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Summer Camps Prepare For A Busy Summer Despite Pandemic

CLEARWATER, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Tampa Bay Summer camps are gearing up for a busy Summer, after many camps were cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

Now that they are open again, experts say there are some precautions you need to take before sending your child out the door.

One public health expert says one of the most important things you need to do is research! Open your laptop and look up any COVID-19 related questions you want answered about that specific Summer camp before signing your child up.

Vickie Havelka, owner of Clearwater's Best Summer Camp says it's important for children to have fun while they aren't in school.

"The kids really do thrive when they socialize with one another and when they have fun being a kid," said Havelka.

Havelka says last year her Summer camp program was limited.

"We didn't get to do a lot of outdoor field trips and go to a lot of venues like we normally do," said Havelka.

This year more children are signed up for her Summer camp than ever before, but that also means more precautions.

"We have an insane amount of cleaning going on and we also monitor hand washing a lot more, we have a lot of hand sanitizers that we have all around the studio. We have a fogger that we fog the rooms with," said Havelka.

She says masks are optional at her camp, but otherwise, she's following as many precautions as possible, especially if a child shows symptoms of COVID-19.

"If the schools say you have to be quarantined for 14 days, then we also have the kiddos quarantine for 14 days," said Havelka.

Dr. Jill Roberts is a public health expert with the University of South Florida and says a way you can limit your child's COVID-19 exposure is to only socialize with the same group of people over the Summer.

"I would warn against jumping from camp to camp to camp where the contacts are going to continuously change," said Dr. Roberts.

She says if you're concerned about your child being exposed, send them to camp with a mask and hand sanitizer, but also do research about the camp's procedures.

"Make sure it's an environment you feel comfortable with," said Dr. Roberts.

Although you can't be there to keep an eye on what precautions are being taken, Dr. Roberts says don't stress.

"I wouldn't stay up at night, losing sleep and thinking, well 'what if my kid does take the mask off for a minute?, what if the worst case scenario does happen?' It's highly unlikely the children will have serious disease," said Dr. Roberts.

Dr. Roberts says if you are worried about food preparations too, you can always send your child to camp with their own food each day.

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