The US agency is releasing the mask guide for summer campers


This Thursday, June 4, 2020, the photo in the file shows a row of huts at a summer camp in Fayette, Maine. On Friday, May 28, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published guidelines indicating that children in summer camps can jump in with outdoor masks, with a few exceptions. Children who are not fully vaccinated should wear masks outside when they are in a crowd or in close contact with other people, and when they are inside, and fully vaccinated children do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors, depending on the CDC. Credit: AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty, File

Children in summer camps can jump in with outdoor masks, with a few exceptions, federal health officials said Friday.

Children who are not fully vaccinated should wear masks outside when they are in a crowd or in close contact with other people, and when they are indoors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Fully vaccinated children do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors, the agency said.

The guidelines open the door to a more conventional one Tom Rosenberg, president of the American Camp Association, said Tom Rosenberg, who experimented and came out ahead of time, just before the camps began to open in some parts of the country.

The guidance is the first in a wave of updates that will incorporate CDC’s recent decisions on masks and social distancing. Earlier this month, the agency said Americans should not be so cautious about masks and outdoor distancing, and that fully vaccinated people do not need masks in most situations.

Earlier, the CDC advised that almost everyone in the camps should wear masks with only a few exceptions, such as when eating, drinking, or swimming.

But that was before the adults started getting shot in December and in front of the U.S. government authorized the Pfizer vaccine for young people aged 12 to 15 earlier this month.

About 2.5 million of the approximately 17 million American children in this age group have received at least one shot. A second dose is also required, three weeks after the first, and then two more weeks pass before the vaccine goes into effect.

This means it will be mid-summer before children in this age group are fully vaccinated. When that happens, “it will be a camping experience that is much more similar (before the pandemic),” said Erin Sauber-Schatz, who heads the CDC working group that prepares recommendations designed to protect Americans. of COVID-19.

The new guide also says social distancing (staying 3 to 6 feet from others) is recommended for the unvaccinated, but not for the vaccinated.

Camps will likely have mixed groups of vaccinated and unvaccinated children and should be prepared to have mask and distancing guidelines, CDC officials said.

The camp’s orientation was updated in response to the May 13 CDC decision to allow fully vaccinated Americans to stop wearing masks outdoors and in most indoor environments.

Some public health officials and others have criticized this announcement, in part because it appeared to conflict with other CDC guidelines.

Illinois Democrat Sen. Tammy Duckworth wrote this week to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky that “parents, caregivers and immunocompromised patients across the country may now have to navigate a confusing mosaic. of recommendations and requirements to support themselves and their families. Safe. “

It does not help matters: Agency officials have said their decision is based on growth , but CDC officials provided few details. The agency did not publish any science brief detailing the supporting evidence until Thursday.

The U.S. vaccination campaign has been an apparent success, with declining COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. But some public health experts saw the setback as the premature removal of a measure that had helped drive that success. Some also blamed the agency for misreporting the decision.

“There is no evidence to indicate that states, companies, event organizers, etc., were pending this announcement.” Said Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pandemic researcher at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

One of the main concerns has been that it can be difficult to know who is vaccinated, so that unvaccinated people could go without a mask quietly, causing an increase in cases.

This concern was raised Thursday during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce virtual event with Walensky.

Suzanne Clark, president of the organization, said many people were relieved that vaccination could go to many places without masks. “But I think employers are still trying to figure out what that means,” he added, pointing to questions as to whether employers can ask employees and customers if they’ve been vaccinated.

At the same forum, Polly Hanson of the American Public Transportation Association noted the apparent contradiction between CDC guidelines that fully vaccinated people should not wear and a federal directive that says people traveling on public transportation must carry them. He asked when that might change.

Redlener said in an email that the public is confused, in part because the rules vary by state and city.

“The lack of consistency from one place to another creates even more confusion,” he said.

Asked how the fields will be achieved to determine who is vaccinated and who is not, CDC’s Sauber-Schatz said those decisions will have to be made locally.

Rosenberg, whose organization represents thousands of year-round and summer camps in the United States, noted that medical forms are a common requirement and said many camps are likely to require some form of vaccination.

More than 80 percent of night camps did not open last year, some because states did not allow it, Rosenberg said. This year, all states allow day and night camps, although many expect to operate at a lower capacity, he added.

“Demand is rising” for camping this summer as families try to give children a chance at normalcy, Rosenberg said.

“It’s going to be a summer of joy,” Rosenberg said. “It will be a summer where children will be able to reconnect emotionally and socially.”

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