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Overnight summer camps return to Colorado

After an unconventional school year amid a global pandemic, summer camps are hoping to bring back some sense of normalcy for kids.

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Keystone Science School (KSS) in Summit County is one of many institutions bringing back overnight camp programs this summer after cancelling sessions due to COVID-19 last year.

“I think we all hate the word ‘pivot’ now because we did lots of pivoting back and forth,” Dave Miller, Director of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships for KSS, told 9NEWS. “All of our programs right now are designed around COVID-19 risk management.”

KSS held day camp sessions in 2020 with safety protocols that kept any outbreaks from occurring within their programming.

With vaccination numbers increasing, but with children under the age of 12 unable to get a shot, safety guidelines for overnight programs were recently issued by the CDC, the state and the county.

They include masking indoors, reducing capacity, constructing a plan for COVID-19 isolations, and grouping campers into cohorts for lodging and camp activities.

“Outdoors, we will be able to have those small groups in close proximity to other small groups, so we’ll still be able to have some of that high-energy, large group feel but from a COVID and cohorting standpoint,” Miller said.

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After more than a year of an unconventional school year that many students spent in front of a computer screen, councilors are excited to get kids back into camp.

“Everybody’s been through it. The kids have been through it, all of us have been through it,” Overnight Discovery Programs Instructor Kayla Fulkerson said. “Kids are growing and learning how to communicate and be with each other, and that just hasn’t happened in the last year, year and a half. Regaining this sense of normalcy a little bit, especially for the kiddos, is really, super important.”

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