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Will Summer Camp Be Open? Camps Make Tough —and Differing — Choices

Camp Farley in Mashpee has decided not to open camp for the 2020 season due to the pandemic.

With the end of this highly unusual school year right around the corner, summer camps have been forced to make difficult choices about whether — and how — to open.

In normal a year, camp counselors would be reporting to work and getting ready for the influx of kids eager to swim and tie-dye their own T-shirts. But summer will be different this year, and many camps have decided not to open at all.

At Camp Farley, an overnight and day camp in Mashpee, director Jacqueline Porro said the precautions necessary to prevent transmission of coronavirus are impractical for young campers.

“One of the things that we’re just very aware of is that kids really don’t have a sense of space,” she said. “Following rules like staying six feet apart and operating with a face mask on would just really hinder their camp experience.”

Still, some day camps are trying to open to help families in need of child care — and to give kids some summer fun.

Mickie Davies of the Barnstable Recreation Department said the town’s day camp will open later than normal, possibly on July 6. Groups of children will be kept small.

“It’s not going to look like it has in past years, with lots of field trips and lots of beach trips,” she said. “That’s not going to happen this year. But it is going to be a place where my hope and goal is that we are able to distance kids but still keep them feeling close.”

At Amazing Grace, a program that hosts a one-week camp for children affected by incarceration, director Julie Lytle said they won’t hold their traditional camping week, but they may have some outdoor events, with social distancing.

The Massachusetts reopening plan allows day camps to open in Phase 2 and residential camps to open in Phase 3.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.