Summer day camp guidelines: COVID-19

Camp operators should use the 6 steps to staying safe. These guidelines use portions of the Kindergarten to Grade 10 and Yukon licensed child care centres guidance. There are some differences such as the age at which children are required to use a mask. Gathering guidelines do not apply to summer camps.

Operational plan

Camp operators must submit an operational plan to covid19info@yukon.ca. It will be reviewed by Environmental Health Services. A template is available online.

A copy of the operational plan should be on site at all times. An inspector may come to review it.

When children should stay home

Parents and guardians should assess children for symptoms before bringing them to camp. Include this information when they sign their child up for camp.

Camp staff should also assess campers for symptoms on arrival each day.

Campers should stay home if they're feeling sick, even if their symptoms are mild. Campers experiencing symptoms should get tested.

When staff should stay home

Staff should assess themselves daily for symptoms. Camp staff should stay home if they're feeling sick, even if their symptoms are mild. Camp staff experiencing symptoms should get tested.

Mask use

The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is through preventative measures, such as:

  • physical distancing;
  • frequent handwashing; and
  • staying home when sick.

Children 5 years and older, staff and parents or guardians need to wear a mask. This is required in all indoor public spaces and common areas. This includes:

  • entrances and hallways;
  • washrooms; and
  • on buses.

Children do not need to wear a mask where the camp is being held if those rooms are not open to members of the public. This is only during camp hours and if they are able to maintain 1-metre of physical distance from each other. Staff must wear a mask if they cannot maintain a 2-metre distance from children and other staff. Campers and staff do not need to wear a mask when they are outside but must maintain physical distancing.

For additional information refer to wearing a mask in Yukon during COVID-19.

Physical distancing

Children must maintain 1-metre of physical distance from each other wherever possible. Staff should maintain a 2-metre distance from children and other staff wherever possible.

  • The use of masks does not replace physical distancing or other prevention measures. This applies to both students and staff.
  • Prevent crowding at all times. Pay attention at the start and end of day to entry and exit areas and other places where people tend to gather.
  • Stagger drop-off and pick-up times, breaks, lunch and room transition times whenever possible.
  • Children and staff should move directly to their destination without stopping. Prevent children and staff from congregating in transition areas like entrances and hallways.
  • Floor markings and posters can help to direct traffic flow throughout the building.
  • This may include one-way hallways and designated entrance and exit doors. It is important to adhere to the fire code and maintain adequate exits.

Groups should be no greater than 20 indoors and 100 outdoors including counsellors. More than one group is allowed within a building as long as groups remain separate.

Open windows, weather permitting, to improve ventilation. Keep campers outside as much as possible. These measures lower the risk of COVID transmission.

Children should be grouped or cohorted as much as possible. This means keeping children and counsellors together without mixing with other groups. This is required for the entire duration of the camp. The same leader should remain with their assigned group as much as possible. This helps reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and facilitates contact tracing if there is a need for it. Keep participant lists for 30 days in case of need for contact tracing.

Access to the camp facilities

Only campers and leaders should enter the facility and use its amenities. Parents and guardians should wait outside during pick-up and drop-off when possible.

Hygiene practices

Hygiene supplies must be available for counsellors and children. This includes soap and water, hand sanitizer and paper towels.

Hand washing should be frequent throughout the day, including the following times:

  • after using the washroom;
  • before eating and drinking;
  • whenever hands are visibly dirty;
  • after sneezing or coughing into hands; and
  • before and after any transitions (for example, to another room or indoor-outdoor transitions).

Counsellors should be careful not to touch their faces. Children should be encouraged to keep hands to themselves and off the faces of others.

Posters should be used to remind staff and children when and how to wash their hands.

Cleaning and disinfecting

  • Cleaning and disinfecting should occur at a minimum once a day.
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces at least twice a day. This includes washrooms. Focus on:
    • toilet handles;
    • faucets;
    • light switches;
    • garbage container handles or lids;
    • doorknobs;
    • handles;
    • tables; and
    • chairs.
  • Clean and disinfect any surface that is visibly dirty.
  • Clean food contact surfaces with a product safe for food surfaces.
  • Clean and disinfect shared objects after each use. Minimise sharing objects between campers as much as possible (e.g., electronics, sporting equipment, mats, toys, etc.).
  • Leaders must have access to gloves and sanitizing wipes. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning blood or body fluids (e.g., runny nose, vomit, stool, urine). Wash hands before wearing and after removing gloves.
  • Refer to guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting the work place for more information. This also includes recommendations for use of cleaning and disinfecting agents.
  • Do not use cleaning products near children. Staff should ensure that there is ventilation when using products. This is to avoid the inhalation of fumes.

