With the governor’s blessing, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Gimenez now officially approving the opening and new guidelines, summer camps preparing for local OK to get in gear, Monday June 8th
While Gov. Ron DeSantis recently released restrictions on summer camps at the state level, groups in and around Key Biscayne are still deciding whether to open camps – and if so, implementing ways to safely bring youth together to learn, play and spend time in the water.
Friday, DeSantis announced that Florida would allow organized activities for children, including summer camps and youth sports, to resume, effective immediately.
DeSantis said he would not preempt individual cities from deciding to continue to ban youth activities.
In a recent Village Connect communication, the Village said "As of today, Miami-Dade County’s intent is to issue an Order this week for the re-opening of Summer Camps and Wellness Facilities on Monday, June 8" adding "The County is drafting a set of guidelines and recommendations for Summer Camps and Wellness Facilities"
The Miami Kiteboarding camp, which has been ongoing for a decade, will move forward with a camp this summer.
“We do all the activity on the beach,” said Christopher Ribot, founder and director of MKB. “Most of the kids would love to spend the summer on the beach or in the water.
“This year, there’s a lot of questions about how things will be run. We are following guidelines as far as masks. For now, we are going on as though it will happen (although) I don’t know if we’ll be able to run fully in June.”
The camp, for children ages 6 years old to 14, includes time outside and at a nature center, and it provides an educational component as the youth learn about the environment, ecosystem and ocean conservation.
Several camps in Miami-Dade are planning to start programs in June, but most details are up in the air, according to an article in the Miami Herald. With restrictions on large gatherings and social distancing requirements still in place, the article reported that some camps will offer smaller programs, and others are planning virtual camps. Many of the overnight camps haven’t decided what to do.
The American Camp Association said its member camps are waiting on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and county health officials, according to the Herald.
At his Friday press conference, DeSantis said children are much less likely to face serious consequences from the virus, which as of Monday had infected 51,746 Floridians and killed 2,252.
Statewide, the medium age of COVID-19 infected residents is 54. Most virus-related deaths -- five in six -- are people 65 and over, according to the state Department of Health.
Explaining the rationale for the decision, DeSantis said, “We believe that this makes sense based on the data and observed experience. We are not going to be instituting a lot of rules, or really any rules. At the end of the day, we trust parents to be able to make decisions in conjunction with physicians.”
The CDC has noted that “relatively few” children have suffered severe health consequences such as hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
Marlen Rivera, supervisor of the Ocean Club Summer Camp plans to host camp this year once government agencies clear the way.
Session 1 of camp (June 8-26) has already been canceled, but Rivera hopes to proceed with Session 2 (June 29-July 17), and Session 3 (July 20 - Aug. 7).
“We will be implementing new protocols in accordance with the guidelines of the CDC, Miami Dade and Key Biscayne,” Rivera said. “Our number priority is (campers and staff) safety.”
Maria Teresa Valle, who last year offered a robotics camp for children, will this year keep things indoors -- offering a coding camp via Zoom.
“Even without the whole pandemic, when you’re touching things (in robotics), you spread germs,” said Valle, a certified math teacher who teaches code art at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. “I’m not doing that. I am going to teach coding. I teach coding during the fall and spring at the (Key Biscayne) Community Center.”
The CDC has established guidelines for summer camps, including:
Discourage sharing of items that are difficult to clean, sanitize or disinfect.
Keep each camper’s belongings separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies or areas.
Ensure adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high-touch materials to the extent possible (for example, assign art supplies or other equipment to a single camper), or limit use of supplies and equipment to one group of campers at a time and clean and disinfect between use.
Avoid sharing electronic devices, toys, books, and other games or learning aids.
Summer camp at Key Biscayne Community Church Day School starts on June 15, with CDC rules in place.
“We are CDC trained,” said Diane Cellura, camp director and school principal. “They will bring their own lunch and snack, so we’re not using any large containers for possible cross contamination. We won’t be sharing rooms with anyone. The teachers are required to be tested, and the parents have the option to test themselves and their children.
“We’ll sanitize hands before they come in.”
The camp will run through August, and it will include classes with nine children or less. The camp will welcome walking toddlers through 8-year-olds, Cellura said. The camp this year will not include swimming.
“I received an overwhelming response to this,” she said of the camp. “It’s difficult for everybody. Teachers, students, the parents. And so we’re doing our little part to help everybody.”
Some summer camps available:
- Key Biscayne Community Church Day School. (305) 361-7501 or for more information, visit them online here.
- RDCA=MMA Martial Arts Academy. (305) 365-0120 or visit them online here.
Here are the CDC guidelines for summer camps