Residential camps

Updated July 6, 2022.

Available languages: Español | Tiếng Việt | 中文 | Soomaali | العربية | नेपाली

#FFFFFF
Canoes in lake
#FFFFFF
Find practical guidance, resources, and tools in CDPHE's Welcome to Summer Camp Toolkit.
#FFFFFF

Children’s residential camps, or overnight camps, are unique settings that provide attendees with memorable experiences, as well as an appreciation of nature and the outdoors.They can, like many other settings where people gather, experience outbreaks of infectious disease. The transient and rustic nature of overnight camps can make controlling disease transmission among attendees and staff challenging. These guidelines are designed to keep Colorado’s overnight camps open and operating as safely as possible. Licensed overnight camps, and those exempt overnight camps operating for less than 72 hours are recommended to operate as outlined in the guidance below.

 

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.

#FFFFFF

Guidance for camp operators

Prior to camp

All camps are strongly encouraged to appoint a COVID-19 Coordinator to manage protocols related to cases and outbreaks.

  • Train camp staff on requirements of current guidance, transmission prevention strategies for COVID-19, and other infectious illnesses.
  • Ensure, at minimum, the on-call availability of a nurse or health care professional per CDHS licensing rules, is familiar with transmission prevention strategies and care of COVID-19 illness.

All camps are required to have a written illness policy in place in accordance with 7.10.1, 6 CCR 1010-7, Rules and Regulations Governing the Health and Sanitation of Child Care Facilities in the State of Colorado. Illness policies must include:

  1. A system for logging, tracking, and monitoring symptoms and illnesses in accordance with 7.10.1, 6 CCR 1010-7, Rules and Regulations Governing the Health and Sanitation of Child Care Facilities in the State of Colorado
  2. Plans and space for the isolation of cases of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases  in accordance with 7.10.1, 6 CCR 1010-7, Rules and Regulations Governing the Health and Sanitation of Child Care Facilities in the State of Colorado.
  3. A plan for reporting cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases to public health in accordance with 6 CCR 1009-1, Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Epidemic and Communicable Disease Control. 
  4. Plans for outbreak response and mitigation strategies to control transmission in accordance with 7.10.1, 6 CCR 1010-7, Rules and Regulations Governing the Health and Sanitation of Child Care Facilities in the State of Colorado. Mitigation strategies might include increased cleaning and hygiene protocols, moving group gatherings outdoors, increased ventilation of indoor spaces, indoor masking, testing, limited mixing between cohorts, physical distancing between groups, or temporary closures. 

In addition, all camps are encouraged to have a COVID-19 management and response plan that includes:

  1. A plan for testing anyone with symptoms for COVID-19.
  2. Supervising isolation of cases.
  3. Testing of close contacts (campers and staff in the case’s cabin or cohort).
  4. Reporting cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 to public health 6 CCR 1009-1, Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Epidemic and Communicable Disease Control. 
  5. A plan to communicate with parents/guardians in the event of cases or outbreaks of COVID-19 or other infectious diseases circulating in the camp.
  6. A plan to communicate that isolation and quarantine may impact travel. Ensure parents, campers, and staff are aware of the possibility that campers and staff may be unable to travel, may need special arrangements for travel or housing if they become ill and need to isolate or are identified as a close contact of an individual with COVID-19 and need quarantine.  
  7. Plans to provide dedicated housing, supervision, food, and access to medical care to all campers, staff, and volunteers who need to complete isolation beyond their planned stay.
  8. Plans for adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff that supervise and care for ill staff, volunteers, and campers. Must include:
    • N95 or equivalent respirator (or face mask if unavailable). 
    • Gown.
    • Gloves.
    • Eye protection.
#FFFFFF
Encouraging COVID-19 vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination is the best way to avoid outbreaks and disruptions to camps. All camps are strongly encouraged to require all staff, volunteers, and campers to be up to date with COVID-19 vaccines prior to arrival. 

Camps that do not require staff, volunteers, and campers to be up to date with COVID-19 vaccines prior to arrival are strongly encouraged to instead require all staff, volunteers, and campers to show documentation of one of the following upon arrival: 1) proof of full vaccination (completion of the primary series), 2) a negative COVID-19 diagnostic test administered within 72 hours of arrival, or 3) record of a previous COVID-19 infection within 90 days of arrival.

All camps should make COVID-19 testing available on-site for individuals who were unable to provide documentation of COVID-19 vaccination, negative testing, or proof of a recent prior COVID-19 infection prior to arrival. 

Testing

All camps are strongly encouraged to have ample Point of Care COVID-19 testing supplies to allow for the on-site testing of anyone who develops symptoms while at camp and their close contacts (members of the same cabin or cohort). 

