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As kids head off to camps, parents should keep COVID-19 safety protocols top of mind

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(WKOW) -- As COVID-19 pandemic restrictions ease, parents might be starting to feel more comfortable with encouraging their children to do more activities this summer. Those activities could include indoor or outdoor day or sleepaway camps.

Dr. Mary Mason is the founder of Little Medical School, an after-school program designed to encourage kids to consider careers in medicine. They've been running summer camp activities in states nationwide for at least 20 years.

When it comes to safety protocols at camp, Mason said parents should keep up with what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are currently recommending. She recommends knowing how camps are handling CDC guidelines, in addition to their own.

If the camp is indoors, parents should consider how well-ventilated the room(s) are, whether the kids are together or in pods, and how the staff is screening sickness.

"You really need to just ask the questions," she said. "If the camp doesn't have a good answer for you, then you need to dig into it because it should be something that is very transparent."

While the CDC has recommended vaccinated children don't need to wear a mask inside or outside, many are not since Pfizer's vaccine is only for kids 12 or older. For unvaccinated children, Mason recommends sending them with a good stock of clean masks for sleepaway camp.

"You don't want them having the same cloth mask all week," she said. "You want them to have fresh masks each day."

Also, reminding kids that rules at school may not be the same rules at camp can go a long way.

"Make sure that your kids are accountable by saying, 'Okay, these are the rules, you have to follow them,'" she said. "I think if you do that with your kids, and they understand what the rules are, what to expect, it's going to be a much better experience for everybody and a much safer experience."

In addition to COVID-19 safety tools, don't forget other camp safety items like sunscreen and insect repellant.

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