CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that both daytime and overnight youth camps are allowed to open on May 31.
As the school year comes to a close and parents prepare to send their kids to camp, there are additional concerns this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Monica Hinojosa sends her daughter to a dance camp every summer.
“To keep her active and involved with her friends.” she said. “I feel fine with her going, the place has been cleaned out. There’s a lot of precautions and they’ve sanitized and cleaned so I feel confident with that.”
The Corpus Christi-Nueces Co. Public Health District is advising youth camps follow guidelines issued by the governor, including daily health screenings for staff and cloth face masks for campers.
Some organizations, such as the Texas State Aquarium, canceled summer programs prior to Abbott's announcement. Others, such as the YMCA and the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, are moving forward with summer programs under new guidelines.
Over at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, Education Manager and Camp Coordinator Isabel Ortiz said the protocols will certainly impact the normal dynamic.
"Camp is usually about being together -- doing things together in teams.” she said. “We're going to have to space the children out more. Constantly remind them to wash their hands and be very mindful of their space."
Ortiz said they are eager to begin camp on June 1.
They will have a capacity of 100 kids at a time split up into smaller rotating groups. The museum is also planning more outdoor, open-air activities.
"We’ve been using this time to prep and figure out what those changes need to be," Ortiz said. "The staff will also be wearing masks per protocol. We're going to increase sanitation. We have a team that's dedicated to making that happen.”
Meanwhile, some parents, such as Melinda Rodriguez, still think it’s too soon to send their kids off to a camp.
“Once in awhile, I put them in summer programs. But with what’s going on right now, I wouldn’t." she said. "As moms we sanitize everything we have -- even then we're still scared. What if something happens? What if they get something from someone?”
The health district recommends parents be vigilant about their children’s safety when utilizing summer camps.
You can find a check list for both camp operators and attendees on the Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas webpage.