All licensed resident camps are eligible to receive free Point of Care testing supplies. To enroll your camp in the free testing program, complete this enrollment form at least two weeks prior to the start of your camp season. Enrollment for this testing option will end on July 8, 2022 at 5 p.m. Once enrolled, camps should anticipate receiving tests within seven to 10 business days. 

Note: All camps administering on-site COVID-19 testing will need to obtain a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) waiver and ID Number prior to enrolling in the state’s free Point of Care testing program for licensed residential camps. To apply for a CLIA waiver and ID Number, fill out this CLIA application and send it to @jeff.groff@state.co.us. All camps must have written, prior consent from staff, volunteers, campers aged 18 years and older, and parents/guardians of minor campers for testing. Existing health information agreements may be adequate. Camps may use this guardian/parental consent form to obtain consent for testing.

#FFFFFF

During camp

Monitoring for disease transmission at camp

All campers, staff, and volunteers should be reminded to monitor themselves for signs of illness daily. Symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or other communicable diseases should be reported to the health office for evaluation in accordance with 7.10.1, 6 CCR 1010-7, Rules and Regulations Governing the Health and Sanitation of Child Care Facilities in the State of Colorado. 

Campers, staff, and volunteers exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should be evaluated, tested, and isolated from the general camp community while awaiting the results and following a positive test in accordance with 7.10.1, 6 CCR 1010-7, Rules and Regulations Governing the Health and Sanitation of Child Care Facilities in the State of Colorado. 

Isolate suspected and confirmed cases according to isolation guidance and in accordance with 7.10.1, 6 CCR 1010-7, Rules and Regulations Governing the Health and Sanitation of Child Care Facilities in the State of Colorado. Ensure that staff members or campers who leave camps adhere to isolation requirements, including limitations for public transportation.

For non-COVID-19 illnesses, all campers and staff should not return to the general camp population until symptoms resolve or are improving based on guidance in How Sick is Too Sick.

The health office is required to track and monitor all reports of illness, including at a minimum the individual’s name, cabin, symptoms, and onset date, any treatment or testing administered, and date of return to the general camp population in accordance with 7.10.1, 6 CCR 1010-7, Rules and Regulations Governing the Health and Sanitation of Child Care Facilities in the State of Colorado.

Illness logs should be monitored for increases in illness that could indicate disease transmission occurring at the camp in accordance with 7.10.1, 6 CCR 1010-7, Rules and Regulations Governing the Health and Sanitation of Child Care Facilities in the State of Colorado.

Reportable diseases and outbreaks must be reported to public health within four hours in accordance with 6 CCR 1009-1, Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Epidemic and Communicable Disease Control.

When cases of COVID-19 or other infectious diseases are suspected or confirmed, camp administration must notify public health to determine mitigation strategies that may include  increased cleaning and hygiene protocols, moving group gatherings outdoors, increased ventilation of indoor spaces, indoor masking, testing, limited mixing between cohorts, physical distancing between groups, or temporary closures. 

Monitor other campers and staff for symptoms who were part of the ill individual’s established cabin or cohort or determined to be a close contact by public health. Close contacts can either quarantine or test at least twice following an exposure. Quarantine may be challenging in camp settings, particularly for campers who may be at camp for a week or less. In lieu of quarantine, close contacts should be tested at least twice, once they have been identified as a close contact of a case and again five days after their last exposure. Close contacts who develop symptoms should be tested as soon as possible. Anyone that tests positive should begin isolation. 

Administer Point of Care COVID-19 testing for close contacts who are not up to date with vaccinations or do not have documentation of a recent prior infection of COVID-19, as well as anyone who develops symptoms regardless of vaccination or recent prior infection.

#FFFFFF

In response to cases or outbreaks

All cases and outbreaks must be reported to public health within four hours in accordance with 6 CCR 1009-1, Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Epidemic and Communicable Disease Control.

Once cases or outbreaks are detected, camps must cooperate with public health to determine necessary mitigation strategies in accordance with 7.10.1, 6 CCR 1010-7, Rules and Regulations Governing the Health and Sanitation of Child Care Facilities in the State of Colorado. Additional mitigation strategies may include increased cleaning and hygiene protocols, moving group gatherings outdoors, increased ventilation of indoor spaces, indoor masking, testing, limited mixing between cohorts, physical distancing between groups, or temporary closures. 

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.

#FFFFFF

Special consideration for camps serving those at high risk of severe illness

Camps that specialize in serving populations that are themselves or have families at higher risk of severe illness should consider additional strategies to protect participants. 

  1. These camps should consider requiring all staff, volunteers, and campers to be up to date with vaccinations.
  2. In the absence of a vaccination requirement, these camps should consider requiring proof of negative pre-arrival COVID-19 testing for all staff, volunteers, and campers.
  3. Consider beginning camp with strong mitigation strategies in place, including: small, stable cohorts, universal masking indoors, prioritized outdoor and well-ventilated spaces for group gathering, and enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols.