Some area day camps reopen to the public with new covid-19 safety approach

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Hand washing, face masks and smaller playgroups are just some of the things camps like the YMCA and the Orchard Park day camp have put in place to keep kids safe from the spread of Coronavirus.

The New York State Department of health is letting camps open-up this week, and that means, day camps at organizations like the YMCA and the Orchard Park camp at Green Lake Yates Park are now in full swing. 

The day camps have taken several measures to make sure kids and staff are safe. All staff members have to wear face masks and face masks are optional for campers. Also, equipment is cleaned after every activity and the campers play in small groups. 

“At drop off every day parents remain in the car, only their kids get out, we go through the covid-19 questionnaire, we take their temperatures, anybody who’s over 99 is asked to go back home. The same with our staff, our staff are checked as soon as they arrive,” said Kristin Welch assistant director of recreation.

Every year, the YMCA hosts dozens of day camp programs across Western New York. During the pandemic, they were steadfast in offering emergency childcare to those who needed it and now, they’re offering a covid-safe day camp.

“It starts at check-in, so when employees check in, they have a wellness check with their temperature, parents, we have a touchless curbside pick u, so parents just pull up we take their child’s temperatures, ask them health questions, and then they’re able to wash their hands and join their group,” said Penny Snell vice president of program quality and innovation for YMCA.

Many of the campers are excited about getting out to have some fun after being home for months. 

“It’s good to feel fresh air,” said Josiah Schoch camper in Orchard Park

“It’s really fun, and I’m just glad that I’m out of the house, because it gets boring,” said Maya Griffin Orchard Park camper. “So, it’s fun to be at camp and kayaking and doing fun games and stuff.”

Overnight camps are still not allowed in the state.

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