Meals and food handling

  • Have a no sharing of food and drinks policy, including for food or drinks brought from home. Store food from home with the camper’s belongings.
  • If food is prepared and provided on site, have a permit from Environmental Health.
  • Practice diligent hand hygiene when handling food. Do not work if symptomatic.
  • Prepare all food and snacks in individual servings and provide directly to campers.
  • Visitors are prohibited from entering the kitchen.
  • Campers can only enter the kitchen area if they are preparing food for themselves. 
  • Campers are not allowed to prepare food that will be shared with other children and staff.
  • If children prepare food for themselves, make sure they have their own cooking equipment and cooking station.
  • Encourage use of utensils for campers who can manage or where the type of food is appropriate. This includes food from home and on-site food preparation.
  • Provide cutlery, napkins and other items directly instead of allowing campers to pick their own items.
  • Leaders and campers should wash their hands before and after eating.
  • Remove all shared containers from the dining areas. This includes water or milk pitchers, snack bowls, etc.
  • Wash dishes according to the three sink method or use an approved mechanical dishwasher.

For questions about meals or food handling, email environmental.health@yukon.ca or call 867-667-8391.

Drinking water

  • Camps with private drinking water supplies must make sure water sample testing occurs prior to the opening of camp. Results must meet the current Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. This requirement will ensure a safe drinking water supply.
  • Encourage staff and campers to bring their own labelled water bottle. Fill bottles rather than drinking directly from a water fountain's mouthpiece.
  • Hand hygiene before and after using water fountains is recommended.
  • Clean and disinfect water fountain high touch surfaces (for example, hand and mouthpieces).

If a camper develops symptoms

If a camper develops symptoms at camp, leaders should take the following actions:

  • Isolate the camper in a separate room. If a separate room is not available at the time, keep the camper 2 metres away from other campers. Hand washing is needed after contact with the camper and their respiratory secretions should be avoided.
  • Immediately notify the parents or guardians to come and pick up the camper as soon as possible.
  • Items used by the camper should be removed and sanitized right away. Areas the camper has been in contact with should be cleaned and sanitized (for example, doorknobs, bathrooms and their room).

Each program needs to identify a plan for self-isolation. This includes a room or area with a designated space to hold a sick camper. These are necessary as part of their operational plan.

The following documents can help families determine when campers can return to camp:

If a staff member develops symptoms

Staff who develop symptoms should inform their supervisor. They should immediately remove themselves from contact with others and go home. They should stay home until a health care provider has cleared them to return to work. All spaces and equipment used by the symptomatic staff member should be cleaned.

Special considerations for overnight camps

  • Leaders should be assigned to a specific group and remain with that group for the duration of the camp. Leaders should not start the camp, return into the community and come back into the camp.
  • It is ideal if campers can sleep in individual rooms or tents. If this is not possible, align mats or beds so that campers and leaders sleep head-to-toe at least 2-metres (6 feet) apart. This will prevent droplet spread while sleeping.
  • Campers or leaders from the same household or social bubble can sleep in closer quarters.
  • Request this information be clearly identified when campers sign up.
  • Add physical barriers between beds if they cannot be spaced at least 2-metres (6 feet) apart.
  • Ill campers or those that meet criteria for isolation must be in a single accommodation. There is no shared accommodation allowed for these campers.
  • Monitor and enforce physical distancing and healthy hygiene. Frequent hand washing and coughing/sneezing into an elbow) throughout the day and night.
  • Clean and disinfect bathrooms regularly (for example, in the morning and evening or after times of heavy use). Bathroom use should be organized by cohort, using separate bathrooms or staggering use with cleaning in between.
  • Avoid placing toothbrushes or toiletries directly on counter surfaces.

Take steps to make sure organizations that share camp facilities follow these considerations.

Contact: 

For more information on COVID-19 and the most up to date information on the Yukon situation, click here, send and email to the covid19info@gov.yk.ca or call the COVID-19 InfoLine at 877-374-0425 between 9 am and 5 p.m., 7 days a week.

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