MDH to follow CDC’s strict summer camp guidance, requiring masks outdoors and for fully vaccinated people

The CDC goes even further in its over-the-top regulations, suggesting that during nap times for campers, children should be placed “head-to-toe to ensure distance between their faces.”

Students climb a climbing wall at the YMCA's Camp Warren in Eveleth, Minnesota. (YMCA Camp Warren/Facebook)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance in April for youth summer camps, and the requirements came as a shock to some who see no  scientific evidence to support the strict rules.

About a week later, the Minnesota Department of Health also issued guidance on summer camps that closely follows CDC recommendations: “There are no significant differences, and our guidance was very much based on CDC’s,” an MDH communications representative told Alpha News.

The CDC requires masks at all times for staff and campers, indoors and outdoors, and for people who are fully vaccinated. MDH “strongly recommends” mask use at all times. Exceptions include eating and drinking, swimming, and for “anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious,” the CDC says.

Campers are required to remain three feet apart from peers within small group settings, and six feet apart when in larger group settings.

Items considered “high-touch,” like shared supplies, should be cleaned between every use, and the sharing of books, toys, and art supplies should be limited. “Staggered use” of shared spaces like dining areas and playgrounds is encouraged.

The CDC recommends “daily health checks” as campers arrive, and MDH is requiring health screenings for campers. Everyone over 16, whether staff or camper, is encouraged to get the vaccine.

The CDC reminds the public that “fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine or be tested following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.”

Sports at youth camps should be played only outdoors, and only if the sport is non-contact. Masks should be worn when participating in any sporting activity.

Both agencies recommend staying outdoors as much as possible, and opening windows inside when being outside is not feasible.

MDH suggests serving meals outside — “weather-permitting,” of course. The CDC recommends that “access to drinking water fountains should allow for physical distancing.”

The CDC goes even further in its over-the-top regulations, suggesting that during nap times for campers, children should be placed “head-to-toe to ensure distance between their faces.” Masks need not be worn when sleeping.

“If there is no mixing or interaction with the general public outside of the camp population,” the CDC says, then it’s permissible for camps to organize trips, like going on a hike or to the beach.

The CDC also calls for “one-way traffic flow in garden rows” in its list of tips for “safely doing garden activities.”

MDH refers to “highly infectious” variant strains as a reason for being extra cautious during summer camps.

The Intelligencer reported that experts have called these restrictions “virtue signaling” and “unfair and cruel.”

To put COVID-19 into perspective, the Intelligencer said that “the CDC estimates that around 600 children died of influenza in the 2017-18 season; during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, 358 pediatric flu deaths were reported. Each year, more than 700 children die from drowning. Through the end of April, 277 have died from COVID-19.”

The Atlantic noted in a story called “The liberals who can’t quit lockdown” that COVID-19 precautions are widely followed to show political support: “Diligence against COVID-19 remains an expression of political identity — even when that means overestimating the disease’s risks or setting limits far more strict than what public-health guidelines permit.”

Even Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted these guidelines look “a bit strict,” according to Fox News.

“It looks a bit strict, a bit stringent, but that’s the reason why they keep looking at that and trying to reevaluate literally in real time whether that’s the practical way to go,” he said regarding the CDC’s summer camp guidelines.


Rose Williams

Rose Williams is an assistant editor for Alpha News.