New Jersey Issues Updated Health & Safety Guidelines for Summer Camps

By: Kaitlyn Kudriavetz, Follow South Jersey Child Welfare Intern

Appel Farm Arts & Music Campus in Salem County. Photo: Appel Farm

TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Department of Health issued updated COVID-19 guidelines regarding youth summer camps on Wednesday, including more specific information regarding staff and camper mask wearing.

The guidance issued requires cloth face masks for staff and campers to be worn in instances when social distancing cannot be enforced or maintained.

Following Governor Phil Murphy’s recent decisions to waive mask mandates for students in school during extreme heat, campers are not required to mask up in outdoor settings, regardless of their vaccination status. Still, unvaccinated campers are encouraged to wear a face covering in large crowds or during close contact activities.

Indoors, unvaccinated campers are encouraged to continue to wear masks, especially in circumstances when social distancing is difficult. Eating, drinking, and swimming in water are all exceptions to the indoor mask recommendation from the state.

Unvaccinated staff members are required to wear face masks at all times while indoors unless they’re eating, drinking, sleeping, or swimming. Outdoors, unvaccinated staffers should wear masks while in close proximity to other unvaccinated people.

Vaccinated campers and staff members are not required to wear a mask in any indoor or outdoor settings.

In order to monitor the health and status of campers and staff members, youth camp programs will implement safety measures such as documenting vaccination status, staggering drop off/pick up times to minimize contact between groups, and frequent disinfection of facilities.

In the event that a camper, staff member, or visitor tests positive for COVID-19, camp administrators must have their own policies in place, which will include isolating the exposed group, notifying local health authorities, and establishing a designated isolation location.

For more information, you can read the state’s full report here.

This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.