Now is the time when parents usually begin their summer camp research for their children and this year should be no different despite the fact that COVID-19 is still present.

Camps were able to run last summer despite the pandemic, said Susie Lupert, executive director of The American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey.

Last summer, camp was all about small group sizes, temperature checks and mask wearing. These measures proved to be successful as not many coronavirus cases were reported based on surveys and data from the state Department of Health.

She imagines that some of these protocols will remain in place this summer. However, she's also hopeful that New Jersey is entering a new phase as the vaccine rollout continues.

"We are hopeful we can see some larger group sizes, some less mask-wearing and I don't foresee temperature checks on site," said Lupert.

Camps are encouraged to review what the protocols were last summer and then the association will work with the state Department of Health to determine what the best protocols will be as summer approaches.

Overnight camps did not operate in New Jersey last year but Lupert said she is confident that overnight camps will run this summer. Overnight camps did successfully run throughout the northeast in 2020. Lupert said they required pre-arrival quarantine, pre-arrival testing on site, post-arrival testing, keeping kids in cohorts and having kids keep a 6-foot distance when necessary.

Summer camp is important for a child's well-being, said Lupert. But parents also feel this summer, camp is more central than ever to their lives after a year of remote learning and not being with friends.

While Lupert has not heard about any New Jersey summer camps going out of business, many did take out loans and took advantage of the Paycheck Protection  Program.

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