CDC eases summer camp guidance, says fully vaccinated teens don’t need masks

Virus Outbreak Camp Guidance
Posted at 12:58 PM, May 28, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eased its guidance for summer camps Friday, saying fully vaccinated campers and staff at these sites can return to normal activities without masks or physical distancing.

Masks should still be worn where they’re required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, as well as in businesses that require them.

As for campers and staff who aren’t fully vaccinated, the CDC says camp programs should encourage those people and those who might need to take extra precautions to wear a mask consistently and correctly.

That means that while indoors, people who aren’t fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to use a mask, including children.

When outdoors, the CDC says people don’t generally need to wear masks. However, people who aren’t fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated.

Although people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks, the CDC says camp programs should be supportive of campers or staff who choose to wear a mask.

The CDC says camps may also choose to continue to require masks for vaccinated and not fully vaccinated campers and staff in order to adhere to prevention strategies when it’s difficult to tell who has been vaccinated or to set an example for not fully vaccinated campers.

When it comes to activities where masks could get wet, the CDC says the face coverings should not be worn. That includes when using boats and when swimming at a beach or a pool.

“Because masks should not be worn in pools, campers should maintain physical distance and camps should limit the number of people in the pool at one time,” wrote the CDC. “A wet mask can make it difficult to breathe and might not work as intended. Additionally, masks should not be worn when sleeping.”

When it comes to COVID-19 testing, the CDC says people who are fully vaccinated do not need to undergo routine screenings. If a fully vaccinated person is exposed to someone with COVID-19, they don’t need to be tested unless they are experiencing symptoms. The CDC says anyone participating in camp activities who experiences COVID-19 symptoms should get a test.

In the CDC’s guidance, the agency encouraged all eligible campers and staff to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

At this point, kids ages 12 and up are able to get vaccinated with Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot.