Summer camp programs prepare to open with limitations

Updated: May. 13, 2020 at 9:54 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As Louisianans get back to work, many are faced with the added challenge of finding childcare. Though it’s included in Phase 1 reopening, the summer camps some parents rely on have limited availability or they’re closed altogether.

“We usually do camps, as many camps as we possibly can throughout the entire summer because my husband and I both work,” said New Orleans Mom Jeanne Casey.

Yet, Casey’s kids are not signed up for summer camp. She says she still hasn’t received notice from the camp she sends them to each year.

“It’s something we talk about, like 20 times a day, trying to figure out what the future holds for these kids, for the summer, and what happens for me. I need to work,” Casey explained.

“We’re very accustomed to what it looks like to play with six feet of social distance and groups of less than 10,” said Kidcam President & CEO Melissa Conner.

Kidcam specializing in summer camp. Its existing system, which includes frequent hand sanitizer, parent pick-up from a distance, and employee temperature checks, started mid-May when 15 Kidcam locations became childcare facilities for Ochsner healthcare workers.

"It does help us roll right into summer when were able to do so and we know it can be done so, we really led the charge for what that summer camp model looks like,” Conner explained.

That model closely mirrors the state’s recommendation for Phase 1 of reopening, which also required facilities operate at 25-percent capacity. That includes employees.

Though Conner is waiting to see the official proclamation, Thursday, she’s confident Kidcam will be ready to open the Tuesday after Memorial Day, while adhering to all guidelines.

The only problem is their limited capacity for campers.

It’s something other summer program coordinators are facing, also.

“We will use our campus as creatively as we can to make sure we’re opening it to as many families as we can but because we’ve received a number registration so far, we’ve paused for now,” said Academy of the Sacred Heart’s Director of Communications Meg Labumbard.

Labumbard says they’re committed to opening safely for parents and their kids.

“We recognize how important fun, constructive activities are for kids, especially right now,” Labumbard said.

Meanwhile, Casey is still looking for something to open up for her two kids.

“It’s pretty scary because working from home with a three and a seven-year-old is next to impossible,” said Casey.

St. John the Baptist Parish cancelled its summer camp programs. Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng says they’re currently accepting campers with plans to open but still waiting for the governor’s official proclamation.

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