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Update CDC Guidelines For Summer Camps 2021

I’m still reading though this but it looks like it’s taking the fun out of camping and I imagine the BSA will adopt the Guidelines for Summer Camps.

This part is really going to be hard to enforce:

All people in camp facilities should wear masks at all times with exceptions for certain people, or for certain settings or activities, such as while eating and drinking or swimming .


I’m as eager to get past masks as anyone else. That said, we have done weekend camping trips with everyone required to wear masks at all times except when eating or sleeping, and the scouts are actually much more OK with it than some of the adults.
It will be interesting to see what BSA does with these guidelines. My state is preparing to drop nearly all of the COVID requirements in mid-May. So I am curious to see whether National leaves it up to each Council, or if they impose program-wide rules for summer camp.

BSA has already addressed this. Local councils are to take decisions based on guidelines from local officials.

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These CDC guidelines only came out a few days ago. I haven’t seen anything from National specifically addressing this latest update.

Each Council is responsible for generating a COVID plan for short-term and resident camp scenarios based on local state and county health department guidance. Lake Erie Council in Ohio developed state and county approved plans last year and continues to operate both programs.

A quick read of the April 24, 2021 update to Guidance for Operating Youth and Summer Camps During COVID-19 indicate it is only slightly modified.

Masks are to be worn outdoors even with >6 ft social distancing. Vaccinated and recovered individuals must still wear masks. Thank you, Dr. Fauci.

Social distancing within cohorts (patrols) is reduced to 3 feet; it remains 6 feet for all other encounters.

Masks are not required for swimming; guess it looked too much like waterboarding. However, social distancing must be maintained. So much for Lifesaving merit badge.

An individual’s mask may be removed if they have difficulty breathing or are unconscious. There is no guidance addressing social distancing during the administration of an AED or CPR.

We’ve been camping since June 2020 without incident and will continue.

PS. News reports have just announced CDC has revised guidance to relieve vaccinated individuals from wearing masks outside in all but large gatherings such as stadiums.

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BSA has not addressed every single update from CDC.

BSA is on record that local councils should follow local guidance.

Nothing has changed; we continue to follow local guidance from local authorities.

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That is not the whole story. Camp need to incorporate BSA, CDC, state, county, and city guidelines. They specifically call out CDC guidelines for consideration.

See this site: Camping COVID-19 Resource Center | Boy Scouts of America

From the BSA site:
CDC Guidelines – Link to CDC guidelines for Considerations for youth and summer camps”

BSA National guidance is quite general and not exhaustive. State and county health ordinances and COVID orders would be controlling and carry enforcement authority.

The State of Texas is open. Does anyone think the folks in Irving, Texas are wearing masks while sitting at their desks?

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Local guidance would include the existing federal and state guidelines.

You have to bear in mind that new CDC guidelines were issued TODAY that probably resolve any concerns, assuming you’re willing to get vaccinated.

Our troops did summer camps last summer and we required masking at all times. That was a troop policy, not a council policy, although council did recommend mask wearing. Our scouts did very well with both the masking and social distancing, even when other troops were not. So masking can be done at summer camp with little to no impact on the scouts’ camp experience.


Let me just say first I am not an “anti-masker”. I wear it when I need to. Having said that. My 9 year old told me the other day that he can’t wait until they don’t have to wear masks in school anymore so he can see people smile again. While it may seem like there is no impact, it is likely that there is a psychological impact that we have not yet begun to understand.

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There is no doubt in my mind that there is a psychological impact in general from the COVID pandemic. But I think the psychological impact of mask wearing is being over-played and that most kids have adapted to it just fine. How we as adults react to their concerns and complaints about mask wearing has a strong influence on how well they comply and adapt. More concerning to me is the psychological impact on kids when their parents become severely ill with COVID (with one in the ICU for a few days) and they become extremely worried that their parents are about to die and make them orphans. My 17 year old has such high anxiety after that incident that they have refused to leave the house for the past year. The more serious and compliant we all are, the sooner we get through this, and the less the impact on all of us.


I think that it’s likely that we are not going to come to consensus on impacts of mask wearing (whether with regard to benefits or potential hazards). It seems like a discussion likely to head down a rabbit hole.

Going back to the OP’s question, @WilliamC, you noted that one part will be hard to enforce. Can you elaborate on what you were asking? What do you see as being hard to enforce?

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I’m not here to have a discussion on mask wearing, in fact I think I said I’m not an anti masker. I was instead trying to point out that there is likely more than “little to no impact” on the camping experience because of masks being worn constantly.

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I’d love to see a source for that. Would you mind sharing a link?

I don’t understand why the guideline simply asks un-vaccinated adults to wear KN-95 masks, which protect the wearer and are available at Staples. They are virtually identical to N95 masks worn by healthcare professionals. A year into the pandemic we should have enough N95 or KN-95 masks for everyone who wants them. That way, low risk youth could go mask-less without endangering un-vaccinated adults.

Guidelines are here:


Thanks @WilliamNelson for the link. I sincerely hope the guidelines on camp get updated to reflect that info. I also wonder how that will impact the rules on youth campers, since they most likely won’t be vaccinated. It would be kind of silly to have the adults go maskless while the youth still have to wear masks. I really think my solution above makes the most sense. Unvaccinated high-risk or risk-adverse adults wear KN-95 masks in addition to everyone washing hands frequently, covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing, and daily temperature checks - these measures would greatly reduce the chances of anyone dying or getting hospitalized from coronavirus.

The CDC link: Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People | CDC

As I was finishing the quoted post the news was reported by multiple media sources. The CDC link appeared a bit later. The President in a press briefing announced the same that day.