COVID-19 Story Tip: Tips for Parents before Sending Their Child to Summer School or Camp During The Pandemic

06/30/2020

We’re a few days into the summer season and, with many restrictions being lifted amid the COVID-19 pandemic, summer school programs and camps have opened or will open soon. Children may be eager to play and interact with the other kids, but there will likely be changes at the schools and camps.

“Social interaction, engaging learning opportunities and physical activity are critically important for kids’ emotional and physical well-being. And high-quality child care outside of the home is essential for many families. We must work to get our kids back to these activities. While we figure out the best way to do this safely, there will be a lot of new routines and practices to follow,” says Katherine Connor, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and medical director at the Ruth and Norman Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education.

Some changes that children may experience include smaller groups at camps, maintaining 6 feet of distance from other children, frequent hand-washing and daily temperature checks. Connor says children and staff members should be checked for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure to the new coronavirus so they do not place others at risk.

“The health and safety routines schools and camps must put in place may be frightening or stressful for some kids,” Connor says. Parents can help prepare their children by learning about the routines ahead of time, explaining them and why they are needed in a developmentally appropriate way, and taking precautions like hand-washing at home. Pointing out how following these practices can help keep them and others safe is especially important since it gives kids a sense of control in uncertain times.

Connor recommends the COVID-19 Activity Book and other resources found on Johns Hopkins Children’s Center website for communicating about COVID-19 with children.

Connor and LaToya Mobley, M.S.W., Johns Hopkins Harriet Lane clinic social worker, are available to speak with media about what parents can do to prepare their children for camp or summer school amid a pandemic.


For information from Johns Hopkins Medicine about the coronavirus pandemic, visit hopkinsmedicine.org/coronavirus. For information on the coronavirus from throughout the Johns Hopkins enterprise, including the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Johns Hopkins University, visit coronavirus.jhu.edu.