This page outlines day camp safety guidance for parents and caregivers.
- Day camps settings have many benefits, including: spaces for learning, making friends, exercise, and social and emotional development.
- These benefits help with the physical and mental well-being of children and youth.
- Staff are ensuring all health and safety guidelines are followed.
- Children and youth are less likely than adults to catch or spread COVID-19.
- Day camps offer childcare for parents who need to work.
Very few children and youth get sick from COVID-19. In BC, children and youth have had much lower rates of COVID-19 than adults. If children and youth do get sick with COVID-19, they generally have mild symptoms. Parents and caregivers should focus on preventing the spread of COVID-19 between adults.
Some children and youth may have a higher chance of more serious symptoms if they get COVID-19. This includes children under 1 year of age, those with weakened immune systems and those with pre-existing lung conditions. Check with your healthcare provider if you have concerns.
It is your choice to send your child to day camp if:
- They are healthy and not showing symptoms and
- Have not been identified by public health as a close contact to a positive case of COVID-19 and
- Have finished their 14-day self-isolation period if they have travelled outside of Canada.
All day camps have put measures in place to help reduce the spread of the virus. You can protect your child and others by following the guidelines below.
- Check your child daily to see if they have any COVID-19 symptoms before going to day camp.
- If they have any symptoms:
- Do not send them to day camp.
- Use the self-assessment tool at bc.thrive.health, call 8-1-1, or contact your health care provider to see if they need COVID-19 testing.
- Teach them about common COVID-19 symptoms if they are old enough to understand.
- If a parent or caregiver is sick, but does not have COVID-19, their child can be sent to day camp if the child does not have symptoms. Have another parent or caregiver who is not sick bring your child to day camp.
- If a parent or caregiver has COVID-19, their child cannot go to day camp until allowed by public health.
- Have everyone wash their hands with soap and water before they leave for day camp and after they get home.
- Adults should keep 2 metres from other adults not in their own household when dropping off or picking up their children.
- Drop off your child at drop-off times assigned by staff. Be patient as staff may take longer to sign them in and out. Avoid going into the day camp setting if possible.
- Clean all items your child takes to day camp (e.g., cell phones, bottles, and lunch containers) before and after day camp each day.
- If food is not provided, pack lunches in thermos containers and/or insulated lunch bags with an ice pack and avoid dropping off meals during the day if possible. Be sure to pack a full water bottle.
Outside of the day camp setting
- Follow all guidance from public health
- Limit play dates to the same children as much as possible
- Wash hands often, including before and after they play, go outside, eat, use the washroom or touch shared things like sports equipment, art supplies or toys.
- Be aware that some hand sanitizers are not safe for children and youth. Read labels carefully. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is approved by Health Canada.
- Encourage children and youth to avoid physical contact. This is more important than keeping 2 metres apart.
- Teach children and youth about keeping their hands below their shoulders, so they don't touch their face.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with elbows or tissues. Put tissues straight in the garbage.
- Masks are not recommended for children in day camp settings as they may lead to increased touching of the face. Some parents may choose to have their older children wear a non-medical mask. Respect others’ choices to wear or not wear a mask.
- If an older child wants to wear a mask, show them how to do so safely.
- Avoid sharing food, drinks, and other personal items. Remind children that when using a water fountain to let the water run for 10 seconds and not to put their mouth on the spout. They should also wash their hands before and after using the fountain.
- Listen to any concerns about going to day camp
- Let them ask questions
- Tell them what their day camp setting is doing to help keep them safe
- Maintain familiar activities like mealtimes and outdoor exercise
- Focus on and acknowledge positive behaviours like hand washing
- Help them realize that they can do a lot to protect themselves and others, such as staying home if they are sick.
Information is also available for summer day camp operators
, administrators and staff on preventing COVID-19 and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for campers and staff.