NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While schools, businesses, and sports are waiting to resume, summer camps are next industry to potentially be impacted by the spread of the coronavirus.
Many like Long Island mother Jill Smith are hoping their kids can go to camp this summer. Smith’s 13-year-old daughter Allie is hoping to go back to Pocono Springs camp in Pennsylvania for the third time.
“Camp is literally for Allie her home away from home,” said Jill Smith in an interview with CBS2’s Nina Kapur. “She looks forward to it all year long.”
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Like Allie’s, many camps are planning to be fully operational this summer. The big key will be whether or not the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health will give them the go ahead by the time camps across the tri-state area are supposed to start in June.
“At this point, camps are moving forward,” said Susie Lupert, from the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey. “The information we’re getting from the state and from local departments of health is that they’re not quite sure, but certainly everybody is hopefuly.”
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With about 80 days to go until most camps prepare to start, Lupert is cautiously optimistic and she’s urging parents to not count camps out just yet.
Lupert says kids need summer camp now more than ever. Friends are only being connected through a screen since they’re constantly apart due to social distancing and school closures.
“The idea of children being at camp, learning those face-to-face interactions, socializing, learning new skills, being outside … I think is going to be really really key,” said Lupert.
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Lupert told CBS2 that camps have always dealt with infectious diseases, like the swine flu in 2009 and last summer’s measles outbreak.
Most camps already have plans and full medical staffs in place, but Lupert still advises parents to call ahead and make sure the camps their kids are signed up for are licensed by the Department of Health. Parents should also ask what the response would be should the coronavirus make an unwelcome appearance.
“What if camp is cancelled,” said Smith. “It would be heartbreaking for her [Allie.]”
Some of the camps that are already canceling serve kids with special health needs. As for everyone else, it’s just wait and see.