The CDC Just Made These Guideline Changes for Summer

This important seasonal pastime could make a big comeback thanks to the update.

Summer means the return of more outdoor activities, warmer weather, and sunshine. And as the U.S. marches on with vaccinations, many of us are hoping that President Joe Biden's prediction about celebrating July 4th safely can become a reality. The most recent guideline changes made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are targeting at least one summer pastime that may help life feel like it's getting another step closer to normal. Read on to see what the agency has advised for summer, and for more important guidance, The CDC Says If You See This at a Restaurant, Don't Go Inside.

The CDC has released special guidance for summer camps.

Kids at camp summer camp lessons

As children prepare to say goodbye to school, whether from a classroom or computer screen, the CDC has released new guidance for summer camps that advises which safety measures they should take as COVID remains a public health threat. The 14-page document outlines risk mitigation efforts while emphasizing that as many activities as possible should be held outdoors, recommending that any indoor spaces have windows and doors opened during use to promote as much ventilation as possible.

Similarly to its revised stance on in-person learning in schools, the CDC suggests that all children should stay at least three feet apart and at least six feet while eating or drinking. The guidelines also specify that counselors and other adults should stay at least six feet from children and each other.

And when it comes to what you shouldn't do to stay safe, find out why The CDC Says You Should Never Disinfect This One Thing.

The agency says campers and staff should be wearing masks at most times.

Two young boys wearing face masks bump elbows to say hello

Besides recommending that campers and counselors stay socially distanced, the agency also emphasizes the use of face coverings during most activities. "All people in camp facilities should wear masks at all times, with exceptions for certain people, or for certain settings or activities, such as while eating and drinking or swimming," the guidelines state.

Of course, this means that not all traditional activities will make their way back this summer. The CDC says that while singing, playing instruments, or cheering can be done outdoors, any close contact or indoor sports should still be avoided for the time being. And for more on where you still shouldn't go, The CDC Is Warning You to Avoid This One Place, Even If You're Vaccinated.

Research has shown these tactics can help stop the spread of COVID at camps.

Kids wearing face masks on the beach to stay safe

According to a study released by the CDC after last camp season,, taking these types of precautionary measures can go a long way in stopping the spread of COVID. The agency analyzed data from four overnight camps in Maine where staff members were quarantined and tested for the novel coronavirus before and after campers arrived. For the rest of the session, campers and counselors stayed in controlled cohorts where masks were required for everyone, The Washington Post reports. Even with 1,022 attendees from 41 states, just three people tested positive one week after arrival, the Sept. 2020 research showed. After they were isolated and the campers they had come into contact with were quarantined, no other infections were reported for the remaining two months of camp.

"These findings have important implications for the successful implementation of COVID-19 mitigation strategies in other overnight camps," the study authors concluded.

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Each camp may set its own rules if COVID outbreaks arise, the CDC says.

Kids playing tug of war
Shutterstock/Robert Kneschke

While young children are still not eligible to receive vaccines due to federal regulations, the agency does recommend that all camp staff and attendees above the age of 16 get vaccinated as soon as possible before camp season begins.

But the CDC also points out that each operation should feel free to go above the minimum requirements outlined in the updated guidance if local conditions continue to be risky. "Camp administrators, working with local public health officials, should assess the level of community transmission to understand the burden of disease in the community," the new CDC guidelines read. "The higher the level of community transmission, the more likely that the virus that causes COVID-19 will be introduced into the camp facility from the community, which could lead to in-camp transmission if layered prevention strategies are not in use." And for more important safety advice for people of all ages, Dr. Fauci Just Said to Avoid This One Place, Even If You're Vaccinated.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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