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CDC announces interim COVID guidance for operating youth camps

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance for the operation of youth camps, as of May 28, 2021. The State of Illinois has adopted the CDC guidance, which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/summer- camps.html.

This interim guidance is intended to help camp administrators operate camps while slowing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 thereby protecting campers, their families, staff, and communities.

Key Points:                                        

* COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and widely accessible in the United States.        

* Everyone aged 12 years and older is recommended to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible to keep from getting and spreading COVID-19.

* This guidance is intended for all types of youth day and overnight camps. The guidance outlines strategies that camp programs can use to help maintain healthy environments and operations, lower the risk of COVID-19 spread in their programs, prepare for when someone is sick with COVID-19, and support coping and resilience. 

* For camps where everyone is fully vaccinated prior to the start of camp, it is safe to return to full capacity, without masking, and without physical distancing in accordance with CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People; except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.

* Although people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks, camp programs should be supportive of campers or staff who choose to wear a mask. 

* Consistent and layered use of multiple prevention strategies can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect people who are not fully vaccinated including campers, staff, and their families. 

* This guidance describes physical distancing recommendations for youth camps. These recommendations align with current evidence for physical distancing in K-12 schools.

* Campers should be assigned to cohorts that will remain together for the entire camp session without mixing, to the largest extent possible. 

* This CDC guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any federal, state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which camps must comply.

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