Day Camps and Summer Recreation Programs

COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance

Last updated: Mar 24, 2021

The State of Maine has adopted a multi-layered approach to COVID-19 guidance—supported by science, public health expertise, and industry collaboration—to help Maine businesses and community organizations operate safely. As we enter the second year of the pandemic, these updated guidelines highlight the importance of employing multi-layered mitigation strategies to keep Maine businesses, employees, and residents as safe as possible from COVID-19 transmission. Public health guidance will continue to evolve as we learn which mitigation strategies most effectively reduce transmission risk.

No single measure or action will completely prevent transmission of COVID-19. Use of multiple strategies—sometimes called layered mitigation—provides greater protection than implementing a single strategy alone. When multiple mitigation strategies—including masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and ventilation—are consistently and correctly used, risk of transmission is decreased. 

Certain business sectors and activities may have additional guidance specific to those settings. Please make sure you pair this general guidance with industry-specific guidance available at https://www.maine.gov/decd/covid-19-prevention-checklists.

For the latest information on travel policies and Executive Orders related to COVID-19 visit the Office of the Governor’s COVID-19 Response website: https://www.maine.gov/covid19.

Day Camps and Summer Recreation Programs

Day Camps and Summer Recreation Program Guidance

  1. General considerations
    1. Quarantine
      1. Out-of-state campers and staff must adhere to the requirements of the Moving Maine Forward plan, completing the required testing or quarantine prior to camper arrival.
      2. Residents of states exempted from the quarantine and testing requirements for visiting Maine are also exempt from these requirements for the purpose of working at or attending camp.
    2. Group size is limited per Executive Order. Gatherings are subject to the following limits:
      1. All indoor gatherings:
        1. Effective March 26, 2021 through May 23, 2021: 50% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons, whichever is greater.
        2. Effective May 24, 2021 and thereafter: 75% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons, whichever is greater.
      2. Any outdoor gathering taking place at a facility or event that is subject to a permitted occupancy limit is subject to the following limits:
        1. Effective March 26, 2021 through May 23, 2021: 75% of permitted occupancy.
        2. Effective May 24, 2021 and thereafter: 100% of permitted occupancy.
    3. Please be aware that camps may be subject to closure per CDC recommendations if there is an outbreak within the camp.
    4. Camps are encouraged to review the American Camp Association's operations guide for more specific recommendations on running a camp for the 2021 season.                                                                                                        
  2. Health screenings
    1. Check for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 among staff and campers each day.
    2. Camp directors may use examples of screening methods in CDC's Supplemental Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open as a guide for screening campers and CDC's Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers on screening staff.
    3. Require staff to stay home if they are sick and parents to keep sick campers home                                                                                                                      
  3. Promote healthy practices
    1. Masks must be worn by all individuals (including staff, visitors, vendors, and campers) at all times when age and developmentally appropriate, with the exception of activities that cannot be done masked (e.g. eating and swimming), which should be done by cohort. 
      1. Wear a mask correctly and consistently for the best protection. Information about proper use of masks is available from the US CDC (see: Considerations for Wearing Masks).
    2. Teach and reinforce washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes among children and staff.
    3. Have adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer), tissues, and no-touch trashcans.
    4. Use appropriate PPE for staff interacting with ill campers consistent with CDC guidelines for its use in suspected communicable disease including the consideration procedural masks and eye protection.                                            
  4. Ensure physical distancing
    1. Camp directors should ensure camp and staff are separated into small groups/cohorts that remain as consistent as possible over a camper’s time in the program.
    2. Consider programs that function by group including dining/activity groups.
    3. Utilize physical distancing between cohorts, especially when masks cannot be worn such as in dining facilities and swimming areas.
    4. Day camps utilizing public spaces should use areas where their cohort groups can maintain adequate separation from the public.
    5. Limit gatherings, events, and extracurricular activities to those for which participants can be masked, maintain physical distancing, and support proper hand hygiene.
