CDC Guidelines for Summer Camps Will Treat Kids Like Prisoners

AP Photo/LM Otero

It’s like Meatballs meets Friday the 13th. CDC guidance to help summer camps mitigate the risks from Covid is “bonkers,” says Reason’s Robby Soave. The Atlantic’s David Zweig quotes several public health experts who refer to the guidelines as “cruel,” “irrational,” and little more than “virtue signaling.”


Indeed, we’ve reached the point in the pandemic where public health bureaucrats, who’ve gotten very comfortable telling us what to do, can feel the power slipping from their fingers. I feel for their loss, but isn’t this sort of ridiculous?

From the guidelines:

  • Everyone at the camp—including staff and every kid over the age of two—must wear masks at all times, unless they are eating or swimming. They should wear two layers of masks, especially when social distancing is difficult, regardless of “whether activities are indoors or outdoors.”
  • Campers should be placed in “cohorts,” and their interaction with people outside the cohort must be limited.
  • There should always be at least three feet between campers of the same cohort, and six feet between campers of different cohorts. Staff should keep six feet away from campers at all times, whether inside or outside. Distance should be maintained while eating, napping, or riding the bus: The CDC suggests seating kids in alternating rows.
  • The use of physical objects that might be shared among kids—toys, art supplies, electronics—should be limited wherever possible.

Naturally, indoor sports are verboten and no “close contact” sports. Sorry guys, no tetherball.

It should be noted that these guidelines are more restrictive than the CDC’s guidance for vaccinated people exercising outside. And as Soave notes, children are at minimal risk for serious disease or death. “Cruel,” indeed.

First, COVID-19 is not easily transmitted outside, even if people are maskless. Second, all camp staffers will have likely had the opportunity to be vaccinated by the time summer arrives. Third, the campers themselves are not at risk of a negative health outcome: For kids, COVID-19 is probably less hazardous than the flu. (In a typical year, more U.S. kids drown than will have died of COVID-19.)

From a pandemic standpoint, kids playing together outside is an extremely safe group activity. And again, the vaccines work. They offer almost complete protection for anyone who is worried about getting sick.

This is busywork for bureaucrats trying to justify their existence. It has no basis in reality or science. Two masks outdoors? Are they serious? Six feet of social distancing when the CDC has been saying three feet is adequate for weeks? How many staff meetings, committees, and review boards did this idiocy have to go through to get approved?


Perhaps we should begin to ask what damage the bureaucrats have done to our children. Or to us, for that matter? There is a crisis in mental health, as depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness, and isolation are being experienced by millions of people. We will be years getting over it.

At some point, society has to shrug off the risks and get back to the business of living. Will Dr. Fauci and the CDC ever allow us to do that?



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