No camp for DC2

It sounds like kid-to-kid transmission isn’t much of a thing, and that outdoor transmission with masks isn’t so bad, so we won’t negatively judge anybody who is doing summer camp.  DC2 is so energetic and so extroverted that summer camp has seemed like a necessity.

There are three summer camp options in town for 7-8 year olds.

The school-run camp doesn’t open until Mid-July and they are doing everything correctly.  They’re limiting the number of students at each campus, they’re putting them in groups of 5 that don’t interact, they’re requiring masks (except at meals) and they’re doing most of their camp outside.  Curbside pick-up and drop-off of campers only.  Problem:  it is already regularly 100 degrees outside so that sounds MISERABLE.  (Plus it’s so inexpensive and slots are so limited, I feel guilty taking a slot that someone who can’t work from home needs, though that problem could be solved by just waiting to sign up.)

On the other end of the spectrum, the Children’s Museum is making zero changes.  They’re doing their full programs at full size, indoors, masks optional.  The Children’s Museum itself will be open the same as usual with no mention of additional cleaning procedures.  That all sounds like a recipe for disaster on top of us feeling like zie had really outgrown it last year at age 6.

In the middle is the Science Museum, which is limiting each of their summer camps to 10 kids total, two groups of five.  Masks required. They’re only doing half-days, mostly indoors.  The museum itself will be closed during the camp (it will open for the general public after camp finishes).  The problem with this is that the two groups of five are separated by age with 4-7 as one group and 8-12 as the other group.  DC2 is 7 and grade-skipped.  They don’t expect kids to be able to say, read, in the younger group.  It seems like the benefit just wouldn’t be worth the risk.  (DC2 also isn’t interested in any of the topics from this camp this year.)

What are we doing instead?  DC2 is still going through workbooks and other chores.  Zie is zooming with hir friends (though some of those friends are signed up for the school’s summer camp and won’t be around in a month).  We’ve been working on getting them to be able to play minecraft together safely. (It looks like we can buy a subscription to a private minecraft server after signing waivers on behalf of our kids, but there are some wrinkles with there being different flavors of minecraft that don’t all talk with each other.  We’re hoping to work those kinks out soon.)  Zie is rapidly going through the kids’ collection of novels, manga, and comic books.  Zie is also allowed 2 hours of unsupervised screentime each day and has been watching Card Captor Sakura or playing several of a ton of switch games that DH bought recently.  There’s also bike riding (indoor or outdoor) and Ring Fit playing.  And 15 minutes of cleaning up their rooms.  But… there’s also a lot of whining and a little bit of sibling squabbling and quite a bit of parent shouting at them to knock it off and go outside if they can’t stop while we’re trying to work.

We still haven’t gotten reimbursed for our dependent daycare account– I thought that was supposed to happen last month, but I emailed and they said it would be in my “July paycheck” but this year I don’t have a July paycheck, so we’ll see what happens.  But even if we just flat out lose the money, I think we’re making the right decision not sending DC2 to daycamps here.

What do daycamps in your area look like?  What are other people doing with their kids?


42 Responses to “No camp for DC2”

  1. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    There are only two camps here: one is full and the other is low quality. I’m probably going to hire the neighbor teenager to babysit it August, the kids call it [teen’s name] camp and enjoy it. We’re spending a week at the beach (rented a whole house, very quiet beach).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      All of the cousins have been spending a week or two at DH’s parent’s place (DH’s sister’s kids are there now, DH’s brother’s kids each spent a week separately). I wish I could get our kids there without worrying about toilet plumes (!) and people not wearing masks at rest stops.

      We were supposed to spend last week in Portland! :(

      Meanwhile the covid numbers in our town are at a point where the number of new cases doubled and has since stayed steady each day (with the exception of the occasional spike when they test and entire company…) and people I know have been diagnosed. And the instacart person who isn’t wearing a mask can’t follow directions and just drop groceries off at the door– she has to keep ringing and knocking until we open it.

  2. Turia Says:

    We had only planned to send the kids to camp for one week because I figured I could be at home with them while also teaching since the course was always online and I’ve taught it before. E in particular finds camp really stressful and needs the summer to decompress from school. That camp’s been cancelled. I’ve lost track of what our province is allowing to happen. They have no plan for school (they produced a document on Friday that said boards have to be prepared for three scenarios but gave no indication of what they would do to help with this) and they told the daycares they could reopen without giving them any guidance so I imagine they’ve absolved themselves of responsibility here too.

