The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated summer camp guidelines on Friday to include situations in which everyone is "fully vaccinated prior to the start of camp." Under the newly revised guidance, the CDC now says that when everyone at camp is vaccinated it is "safe to return to full capacity, without masking, and without physical distancing," except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations.
The agency notes that in general people do not need to wear masks while outdoors but in areas of substantial to high transmission those who are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear one, or when involved in "sustained close contact" with others who are not inoculated.
The guidance also states that while vaccinated people do not need to wear masks, camp programs should continue to be supportive of campers or staff who choose to wear one.
Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are only available to those 12 years of age and older. Camps that include children not yet eligible are advised to continue practicing mitigation strategies such as using masks, physical distancing, handwashing, avoiding crowded or poorly ventilated indoor activities, routine cleaning, screening testing and testing those with symptoms.
"Camps may also choose to continue to require masks for vaccinated and not fully vaccinated campers and staff in order to adhere to prevention strategies when it is difficult to tell who has been vaccinated or to set an example for not fully vaccinated campers, the agency's update stated. "Camps should be supportive of campers or staff who choose to wear a mask. Particularly in areas of substantial to high transmission, camps may consider requiring mask use indoors by all people present including vaccinated campers, staff, and other people such as visitors."