Residential camps

Updated June 19, 2020, 4:19 p.m.

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All overnight camps, including exempt overnight camps operating for less than 72 hours, must operate with restrictions and strong precautionary measures, as specified in the guidance below.

IF THERE IS A CONFIRMED OR SUSPECTED CASE OF COVID-19 AMONG CAMPERS OR CAMP STAFF OR VOLUNTEERS

  • The camp must notify and cooperate with their local public health agency on next steps.

  • Local public health agency contacts can be found here.

  • Outbreak guidance for non-health care facilities can be found here.

  • Monitor other campers and staff who were part of the ill camper’s established group.

  • Recommend immediate COVID-19 testing for anyone with symptoms

  • If sent home, require the staff member or camper to adhere to isolation and exclusion requirements.

For additional COVID-related guidance or questions not addressed in this document, check with the local health department and follow any requirements for that jurisdiction.

Guidance for camp operators

Prior to camp

  • Establish a plan that includes:

    • Capacity and registration of campers that accommodate required physical distancing (6 feet) and maximum group size (25 or fewer campers outdoors, 10 or fewer campers indoors per group). Physical distancing and group-size requirements apply to all camp activities, including transportation, eating, sleeping, and recreational activities. 

    • A determination if the indoor space is large enough to allow for physical distancing (6 feet between each camper and minimum of 36 square feet per camper). If the space is large enough, more than one established group could be in an indoor space at the same time as long as there is adequate space between groups and safe egress is not compromised. Capacity for square footage of usable space should be calculated using the Social Distancing Space Calculator.

    • Clear rules that allow for established groups of up to 25 campers outdoors and up to 10 campers indoors per group. The groups must not mix with other groups during any part of the day for the duration of camp.

    • Clear rules for cohorts to remain with their group and not mix with other groups during structured time or free time, including pick up and drop off.

    • The availability of substitute staff if staff or volunteers become ill or are exposed.

    • The establishment of protocols for responding and reporting cases to health care staff, local public health authorities, and CDPHE.

    • Protocols for coordinating access to testing, in conjunction with the local public health agency, if any campers or staff become symptomatic. Testing sites can be found here.

    • Written verification that parents were notified of their responsibility to follow the advice of the local public agency if their child needs to leave camp for a COVID-19 related illness, including complying with relevant travel restrictions. 

    • Communication to families of enrolled campers that the camp is accepting campers from various geographic regions, if applicable.

    • Protocols to monitor and enforce physical distancing and healthy hygiene behaviors throughout the day and night.

    • Consider including in the written plan: Food services practices and cleaning/disinfection protocols.

  • Ensure space and resources are available to isolate ill staff and campers (e.g., cots, bedding, restrooms, and supervision).

  • Provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff who supervise and care for ill campers, staff, and volunteers.

  • If needed, increase the number of health care workers to accommodate COVID-19 requirements, and ensure that health care workers are knowledgeable about current executive and public health orders in Colorado. 

  • Strengthen requirements for the camp’s health care workers. It may be necessary to require a registered nurse, licensed physician assistant, or physician onsite at all camps.

  • Train camp staff on current executive and public health orders in Colorado.

  • Train camp health care staff on prevention, transmission, and care of COVID-19 illness.

  • Have a plan in place if camp closure is needed.

  • Require masks/face coverings or physical distancing during transportation to and from the camp.

  • Ensure sufficient hand-washing/hand-sanitizing locations, and make sure supplies are available.

  • Ensure adequate cleaning and disinfecting supplies.

  • Update agreement with the local hospital to ensure the hospital will have the ability to accommodate additional patients if needed.

  • Any travel trip or wilderness excursion camp must seek CDPHE approval and must adhere to this guidance.

  • Provide generous and flexible cancellation policies so that if campers or family start experiencing symptoms, they can cancel.

While camp is in session

  • Outdoor residential camps may be held with up to 25 campers in a group. 

  • Allow outdoor groups of up to 50 to gather for limited non-physical group activities following the outdoor event guidance.

  • Campers must remain with their group and not mix with other groups during structured time or free time, including pick up and drop off.

  • Limit exposure to the general public. When there is a possibility of exposure, campers and staff should strive for physical distancing or wear masks/face coverings.

