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Pa. issues guidance on summer camps, team sports, pools, playgrounds, camping, other activities

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The Wolf administration today issued a statement on frequently asked questions to provide guidance to parents, summer camp operators, public bathing places, part-day school-age programs, and other entities that provide necessary child care and recreational activities for children and youth during the summer months.

“We understand the need to secure child care options as parents and caregivers return to work across the state,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “And for providers of these programs to understand how they may operate. We hope that this guidance helps everyone in need of viable options for their children’s care and recreation this summer and eliminates some of the stress and worry associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting our everyday lives.” 

The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued guidance on:

• The types of summer programs for children and youth permitted to operate during Wolf’s phased-in reopening plan.

• Additional requirements for summer programs operating in counties in yellow and green phases beyond what is required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for youth programs and camps.

• The summer programs operating in counties in yellow and green phases that are permitted to operate fully indoor, fully outdoor, or a combination of indoor and outdoor.

• Group sizes for summer programs that are permitted to operate in counties in the yellow phase.

• Requirements on staff and youth face-coverings in child care and summer programs permitted to operate in yellow phase counties.

• Enrollment restrictions on summer programs in counties in yellow or green phase.

• Status of public playgrounds during the phased reopening.

• Status of organized team sports during the phased reopening.

• Operation of public bathing places and community pools during the phased reopening.

• Operation of camping, campgrounds and group camping separate from organized summer camps for youth.

• Status of Department of Conservation and Natural Resources facilities during the various phases of reopening.

The guidance does not apply to public school-operated summer programs or extended school year services. Guidance related to reopening public schools will be released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education later.

Here are the FAQs, with some minor editing:

Summer Recreation, Camps and Pools Frequently Asked Questions

“The Wolf administration understands the need to secure child care options as parents and caregivers return to work in counties designated as in the yellow or green phase across Pennsylvania in accordance with the governor’s phased reopening plan. Families select summer child care based on numerous factors including availability, parent and caregiver work schedules, age and interest of their children, among others.”

Q: What types of summer programs for children and youth are permitted to operate during the governor’s phased-in reopening plan?

Summer programs that provide child care and enrichment and recreational activities for children and youth are permitted to operate without a waiver in counties in the yellow and green phases of the governor’s phased-in reopening plan provided they follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for Youth and Summer Camps and the CDC Supplemental Guidance for Child Care That Remain Open.

Summer programs include child care facilities regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and the following part-day school-age programs:

• A part-day school-age program that operates for less than 90 consecutive days per calendar year from the date the program opens to the date the program closes.

• A part-day school age program that operates 2 hours or less per day for 3 or fewer days per week.

• A part-day school age program that has a single purpose for the children’s attendance and that purpose is the only focus of the program (e.g., soccer or art class).

• A drop-in program where a child or youth may come and go at will.

Overnight organized camps registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and organized team sports may not operate in counties in the yellow phase. Overnight camps and organized team sports may begin or resume operations once in the green phase of the governor’s phased-in reopening plan in accordance with CDC guidance for Youth and Summer Camps. Professional sports are not included in the scope of this FAQ.

Q: Are there additional requirements for summer programs operating in counties in the yellow and green phases beyond what is required by the CDC guidance for youth programs and camps?

Summer programs operating in counties in the yellow or green phase of the governor’s phased-in reopening plan must develop a written health and safety plan that follows the CDC guidance for Youth and Summer Camps and post the plan on the summer program’s publicly available website prior to providing services to children. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s PolicyLab issued considerations for school reopening which may be useful for summer program operators as they consider how to implement the CDC guidance for Youth and Summer Camps including masking, sanitation and hygiene, and physical distancing. The CDC also published a decision tree to assist directors or administrators in making reopening decisions regarding youth programs and camps during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q: Are summer programs operating in counties in the yellow and green phases permitted to operate fully indoor, fully outdoor, or a combination of indoor and outdoor?

Summer programs in counties in the yellow or green phase may hold activities both indoor and outdoor.

Q: Are there any limitations on group sizes for summer programs that are permitted to operate in counties in the yellow phase?

Social distancing in summer programs and child care may look different than the common practice of maintaining 6 feet of distance between individuals. In the case of summer programming for children and youth, the social distancing considerations are as follows:

• If possible, groups should include the same group members each day, and the same staff providers should remain with the same group every day.

• Consider whether to alter or halt daily group activities that may promote transmission. Keep each group of children in a separate room or space. Limit the mixing of children, such as staggering playground times and keeping groups separate for special activities such as art, music, and exercising.

• Consider staggering arrival and drop-off times and/or having staff come outside the facility to pick up the children as they arrive. Your plan for curb side drop-off and pickup should limit direct contact between parents and staff members and adhere to social distancing recommendations of 6 feet during this time.

Q: Are staff and youth required to wear face coverings while participating in child care and summer programs that are permitted to operate in counties in the yellow phase?

All staff should wear cloth face coverings during child care and summer program operations. Summer programs and staff should consult Department of Health guidance on homemade masks and COVID-19 Mask Guidance for Children. Children and youth do not need to wear cloth face coverings in child care, youth programs, or camps, although face coverings are still recommended by the CDC, especially for older youth, when feasible, particularly in indoor or crowded locations.

Q: If a summer program is planning operations in a county that is in the yellow or green phase, must they restrict enrollment to only children residing in counties with similar designations?

No, there are no restrictions limiting enrollments based on the designation of where children reside and enrollment in summer program activities.

Q: Are public playgrounds part of the governor’s phased reopening plan?

Public playgrounds may be used by child care providers and summer programs offered in counties in the yellow or green phase. Summer programs must adhere to CDC guidance for Child Care Programs That Remain Open, including cleaning and disinfecting, and social distancing practices.

Q: Are organized team sports permitted during the governor’s phased reopening plan?

Organized sports are only permitted in counties in the green phase of the governor’s phased reopening plan. Organized team sports and events are defined as physical activity directed by adult or youth leaders that involves rules and formal practice and competition. This includes school and club sports as well as youth and adult formal activities. Physical activity conducted as part of summer programming is allowed. Activities and games with little or no physical contact are recommended. Professional sports are not included in the scope of this FAQ.

Q: Are public bathing places regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and other community pools permitted to operate during the governor’s phased reopening plan?

Public bathing places and other outdoor community pools are permitted to operate in counties in the yellow and green phases of the governor’s phased-in reopening plan, provided they follow CDC guidance for aquatic venues and the Governor’s Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency.

Q: Is there specific guidance for camping, campgrounds and group camping separate from organized summer camps for youth

Pennsylvanians should follow guidance issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Q. How do I know which DCNR facilities are open to the public during the various phases of reopening?

Use the DCNR interactive map to identify camping facilities that are open or closed within state parks and forests