    6. Restrict nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving other groups.
    7. Space all seating at least six feet apart.
    8. Consider use of ground markings and other cueing tools to help campers maintain physical distancing in group settings.
    9. Stagger arrival and drop-off times or locations, or put in place other protocols to limit direct contact with parents as much as possible. Encourage car-line drop-off and pick-up systems and single-family vehicles. Discourage carpooling and parents entering the camp area.                                                  
  5. Programmatic considerations
    1. Camp directors will alter programmatic activities to reflect current recommendations for masking, physical distancing, and group size.
    2. Dining: Consider serving meals in smaller groups rather than the entire camp at one time.
      1. Serve food in a manner that allows for distancing between cohorts. If buffet lines are used, use a single server and serve a single cohort at a time to minimize close exposures during food service.
      2. Day camps should assess their meal plans and consider campers bringing their own lunches.
    3. Avoid field trips to public gathering places and recreational establishments with uncontrolled and/or unmonitored contact with non-camp participants (such as restaurants, entertainment, or retail settings).
    4. It may be possible to permit small groups to travel to nearby recreational areas where interaction with the non-camp community is not expected. If day camps choose to plan field trips, consider the risk of transportation and minimize contact intensity through physical distancing, use of masks, and traveling with small, consistent groups.
    5. If buses or other transport vehicles are used, limit the number of individuals in the vehicle and distance as much as possible. All occupants of the vehicle are required to wear a mask for the duration of the ride. Everyone in the vehicle should wash or sanitize their hands before entering and as soon as possible after exiting the vehicle.
      1. Maximize ventilation in the vehicle cabin to lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
        • Fully opening all vehicle windows is the most efficient way to increase ventilation in the vehicle cabin.
        • If fully opening all vehicle windows is not possible, open all windows halfway or fully open two of the windows in the vehicle.
        • In the event of extreme weather, when opening windows is not possible, use the vehicle’s vents to bring in fresh outside air—avoid using the recirculated air option for the vehicle’s ventilation during transport.
    6. Planning should include accommodations for inclement weather that could affect physical distancing of staff and campers.
    7. Outdoor playgrounds can be used with appropriate care. Post signage advising the use of hand sanitizer both before and after use of the playground and maintaining physical distancing as much as possible.
  6. Limit sharing
    1. Ensure adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high-touch materials assigned to a single camper or cohort (i.e. art supplies) and/or ensure hand washing/sanitizing before and after touching objects.
    2. Consider pre-packaged boxes or individual bags of snacks to avoid sharing by campers and staff. Provide pre-plated meals for each camper and staff, where possible. Avoid sharing of foods and utensils by campers.
  7. High-risk populations
    1. Vulnerable or high-risk populations require special consideration for day programs. Camp directors should work with staff, camper parents, and primary care providers to determine if camp is a reasonably safe option for campers and staff with conditions that might place them at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. For the most up to date information on this topic, see US CDC guidance on conditions that place individuals at increased risk of severe illness (see: People with Certain Medical Conditions).
    2. Families of campers with high-risk individuals must consider COVID exposure risks if they send their child to camp and determine if attending camp is safe.
    3. Vaccination is strongly recommended for all who are eligible and even more so for camp participants who are at higher risk.                                                         
  8. Cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation
    1. Refer to the CDC cleaning guidance for general information.
    2. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces within the camp and on buses at least daily (for example door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains).
    3. For information on how to clean and disinfect buses see guidance for bus transit operators.
    4. Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants and keep products away from children.
    5. Ensure that ventilation systems operate properly and take steps to improve ventilation in the building.
      1. Increase the percentage of outdoor air (e.g., using economizer modes of HVAC operations) potentially as high as 100% (first verify compatibility with HVAC system capabilities for both temperature and humidity control as well as compatibility with outdoor/indoor air quality considerations).
      2. Increase total airflow supply to occupied spaces, if possible.
      3. Disable demand-control ventilation (DCV) controls that reduce air supply based on temperature or occupancy.
