Mixed Opinions of Parents in Montgomery County on Summer Camp Mask Mandates

Masks policies at some summer camps in Montgomery County are rebuffed by parents.

One party wants the camps to mandate the wearing of a mask inside and out, while other parents say it is not necessary.

“My son must have been wearing a mask pretty much all day at camp,” Montgomery County mother Erika Norman said in a conversation with Fox 5’s Ayesha Khan on Friday. “Even though he had a great time, he mentions that it bothers him and it’s hot because they spend so much time outside and it’s a long day to wear a mask for so long in the room. heat.”

Some parents believe that some camps in the area cater to parents who want masks in place both outdoors and indoors, even though COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County are low and both the state and the county have lifted their mask-wearing warrants.

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“I think it should really be up to the parents,” said Jennifer Reesman, whose 11-year-old daughter attends camp in Montgomery County. “I think the other important thing to recognize is that a lot of parents registered their children for camp before we knew this restriction would be lifted and so this is a conversation camp directors should have with parents.”

Khan also spoke with Joe Richardson, CEO of Bar-T Summer Camps in Gaithersburg.

Richardson explained that when Maryland abandoned its mask-wearing mandate on July 1, the camp did the same, but it wasn’t until many parents concerned about their child’s health and the Delta variant requested. in the camp to restore their mask. the policy in place is what they did.

Richardson said the camp does not require anyone to wear a mask when children and staff are outside, unless children are in groups or stand too close to a line during camp activities in outdoors and where social distancing is not possible.

“There is no way to make everyone happy and this is such a thorny issue,” said Richardson. “But one of our guiding principles is to do the safest thing and that’s what has guided us through Covid, safely.”

Richardson said there were no immediate plans to change or update the camp’s current mask-wearing policy and that she will keep it in place until August 30, when the children will return to the camp. in-person learning at school.

Khan has also registered with other camps such as Camp Sonshine, Barrie Camp and Valley Mill Camp, where some parents who contacted Khan said their children were required to wear masks outside while at the camp.

In an emailed statement to Khan, Dan Hayden of Barrie Camp said:

“The current Barrie School mask policy requires our campers and staff to wear masks indoors, on buses and outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained. The camp nurse and camp director are constantly evaluating this policy and liaising with local pediatricians. and doctors to assess our policy. Our goal is to ensure that our campers and staff are safe and healthy throughout the summer. If our policy changes, we will notify families as soon as possible. “

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In an email response from Valley Mill Camp, manager Frank Roberts said:

“Valley Mill Camp follows the recommendations of the American Camping Association and the Maryland State Department of Health regarding the use of masks.”

Camp Sonshine did not respond to Khan’s email request.

Khan also spoke with Laura Hungerford, Head of Department of the Department of Population Health Sciences at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.

Hungerford said the best approach parents can take is to simply learn about the health guidelines the camp uses and determine if this is the right camp for their child and if they feel at home. comfortable with politics.

“I don’t think a parent would appropriately say to a camp that has a policy that kids wear a mask all the time, ‘Well my kid won’t do that’ because then you go to the against politics. “

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