    The challenge is that we’ll be teaching online in the fall too, which is new, and we have NO IDEA what will be happening with the kids and school so I feel like I need to spend some of the summer prepping in case they’re still at home with us. So that means Q and I will keep splitting the day between us. It’s not easy but we can make it work.

    E’s best friend has joined a social circle with two other families in the same class so the parents can effectively run a form of camp and ship the kids between each other. I imagine they’re not the only ones making that choice. And anyone with grandparents near by has probably expanded their circle to include them (provided they’re not in a high-risk environment).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      DC1 is supposed to have a magic camp online in July, but we still don’t know the dates. Which makes it difficult because zie would also like to volunteer as a junior camp counselor for an online math camp but they might overlap.

      We said no to a playdate because there weren’t going to be masks. But I don’t think we’re paranoid…

  3. Anonymath Says:

    We’re in a similar boat as you.

    Our local city camp is inexpensive and outside where the temperatures are already very hot and humid, but they’re not making any safety changes due to COVID. Our local science camp is awesome and our son has enjoyed them in the past. They’re going to be inside and separated from the attached science museum, with curbside pickup and dropoff, and the kids will all be wearing “cleanroom” gear while not eating (it fits with the theme), including lab coats, masks, and booties. We originally signed him up for four week-long sessions, and we can cancel and get a full refund as long as we do it two weeks in advance per session. If any camp can do this right, its the science camp

    BUT, COVID rates here are skyrocketing, and our nearest major city (in the same county as the camp) is predicted to end up with the worst outcome in the US. We’re closely monitoring and expecting to cancel at least the first two weeks, and most likely the second two weeks later, assuming our idiot governor doesn’t step in (or allow our city/county officials to step in).

    We have no family nearby that could give us a break (sister works full-time and mother-in-law is taking fewer precautions than any of us), and although we like our babysitters, the ones that have lax parents are out socializing now and the ones that have strict parents aren’t going anywhere outside their houses. I’m doing ok, but husband is still having trouble adjusting to the idea that we might have to be a little less productive at work this summer (we’re both academics).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, that’s the thing. It’s so unsafe with the lack of government intervention that the people who are taking precautions are holing up indoors while the people out aren’t even wearing masks! I’m hoping this norm will change when the students get back since the university (assuming the legislature doesn’t step in to make it illegal) will be requiring masks at all times on campus. Though when the students get back there will be so many people and that will be dangerous too.

      In the meantime, I’ve been buying lots of masks since it sounds more and more like we’ll be required to teach in person.

      • Anonymath Says:

        So many people here aren’t wearing masks, even workers in local businesses. It’s certainly making me change my shopping habits to businesses that protect their employees (and therefore the customers) more.

        We’ve been given the run-around at our university, with information changing almost daily from upper administrators about what Fall will look like and who (faculty or admin) gets to have the final word on how we teach our classes. The latest was that folks who want to teach fully-online can do so (although you’ll then get pressured to add a synchronous component to your class, even if it was already a perfectly good asynchronous class before COVID), folks who want to teach hybrid can do so (but its your responsibility to teach students who can’t attend face-to-face), and folks who want to teach face-to-face need permission (and a plan to move online or accommodate individuals at a moment’s notice). It’s the responsibility of both faculty and students to clean their own classroom before and after a face-to-face class.

        Honestly, I hope our university president comes to the decision to move fully online soon so that we can all have the rest of the summer to prepare. I very much dislike teaching online, but I dislike change and interruption more.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        At my colleague’s funeral last week (I watched via stream, but many people attended), only one of the string quartet members they hired wore a mask (and it wasn’t the cello player).

        At least our uni has basically said, we’re collecting information but we won’t know what’s going on until mid to late July… so information isn’t changing daily because we don’t really have information yet.

  4. CG Says:

    Our state is now in pretty good shape and our county has only a couple of new cases being diagnosed every day. We are friends with the university hospital system’s COVID 19 management head and he says this is probably a pretty safe time to be out and about. Our nanny has come back three days a week so that helps our youngest out. Seems like most people are not doing camps (we were only going to do a week of tennis camp for the older kids and a week of outdoor science camp for the youngest; both have been canceled). The upside of this is that there are a lot more friends around to play with than usual and we have been doing outdoor and porch playdates. It’s been hot, but not nearly as hot as what you describe where you live, so it’s tolerable to be outside. Our pool has opened and we’ve been doing that a lot. We require some chores, practice instruments, reading, and an analog activity before the kids can get on a screen. After that we are not policing them too much. So far we seem to be (mostly, on most days) succeeding in getting them to just fill their days up with enough other things that the screen time is not out of control the way it was during the school year. I really feel for people in areas where it doesn’t feel safe to let kids get together right now–we had 3 months of that, and I assume we’ll have more at some point–and it is such a bummer.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It’s crazy how the Republicans don’t get that they’re hurting business by purposefully keeping things unsafe (by making wearing masks a negative thing) because the people with money aren’t going out, or they’ve fled someplace safer.

