Local summer camp programs await state guidelines and directions

10 On Your Side

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Summer camp organizers across the commonwealth are in limbo, as they wait to see if they’re included in Governor Ralph Northam’s Phase 2 reopening guidelines.

This is causing concerns for many parents, who depend on summer camps for childcare. WAVY.com has reported about issues daycare providers face, with turning kids away because of group size limitations. This is a problem Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation is also facing, as the largest child provider in the resort city.

Despite concerns, the recreation center is preparing to reopen and provide summer child care programs, as planned, beginning June 15.

Julie Braley, the Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation PR manager, says thousands of children and parents look forward to the summer program every year.

“We know that parents do rely on us for their summer childcare needs when their kids are not in school. We love being there for those parents; we really pride ourselves on the fact that our summer camp programs and childcare programs are accessible. We have them at a lot of different locations throughout the city. They are affordable, which is important to so many parents, especially to those who are working hourly jobs and had a reduction in their hours or were furloughed. So, we know it is really important that we are here for those families when they need us,” said Braley.

However, the coronavirus pandemic could create changes this year. The state’s guidelines will determine how many kids will be allowed in the programs and what types of activities or health precautions organizers need to take.

Currently, daycare is available for essential employees, but there are several procedures in place, like temperature checks and limits on group size. Braley said she imagines those same practices will continue into the summer months.

“It’s going to look a little different, but I think that people are looking forward to resuming a little bit of normalcy. As we continue to move through the phases, hopefully we will see a little bit more than that. We want to be safe, our programs are always about safety before and after this pandemic. We are always keeping our participants and families safety at heart.”

Some parents are not comfortable sending their child to camp. If the camp is cancelled, refunds are available for parents who have already paid.

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