AAP offers guidance for camp attendance during the pandemic


Summer camp is a source of fun, socialization, and memories for many children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has offered information for families, clinicians, and camp staff to ensure safe attendance as the pandemic continues.

With the return of warmer weather and more research showing that children can safely attend school, parents are beginning to consider whether to send their child to a quintessential part of summer: camp. To help parents, clinicians, and camp employees make safe choices, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued guidance for safely attending camp during the pandemic.1

What’s the benefit of camp? Camp offers children a chance to build self-esteem and positive peer relations, foster independence as well as leadership, and experience new things. It also provides a way to connect with nature. During the pandemic, it can offer children a much-needed way to spend time with someone outside of the household.

What are the safety expectations? Parents should teach or emphasize infection control techniques, such as physical distance and wearing masks. Camp directors should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for maintaining healthy operations. They should maintain good communication with families and campers about infection control and the procedures for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) exposure, staying home if ill, or a positive test response. Promoting outdoor activities can also lessen exposure risk.

Can all children go to camp? Families with children who are at risk of having a severe case of COVID-19 should speak with their health care providers before attending camp. Camp directors should ensure that there is all of the necessary equipment for staff and children to be safe.

How will children be kept safe? Camps should be following both the American Camp Association Field Guide and CDC camp guidance. Children who are attending camp should be up-to-date on his or her vaccinations. Camp directors should work with the local public health authority to develop exclusion, quarantine, and contact tracing processes to be used if needed.

Are additional safety measures needed for sport camps? Camps should use the AAP COVID-19 Interim Guidance for Return of Sports and be aware of all rules, regulations, and guidelines for the camp’s locations.


1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Guidance for families and pediatricians on camp attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Updated March 22, 2021. Accessed March 24, 2021. https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/guidance-for-families-and-pediatricians-on-camp-attendance-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

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Tina Tan, MD, FAAP, FIDSA, FPIDS, editor in chief, Contemporary Pediatrics, professor of pediatrics, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, pediatric infectious diseases attending, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
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