-home kits to test for COVID and other infectious diseases within minutes. The results are shared with parents and administration to begin contact tracing and other appropriate protocols to secure the safety of others.
Submit Forms Digitally
There has also been an increased demand for digital interaction. Camp administrators are providing fewer paper forms and alternately having information submitted electronically. CrowdHealth can easily organize critical documents such as medical forms, registration, and daily COVID-19 check-in screenings.
As we advance in our recovery from the impact of COVID, considering our responsibility to keep those safe that can not yet protect themselves fully is imperative. It is easy to forget how disastrous this experience was for the younger generation and the lasting effect on their mental and physical health. With the right modifications, converting to new societal norms can be beneficial and progressive.
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