KUTV – (Some) Summer Camps in Utah will go on Amid Coronavirus Concerns

7 May 2020: KUTV – “(Some) summer camps in Utah will go on amid coronavirus concerns
Summer camps are a big part of growing up for lots of Utah kids and they’re a big piece of the childcare puzzle during the summer, but will they happen this year?
“We’re starting small and we’re looking at a maximum of 40 campers,” said Havilah Clarke, the chief engagement officer at The Leonardo museum in downtown Salt Lake City. “We do have campers that are planning on coming in week one.” Week one for the museum starts June 8 and campers will know things are different when they get to the front door.
“Children will be required to bring masks,” Clarke said. “We will be taking no-touch temperatures as people come in.”
But the Leonardo has been prepping for this for months.

“When we decided to close our doors on March 13, we immediately started in planning mode, so thinking about the needs of the community,” Clarke said.

There’s tremendous uncertainty for summer camps along the Wasatch Front. Thousands of kids went to day camps hosted by Salt Lake County last year, but today parks and recreation officials say they’re not sure what they’ll be able to offer this year.

Spokesperson Clayton Scrivner says the government’s COVID rules would involve “changes to everything we do.”

The definition of a summer camp is broad — everything from an overnight stay in a cabin to a 2-hour educational daycare — so the county and state rules are tough to interpret. What’s clear — social distancing is a must for everyone.

As Utah moves from red to orange, and eventually to the yellow stage of the recovery, more and more parents will be required to return to work and find places for their kids.

“We want to provide something that’s safe, that’s curriculum driven, that can maybe close some of the gap that’s been created while the school systems have been closed,” Clarke said.

The Leonardo will be closed for everybody except kids and they’ll maximize their large footprint — they’ve got 60,000 square feet in which to spread things out.

Kids will be in small groups — no more than 10 — with groups meeting in different rooms on different floors.

“An art cart might come to them with an experience as opposed to the reverse, where they would go out into a different part of the museum,” Clarke said.

Gone are Lego tables, touch screens and marble tracks and the team is re-thinking how to do all those cool crafts we associate with summer camp.

“Pre-packaging some of those individual projects in a bag, so that you aren’t touching the same materials, anything like scissors would be sanitized before it would be used again,” Clarke said.

The Leonardo got a surge of interest in registration this week, but say they’re not oversold.

Because of the uncertainty, they’ve offered parents full refunds if they change their minds two weeks from the start of a camp.

If COVID-19 were to worsen and government regulations prevent camps, all families would get refunds.