NJ greenlights summer camps — with safety measures in place
There’s some good news for New Jersey kids and their parents.
Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order permitting day camps as well as sleepaway camps to open for the summer. But campers, counselors and staff will be required to follow an extensive list of safety rules and regulations.
During the 2020 summer season, sleepaway camps were not permitted in the Garden State because of the pandemic.
On Wednesday during the COVID update in Trenton, state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said officials put together a comprehensive list of required practices that will help ensure everyone’s safety.
She said “all camps must conduct staff training on basic principles of infection control, hand washing practices, personal protective equipment and symptoms of COVID-19.”
She stressed healthy hygiene practices should be taught to all children and adults, a policy of daily screening of campers, staff and visitors will need to be developed and “camp operators should group the same staff and children together to minimize staff and camper movements between groups, otherwise known as cohorting.”
Persichilli said for day camps arrivals and drop off locations should be staggered by groups to limit contact and “mealtimes should also be staggered to ensure that cohorts remain intact.”
She also said during any busing, “social distancing must be maintained between riders and drivers, and cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces should be done on a daily basis.”
“Staff must wear face coverings at all times, except when not practicable, and camps must supply their staff and campers with face coverings," she added.
Campers should also wear face coverings at all times when physical distancing is difficult either indoor or outdoor. They are not required to wear masks when they are within their assigned cohort.
All camps will need to immediately isolate any camper or staffer who gets sick or tests positive for the virus and report the incident to local health officials.
Specifically for sleepaway camps, unvaccinated staff and campers must have negative test results within 72 hours before arriving and must get tested three to six days later.
She said inside bunks at sleepaway camps, beds should be aligned so that people sleet head to toe and at least 6 feet apart.
Persichilli suggested that staff and campers quarantine before heading to camp.