      • CG Says:

        Yes. We had a pretty severe lockdown, which many people complained about, but now (at least temporarily) we can do a lot of normal summer things and that feels great. At least around here adults are really good about wearing masks, not sure how it is in the rest of the state. During the lockdown I actually really appreciated having the decisions about what was safe and not safe taken away from me–made it a lot less stressful.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Just got an email that the sandwich place where we’d been getting emergency groceries (eggs/yeast/milk/clementines/cheese…) from has had to close two locations temporarily because each location had a worker test positive for COVID. That is so bad for business!

        But hey, nobody died from Covid yesterday, which is new. Though apparently intensive care units are at 97% capacity.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Our credit union also had to close several offices across our part of the state for covid outbreaks(!)

        It’s good that they’re closing places instead of just keeping them open. I wonder how many places are pretending nothing is happening.

  5. gwinne Says:

    Our state was hit hard early and opened up comparatively late (MI). Science center decided to run a camp that is already full. Local city-run camp is doing the groups of 5 thing, I think, but has not yet opened for registration. Depending on what that looks like, I might sign up Tiny Boy for the last weeks of the summer. (COVID aside, he hates it) In the meantime, I’ve hired a teen on my block for 2 hrs/day, and my own teen for another 2 hrs/day, to supervise kid-led outdoor play so I can work. If cases go back up again, ‘ll need to cut it back to my own teen. Turns out large infertility-age gap is useful in pandemic quarantine situations. LOL.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It is, though they still squabble!!! (Or at least mine do…)

    • xykademiqz Says:

      Re age gap: DH and I have been doing our will (in case we both drop dead when we go back to teaching in the fall) and it’s convenient that Eldest is 20 and can be (and is willing to be) the guardian for the younger two, as well as the executor of the trust that would be formed upon our death. We have no other family on the continent and no close friends whom we’d be comfortable asking to be guardians for our kids. So the 7 and 11 years age gaps between Eldest and his other other two siblings comes in handy yet again.

  6. omdg Says:

    Your reasoning sounds really sound.

    Around here, local gymnastics camp is open somehow, but I declined to send my daughter because a) it was unnecessary, b) how would you even do gymnastics outside or wearing a mask, or with social distancing? c) the outside activities sound awful — there is literally no shade around the building, and it would be hot and miserable, and probably therefore unsafe. I did sign my daughter up for horseback riding camp in August. I do hope she enjoys it!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I bet Michigan is pretty nice in the summer! One of my colleagues bought a summer house up there (not in Ann Arbor, but on a lake near his wife’s family).

      Spotting seems pretty dangerous from 6 feet away…

      • CG Says:

        omdg I know we are all anonymous and stuff, but I live where I believe you are moving, so would be happy to help in any way I can. Best wishes!

      • omdg Says:

        Thank you CG! That is very kind of you. :-)

  7. bogart Says:

    Our “before times” summer plans were — 1 week camping (household outing), 5 weeks of assorted camps including 1 overnighter, mid-July arrival of cousins likely leading to 2 1-week trips (beach, camping) and local frolicking, 1 final week of camp, school starts.

    DS is very social — being an only kid in a pandemic is challenging, though it does reduce sibling squabbles :) — and enjoys assorted athletic activities (camps were “general outdoors stuff,” basketball, golf, kayaking, music). All the camps except “general outdoors stuff” and golf got canceled. We decided we weren’t happy with “general outdoors stuff” procedures (actually to me they sounded pretty good — it was small groups, masks indoors, distancing. But it’s a new camp for us and DS said he wasn’t comfortable so we cancelled it. Golf is on — it will be hot, hot, hot, but he does it every year (and every year is hot, hot, hot. As someone who spent a lot of my childhood summers here riding horses for hours on end in the heat (uphill both ways in the snow, of course), I’m not too sympathetic/concerned though of course we will sunscreen, pack cold beverages, etc.). It’s an activity that lends itself well to the pandemic, and they’re doing small, separate groups, no indoor time, masks at times of high clustering (dropoff, pickup), distancing otherwise, boxed lunches.

    Cousins aren’t coming, so that’s a (major) bummer (but also a good decision). School is starting (perhaps online) early. DS would be perfectly happy playing Minecraft all day, every day, but I am limiting access to 4-5 hours and insisting he do other stuff. He complains there is nothing else to do, but … I am making this his problem. DH does engage a bit, mostly to take him out to play disc golf or golf. My mom (who lives with us) tries to engage with DS, but the ~7 decade age gap and her deafness make this … limited. She wants to take him out places, like hiking, but I worry about her driving (she has been evaluated and is “safe,” per the authorities, but I have my doubts).

    I am sorry DS doesn’t get to see friends in person (except 1 we meet at the golf course or for hikes in the woods — not really “in our bubble” but close enough to our bubble that we get together outdoors) or participate in camps, but there is an extent to which I think being bored and having to figure out how to entertain/amuse himself will be good for him (he is the same age as your DC1), though I also get that it is frustrating. I do “make” him do some stuff with me (e.g. go with me jogging if he hasn’t otherwise exercised) but even to the extent that I do “provide activities,” he doesn’t WANT to do those activities, which is fair enough but not a problem I can solve.

  8. Cloud Says:

    Our YMCA camps are open with reduced options and I believe they’re moving to entirely outdoors. They were almost all outdoors even in normal years. San Diego summers are such that all outdoors is a reasonable thing! I think some of the water sports camps are opening, too. We’ve seen some of the smaller camp options we’ve done in the past choose to open with masks and distancing and other precautions (I know this because I’m still on their email lists). I think some of the other big camp providers here (e.g., Boys and Girls club) have opened, too, but I didn’t bother to look into it. The camps my kids like best (the Sally Ride STEAM Academy camps) went online. We’re signed up for some of those. We decided not to worry about looking for other options because our kids are old enough to entertain themselves (mostly) while we work, and both of our companies are still mandating work from home. The kids had wanted to try staying home more even before the COVID-19 situation – we had planned a couple of weeks of that into our original summer plan. So they’re mostly OK with this arrangement. My 10 year old is taking some online art lessons (from her usual studio) and has expressed interest in an online camp to learn how to make her own Roblox games, so I’m looking for an option that will work with our schedule. My 13 year old is mostly just going on long walks and reading, and texting/Zooming with her friends.

    We’re also taking the week after the 4th of July off for a family vacation here at home. We’ll go to the beach and the Zoo (newly reopened with sensible precautions) and a few other local outdoor attractions and try to relax and have fun despite the current situation.

  9. Mary Says:

    Clearly, I’m the exception, but I’m perfectly happy staying locked down pretty much indefinitely. I have trouble understanding people who say they need to visit with friends and family, but that’s probably because I lack imagination.

    I’m getting my work done from home and the kids (elementary-school aged and able to mostly take care of themselves) are fine. Yes, they miss their friends and activities, but it’s completely manageable and we do more fun family activities and interne-based stuff.

    I’m sure there are in-person camps and babysitters available, but they don’t seem worth the risk to me — even if that risk is minimal.

  10. accm Says:

    Things are reasonably well under control here (schools are open at reduced capacity and my kids are going) and I will be sending the kids to the out-of-school care most weeks of the summer. They’ll be operating with 50% of the kids and mostly outdoors.

    We have been doing outdoor playdates for a while now (recognizing that 7-year-olds aren’t that great at distancing, but we are encouraged to use our own judgment here) and playgrounds are open again. We’ve also tried a Minecraft playdate on our front steps so the visitor could be on our LAN; that worked all right.

  11. SP Says:

    I can’t answer any detail about local camps since we are still daycare age.

    We’re intending on sending our kid (age ~1.5) back as soon as they coordinate opening for non-essential workers (county restrictions were lifted ~2 weeks ago), which is either next week or mid-August (two “waves”). The toddler rooms are limited to 6 or 8 in larger spaces, spend more time outdoors, adults wear masks or shields, no parents come inside, and no more “family style” group meals. Kids are allowed to play. Hours are slightly reduced. Due to reduced room size, it isn’t 100% clear we even have a spot, in which case we need to figure something else out….

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It’s really interesting how these things are being done in different places. Everything is reopened for everyone here so long as it fits capacity constraints with no masks required.

      • SP Says:

        Do you know if they reduced any capacity?

        Is there a buzz about whether or not school is going to open there? It sounds like it is planned. Here, there are talking about “distance learning” again.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Our southern governor wants to pretend covid isn’t happening so the state wants full face to face. The school district said they will send around a survey. They also know some kids will need remote options.

  12. Katherine Says:

    We will be sending toddler & infant to daycare for the first time starting in August (my husband was previously a WFH-while-taking-care-of-kid dad but is now working full-time in person). The daycares here that haven’t closed permanently are open at usual ratios and room sizes, but often with reduced capacity because some rooms are closed. Some have staff wearing masks, but most don’t. Parents are no longer allowed inside classrooms, and sensory-type toys are put away. It is weird choosing a daycare under these conditions – I’ve had facetime tours at some places, a walk-down-the-hall-and-peek-through-glass-doors tour at another place, and I’m doing an after-hours tour at another one.

    I’ve been reading a lot of Emily Oster, and her arguments (along with my pediatrician’s belief that my kids are low-risk) are convincing me that it’s okay to send the kids to daycare. I also think daycare (and working outside the house) will have HUGE mental health benefits for my toddler and husband, and there is no way I can teach or do any kind of real work with the kids in the house, even if I were going to be working from home in the fall.

    In my state, Covid is not under control but not out of control either. Hospitals have not been overwhelmed. My SLAC is going back in person in the fall with mandatory masks in non-residential buildings, some incomplete social distancing, and no breaks or long weekends (we’re doing class on Labor Day and cancelling fall break so we can be done before Thanksgiving). Pretty much everything is open now, although I don’t know what camps are doing and the school districts haven’t made any decisions yet about fall.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We just got another email from K-12 telling us we’d be getting a survey about our preferences. I don’t know… It does seem pretty much guaranteed at this point that I will be getting it sometime in the fall at school, so does it matter where my kids get it from?

  13. xykademiqz Says:

    Middle Boy has online basketball camp (coaches post drills, kids film themselves doing them, coaches give feedback); he does that in our driveway. Otherwise he’s on Discord with a bunch of friends, playing video games. He has two groups who like different types of games. He’s also gotten into reading anime-based light novels (thereby usurping my Kindle Fire) but I support all his reading so it’s all good.

    Smurf vacillates between Roblox on his PC next to me, and watching YouTube videos on the couch behind Middle Boy. We read Goosebumps together, he also draws some, and has video playdates with his best bud. Sometimes he and DH go outside to play some frisbee or catch Pokemon.

    We’re not doing anything else because nobody (except me) really seems to mind being at home. I’m the only one going for daily walks and I do all the shopping. However, I don’t mind the absence of travel stress or forced vacation fun, so yay!

  14. First Gen American Says:

    Two out of 3 of the main camps we do cancelled the entire summer. The museum moved their camps to virtual ones where they send the robotics stuff home for example. Two of the sports camps are starting late (August). I was thinking of trying to do one sports camp but my younger son messed up his knee so we probably will skip it but that means I may lose the $400+ dollars I paid in already to Daycare flex spending.

    I like that they made masks indoors mandatory here in MA. Makes it so much simpler all around. Honestly I haven’t been forcing the kids to use masks on play dates. Our circle is fairly small but after 2.5 months it’s nice for them to see each other again.

    I really don’t have a good plan except let the kids spend time with friends and take one day at a time.

  15. becca Says:

    My older kiddo has a best friend who often comes to stay with us over breaks, and we he came by a week or so ago. At peak pandemic, I wasn’t comfortable with that (I would’ve felt *terrible* if he’d brought it back to vulnerable family members), but things are a bit more relaxed now (also his Dad is a single Dad and was already sending him to relatives, so might have needed the break).

    Originally, I was going to do Y camp for older kiddo, but he is right at the oldest age (10) and there really aren’t many kids his age still going. Were it not for the pandemic, I would not assume he can be left home independently, but I think it tipped me over (we are in Indiana, and the legal status is… not super clear, tbh).
    I actually have been reasonably impressed with how the Ys seem to be handling things- and they have an ok track record now, since many (including ours) pivoted to doing childcare for essential workers. But the “draw” of our Y camps is the field trips… and the thought of my kid on a hot bus for an hour, even if everyone is wearing a mask… it just doesn’t feel quite right. We may still do a week or two just so kiddo isn’t *totally* bored… but he has soccer and martial arts back (the former stopped entirely and is now back with some new rules, and the later we went down to private lessons and are now back to regular, but the classes are quite small).

    I will have to check into online only camps, but online schooling was *so* bad, I don’t want anything that feels like that.

    My little kiddo is back in daycare- they closed entirely for one two week period due to Covid in one of the kids (out of “an abundance of caution” because it’s not legally mandated), and they have slightly reduced hours. I am not 100% confident they will make it economically. One tiny silver lining? The drop off at the curb procedure leads to way less separation anxiety sadness in my daughter. She doesn’t seem thrilled to be there, which is a bit hard, but it’s much better than it was.

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