What can school districts learn from COVID outbreaks at summer camps?

Camps in several states experience outbreaks

Children’s camps in multiple states have all experienced COVID outbreaks.

Children’s camps in multiple states have all experienced COVID outbreaks.

In some of the states the outbreak started at camp and then spread when the children returned home. Many experts are worried that it’s a sign of things to come when children go back to school.

Summer camps across central Texas are unexpectedly shutting down after several children tested positive for coronavirus.

Mallory Grimes, 8, was one of the children who tested positive for coronavirus. Camp staff are now being quarantined.

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“I think we probably let our guard down a little bit, thinking that most things were getting back to normal,” Mallory Grimes’ father, Don Grimes, said.

So far, 31 campers at a New York sleepaway camp have tested positive. Camp Pontiac said those affected are between 7 and 11 years old, which means they are too young to be vaccinated. Nearly all have been sent home, along with 88 close contacts.

“It’s really tough because you get one positive kid in a bunk or dormitory that houses 15 kids. Kids, they don’t socially distance if they don’t have to,” Columbia County Public Health Director Jack Mabb said.

The camp outbreaks are raising concern about children returning to school in the fall. Across the nation, some major school districts have already announced that masks will be mandatory. Some school districts are making masks optional.

“I just want the whole thing to be over and everybody to be safe. If that means we have to mask up and go back to where we were a few months ago, I’m going to do it,” Don Grimes said.

Experts said many camps have been successful at keeping COVID out this summer, or limiting spread when cases do occur.

Read: Continuous coronavirus coverage

About the Authors:

You can watch Kimberly Gill weekdays anchoring Local 4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. and streaming live at 10 p.m. on Local 4+. She's an award-winning journalist who finally called Detroit home in 2014. Kim has won Regional Emmy Awards, and was part of the team that won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast in 2022.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.