Most camps remained closed during Summer 2020, due to concerns regarding child transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and limited information about the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) within child congregate settings.
We surveyed US camps about on-site operations, camper and staff demographics, COVID-19 cases among campers and staff, and NPI usage as related to pre-camp quarantine, facial coverings, physical distancing, cleaning and facility modifications. For all NPIs, save quarantine, responses were provided on a 5-point Likert scale format.
Within 486 on-site camps, a range of NPIs were instituted, most often related to reduced camper interactions, staff face coverings, cleaning and hand hygiene. Camper facial coverings were less common, with campers always wearing masks at ~34% of the camps. Approximately 15% of camps reported 1+ confirmed COVID-19 case in either campers or staff, with three camps reporting a COVID-19 outbreak. In both single and multi-NPI analyses, the risk of COVID-19 cases was lowest when campers always wore facial coverings. Constant use of staff facial coverings and targeted physical distancing measures, but not pre-camp quarantine, also reduced COVID-19 risks.
We found constant facial coverings, especially for campers, and targeted physical distancing measures to reduce risks of SARS-CoV-2 transmission within summer camps. Our findings provide valuable insights for future operations of summer camps and other child congregate settings regarding the use of NPIs to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection.