Summer Camp Checklist

Summer youth camps offer wonderful new experiences for children that support their emotional, physical, and social development. There are new procedures this year due to COVID-19.  Ask questions of the camp administrators to ensure that measures are in place to lower the risk of the spread of COVID-19.  Check that their COVID-19 health and safety plan is updated regularly with new CDC guidance and includes the following risk reduction strategies:

Stay home if sick

  • Health screenings: When and how are the campers and staff screened for symptoms of COVID-19?
  • Illness: What is the plan if a camper or staff member gets sick?

Wash your hands

  • Hand hygiene: Does the camp promote frequent handwashing? Where are the facilities for handwashing? 
  • Supplies: Does the camp have adequate supplies including soap, towels or air dryers to dry hands, running water, hand sanitizer, and no-touch/foot pedal trash cans? 

Clean safely and effectively

  • Cleaning and disinfecting: When and how does the camp clean and disinfect facilities and equipment?

Wear a mask

  • Vaccination Status: What requirements are in place for staff and campers who are not vaccinated or not able to wear masks? 
  • Location: Are masks required indoors and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible?

Keep your distance

  • Physical distancing: Has the camp established policies to promote physical distancing indoors and outdoors?
  • Cohorts: What is the group size? Does each group have consistent staff?  
  • Ratio: What is the staff to camper ratio? 

Avoid crowds and spend time outside

  • Sports/Activities: How are sports and other camp activities adapted to keep group size small and to avoid close contact? 
  • Food: What are the procedures for serving and eating snacks and meals? Are the campers spaced apart?  Do the campers have individual plates and no common serving plates/bowls and utensils? Do campers and staff eat outside?
  • Overnight camps: What are the transportation procedures?  What are the sleeping arrangements, including: type of bedding, number of campers and staff in each cabin, and whether the campers sleep outside?

Get vaccinated

  • Vaccinations: Does the camp require or recommend vaccinations for eligible campers and staff?  What risk reduction procedures are different for campers and staff that are vaccinated?

Ventilate indoor air

  • Ventilation: Do most camp activities occur outdoors?  Are indoor spaces ventilated by opening windows and doors and using air filters, fans, or portable air cleaners? 

Communicate safety messages and policies

  • Signs: Are the camp's COVID-19 rules posted on signs?  Resource: Reduce the Risk of COVID-19 poster
  • Communication with families: Does the camp staff regularly communicate with families?  How, and how often?
  • Point of contact: Who is the designated camp administrator to contact with COVID-19 questions?
  • Staff training: How is the camp staff trained on COVID-19 risk reduction strategies and policies?


May 2021, UCSF California Childcare Health Program

This article was made possible with funding from the UCSF Chancellor’s Fund.