  • Prohibit family and buffet style service such as salad bars; self-service, counter food service; and other configurations that require diners to use shared utensils.  Prioritize the use of “grab-n-go”options, a food handler plated service line, and pre-plated meals. Stagger meal times, seat a maximum of 50 campers and staff in their established groups, physically distancing during meals. Clean and disinfect surfaces of dining areas between groups.

  • Provide guidance and signs throughout camp to maintain required physical distancing, respiratory etiquette, and hygiene.

  • Require nurses or health care providers to use CDC-specified Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions when caring for sick people, and use CDC guidance when caring for sick people.

  • Ensure cleaning and disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces, equipment, and vehicles, especially in areas used for the temporary isolation of ill or exposed staff, volunteers, and campers.

  • Whenever possible, limit activities that are not conducive to the required 6 feet of physical distancing or could pose a safety hazard when campers and staff are physical distancing.

  • Keep a record of employees and campers (i.e. sign in/out) to enable contact tracing

  • Non-essential visitors should not be allowed to visit camp/programs.

  • Prohibit any external community organization from sharing the camp facilities during the overnight camp session.

Guidance regarding employees

  • Screen staff and volunteers for symptoms and possible exposure to COVID-19 upon arrival and daily to ensure they are symptom-free before they are cleared to work. (Additional Guidance). Encourage sick employees to seek testing and use the Colorado COVID  Symptom Support tool.

  • Require staff or volunteers with symptoms of COVID-19 to adhere to isolation and quarantine requirements. 

  • Establish protocols for the immediate isolation of symptomatic individuals, and to alert health care staff when staff, volunteers, or campers exhibit symptoms.

  • Determine if any staff or volunteers are at a higher risk for COVID-19 and consider whether job duties that don’t involve interaction with others are advisable, and they should seek written approval from their physician before being permitted at camp.

  • Staff and volunteers, to the extent possible, should remain with the same group of campers and maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet whenever possible, including during meals and recreation. 

  • Require hand-washing upon arrival, before eating, and at regular intervals throughout the day.

  • Require masks/ face coverings whenever possible, especially in situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

  • Consider alternating sleeping arrangements head to toe so that there is at least 6 feet between each sleeping person’s head.

Guidance regarding campers

  • Screen campers for symptoms and possible exposure at drop off, pick up, and daily to ensure they are symptom-free before they are deemed able to attend.
  • Consider a pre-camp form to monitor temperatures and health for 7-14 days before arrival.
  • Immediately isolate campers with symptoms of COVID-19 and have the appropriate health care staff monitor symptoms.
  • Provide frequent communications with all families of enrolled campers related to the occurrences of COVID-19 and the camp, the camp’s response, and requirements of the public health order.
  • Require frequent frequent hand-washing throughout the day.
  • Require hand-washing after using the restroom and before and after meals.
  • Use hand sanitizer when hand-washing is not available.
  • Encourage campers and staff to avoid placing toothbrushes and toiletries directly on counter surfaces
  • Alternate sleeping arrangements head to toe so that there is at least 6 feet between each sleeping person’s head.
  • Camp should create a staggered drop-off time to ensure proper screening of children.
  • Camps should distribute their COVID-19 plans to families before camp.
  • Recommend 14-day quarantine for campers after returning home from camp if they had any exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Frequently asked questions

Day camps will be able to open starting on June 1. Residential overnight camps are allowed starting July 1Children’s residential camps that choose to operate as day camps must work with the Colorado Department of Human Services and their local public health agency (LPHA) for approval. Day camps, including mobile and outdoor camps, must operate with restrictions and strong precautionary measures, as specified in the guidance. Residential camp guidance is here.

Outdoor day camps may be held with up to 25 campers per group. Indoor day camps remain at 10 campers per room which includes four walls and a door. Outdoor residential camps may be held with up to 25 campers in a group.  Guidance allows outdoor groups of up to 50 to gather for limited non-physical group activities following the outdoor event guidance. Campers must remain with their group and not mix with other groups.Campers both indoors and outdoors must be spaced 6 feet apart, to the greatest extent possible. Residential camp guidance is here.