      4. Use natural ventilation (i.e., opening windows if possible and safe to do so) to increase outdoor air dilution of indoor air when environmental conditions and building requirements allow.
      5. Consider relocating operations to outdoor spaces or other nontraditional venues that allow for increased airflow, if possible.
    6. Take steps to ensure that all water systems and features (for example, drinking fountains, decorative fountains) are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water.
    7. Clean sinks and bottle filling stations frequently. Consider restricting the use of water fountains to refill only with instruction for visitors to wash hands after use. Provide disposable cups for water fountains and refillable water jugs.
  9. Education and communications
    1. Camps should create and train all staff and campers on the camps’ COVID-19 communicable disease guidelines, including their role in compliance with prevention guidelines.
    2. Information should be provided to all staff on proper use, removal, and disposal or washing of masks.
    3. Post signs on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, properly wash hands, promote everyday protective measures, and properly wear a mask.
    4. Provide educational materials in advance to parents and guardians for sharing with children prior to camp and reinforce awareness at staff and camper orientation and periodically thereafter throughout the camp experience.
    5. Create a communication system for staff and families for self-reporting of symptoms and notification of exposures and closures.
  10. Plan for when a staff, camper, or visitor becomes sick
    1. Work with camp directors, nurses, or other healthcare providers to identify an isolation room or area to separate anyone who exhibits COVID-like symptoms and make immediate plans for the camp participant to be transported home.
    2. Individuals caring for a sick person should use appropriate PPE and Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions.
    3. Establish procedures to safely and promptly transport anyone sick home or to a healthcare facility.
    4. Close off areas used by someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and do not use before cleaning and disinfection. Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants and keep disinfectant products away from campers.
    5. Advise sick staff members and camper families not to return until they have met CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation. Campers and staff with symptoms suspicious for COVID-19 should be evaluated by a medical provider and prior to returning it is suggested they obtain a provider’s note saying they are safe to return to camp.
    6. Inform those exposed to a person with COVID-19 to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
    7. Camps will ensure timely and accurate reporting to the Maine CDC for all notifiable diseases and conditions, including COVID-19. In the event of a positive case, Maine CDC should be called immediately at 1-800-821-5821 and faxed a disease report to 1-800-293-7534.
    8. Camp directors should ensure a single point of contact for communication and familiarize themselves with Maine CDC reporting protocols and contact methods.
  11. Pools and other aquatic activities
    1. Establishments must follow the Governor’s current Executive Order regarding gathering size in pool areas.
    2. Establishments should consider decreasing pool capacity to allow for physical distancing between household groups/travel parties. Post pool capacity limits.
    3. Establishments should consider single lane swimming to facilitate physical distancing.
    4. Keep swimming pools properly cleaned and disinfected. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (with chlorine or bromine) of swimming pools should kill the virus that causes COVID-19.
    5. Masks should not be worn in the pool.
    6. Hot tubs and spas may be used provided that patrons are wearing a mask at all times, not engaging in activities that do not allow mask wearing (i.e., eating and drinking), and maintaining physical distancing from anyone outside of their household group/travel party at all times.
    7. For water playgrounds and water parks, refer to the Outdoor Amusement checklist for guidance.
    8. Swimming in the ocean, lakes, and ponds is allowed. Physical distancing and masking must be maintained on any beach areas.
  12.  Camp activities
    1. Not all regular camp activities may be appropriate when adhering to best practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Different activities carry different levels of risk based on contact intensity and duration, as well as the number of participants.
    2. COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets, therefore, activities that increase the spread of such droplets (e.g. singing or yelling in the close proximity of others) also carry increased risk.
    3. Camps are encouraged to focus on activities that require less group contact—this can include altering typical activities to reduce transmission risk.

COVID-19 Prevention Form

In order to open, if you have not already done so, please commit to complying with requirements of these checklists by filling out this short online form. Please note that religious organizations and licensed health care providers are not required to use this form.

If you have questions, please contact us at business.answers@maine.gov or 1-800-872-3838.