May 20, 2020
Some parents whose children have had to remain at home as COVID-19 closed schools for the rest of the academic year may be breathing a sigh of relief as the Northeast region's TLC Family of Camps is set to reopen facilities this summer.
"As long as the governors of the states, New York and Pennsylvania, say that it's okay, we will be open," CEO Jay Jacobs told Cheddar. TLC Family of Camps operates two sleepaway and day camps in New York and one sleepaway summer camp in Pennsylvania.
Pointing to falling numbers of infections, particularly in hard-hit New York state, Jacobs said that he felt confident that his camping programs would be able to maintain the public health and safety of the children in their care.
"I think they're frankly safer than if they just stay home and, with the exception of being locked up in the house, are able to go out and about, I think we can keep children safer in our camp environment," the CEO claimed. "You don't get coronavirus by being bit by a mosquito."
Jacobs said the camps will utilize mass testing ahead of the start of both the sleepaway and day camps, then test again upon arrival of campers. It will also increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of the facilities and equipment and focus on outdoor activities. Many of the safety precautions he covered fell under recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for reopening camps this summer.
"People in their own homes, families of four or five, they're not socially distant. They're not wearing masks at the dinner table. Why? Because they know everyone in their home is COVID-free," he said, comparing the concept to creating isolation at the camps.
However, Jacobs did admit that there would be some personnel coming in and out of the camp, such as maintenance workers, who the CEO claimed will be tested daily and will be coming from rural areas not experiencing outbreaks.
The camps will also have plans in place in the event someone tests positive for the novel coronavirus, according to Jacobs.
"Even if someone has COVID-19, with the measures we're taking, the spread will not be that great and we can, through testing, isolate and determine immediately," he said. "Then, as I said, those people will have to leave camp, and their parents know that in advance."
"I think the likelihood of that is so minuscule I really don't worry about it, but I'm prepared for it."