Kansas City-area summer camps outline COVID-19 safety precautions

Jewish Community Center Summer Camp
Posted at 4:42 PM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 18:16:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With summer vacation quickly approaching, thousands of kids will be out of school and summer camps will be in full swing.

"Coming into this summer, it feels like we've done this before. We ran camp last summer. I've got staff that have done this before," DD Gass, Director of Camps and School Age Services at The Jewish Community Center said.

A number of camps will be in operation this summer, something that did not happen last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite an increase in the number of vaccinations and lower COVID-19 rates, camps are taking a number of precautions.

"Last summer, we had to make it a little smaller because of health department guidelines for sizes of groups. This summer, we will have a bit of a larger groups," Gass said.

The Jewish Community Center served about 300 kids last summer. This year, the camp will have 650 kids enrolled.

Now, the center is going the extra mile to protect everyone by encouraging staff members to get vaccinated.

"They are giving us the proof, the vaccination card. So we have lots of staff that are already vaccinated," Gass said.

The Jewish Community Center will follow advice from local health departments guidelines. This means still following mitigation efforts like social distancing and wearing masks.

New changes are also in store for the YMCA in Greater Kansas City, starting with field trips.

"Our buses won't be at the capacity that they would normally be at during a regular summer camp. They will be at half capacity, so we can keep kids separate. Keeping those windows down on the buses," Steve Scraggs, YMCA of Greater Kansas City Senior Vice President of Youth Development said.

The YMCA will still require everyone to wear masks. When it comes to activities like pool time, organizers will work with health department on how to make it safe.

"When we have had special camps throughout the year, [we've had] kids who are in the pool with masks on. So it's something that we've done and something we will continue to do if that's what the municipalities and the county government or the CDC recommends," Scraggs said.

While safety is top priority for camps, they just want kids to have fun.

"Certainly an experience that will impact their life and these types of learning experiences will help them be better adults," Scraggs said.