Common Camp COVID-19 Questions

In accordance with the Governor’s phased-in reopening plan for child care programs you can view our Camp Health and Safety Plan. This plan follows the CDC guidance for our  programs.

Please visit the Welcome Back to the Y   page for more  information about our summer camp programs.

Below are some of the common questions about how COVID-19 will affect summer camp this year. This information will be regularly updated,  so make sure to check back periodically.

Last updated: July 29, 2020




Governor Wolf’s Mask Mandate: Clarification for Y Families

What we know:
• The Governor of PA has issued a mandatory mask policy for everyone age 2 and over.
• Wearing of masks does help lessen the spread of the virus.

What we will be doing:

  • Chester County Health Dept. has advised we continue with our current guidelines in place. We will encourage masks for children over the age of 2.
  • In accordance with Gov. Wolf’s mandate, we are asking parents to send your child to camp/childcare with a mask DAILY. Ages 2 and over.
  • We will closely monitor children for any signs of distress caused by wearing a mask and will immediately allow its removal in these instances.
  • Young children will NOT wear masks during nap time.
  • Outside play- whenever possible participants will maintain 6 feet or more of social distance from oneanother and be permitted to remove the mask.
  • Stable groups will be maintained to minimize the risk.
  • We cannot guarantee all participants will safely wear a mask all day, especially in cases of underlyingmedical conditions and mental health concerns.
  • Concerns or questions: please contact your child’s Camp or Childcare Director.

Teens participating in the LIT program are required to wear masks.

The Camp Staff are currently required to wear masks.

If the YMCA identifies a child who tested positive for COVID-19 or we learn they are positive, we will take the following steps: 

  • The YMCA will immediately notify local health officials.
  • The YMCA will notify the parents of those in the affected stable group.
  • The Camp Director will inform those who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms and to follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
    • If a person does not have symptoms, CDC guidance for home isolation should be followed.
  • Children in the stable camp group and staff who were in close contact with the affected camper will be asked to stay home for a length of time recommended by the Chester County Health Department.
  • This initial short-term dismissal allows time for the local health officials to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation impacting the Y and for custodial staff to clean and disinfect the affected facilities.
  • The Y will work with the local health officials to determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended dismissal duration is needed to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19.
  • The affected areas will be closed for 24 hours, then thoroughly disinfected before using it again.

In the case of a confirmed case, the CDC recommends the child not return until: 

  • Authorization by a medical professional OR at least 72 hours have passed since recovery, which is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications
  • AND at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared OR receipt of a negative COVID-19 test.

Drop-off and pick-up will be done as we have in past years curbside, limited contact, with parents and guardians remaining in their cars.

When you arrive in the drop off lane, your child’s temperature will be taken and you will be asked a short series of health screening questions by a staff member who will be wearing a mask. Your child will then be escorted to the camp by our staff.

Establishing and maintaining a safe and healthy camp experience remains our top priority.  In all of our planning and preparations we are following all CDC, local, state, and government guidance. We will follow guidelines, mandates and recommendations from the local health agencies & CDC. We are exploring all challenges, options, protocols, and health practices that factor into our ability to deliver summer programs safely.

Because this situation is constantly changing, we are continually working and updating our procedures. Some of the new procedures include:

  • All children and staff will be screened prior to the start of each day to ensure they are healthy. Anyone exhibiting a fever of 100.4 or higher or other symptoms of illness will not be permitted to attend camp or childcare programs. Visitors will need special approval to be onsite.
  • More frequent hand-washing breaks and enhanced disinfecting procedures are being implemented.
  • Parents and guardians will remain in their cars during camp drop-off and pickup with a member of our staff accompanying each child to the camp site.
  • Camper groups will likely be smaller than in previous years and activities where staff and children are spaced further apart will be employed.
  • Social distancing will be employed through the use of stable groups of nine children or less and at least one staff person. Every effort will be made to keep siblings in the same group, as well as having the same staff member with each group. This group will be autonomous, maintaining recommended social distancing from all other groups and in this way, the children will be limited in their exposure to others.

While these programs will certainly look different, our team is working hard to create a safe experience within the new parameters so that all children still safely enjoy exciting adventures, can begin new friendships and have a great summer.

Your child’s safety is our number one priority and we will continue to adjust to the guidelines and protocols recommended by the CDC and our local health agencies. In accordance with the Governor's phased-in reopening plan for summer programs you can view our Camp Health and Safety Plan, which follows the CDC guidance for Summer Camps.

We will be keeping parents updated on key decisions regarding changes to our programming and safety protocols. We ask for your patience as processes change accordingly.

Please check out the Welcome Back to the Y page for information.

All children and staff will be temperature checked upon arrival. Should the temperature reading be 100.4 or above, AND/OR if your child is showing any signs of illness, they will not be permitted to attend camp. For everyone's health and safety, we cannot make exceptions, and we thank you in advance for not asking our staff to do so if your child is not permitted to enter the camp site. There is a short questionnaire regarding COVID exposure as well upon arrival.

Social distancing requires a combination of several protocols.

  • Social Distancing in the Drop-off & Pick-up time will be accomplished by physical markings among age groups within a space.
  • Stable Groups, throughout the day, will function as a cohort of children and staff that stay together.
  • Staff will maintain the 6 ft. recommended distancing from each other, whenever possible.

All camp staff will be trained on social distancing, stable groups, cleaning and disinfecting (according to CDC guidelines), virus spread reduction practices as well as required handwashing. Each branch will have a designated staff member responsible for making sure that all program participants as well as staff, adhere to the requirements.

All campers will participate in an orientation to include a discussion on the need to be attentive to personal space and avoiding close contact, stable group management, handwashing techniques, mask management, keeping hands away from the face, sneezing and coughing etiquette and respecting others' belongings.

We strongly encourage parents to review and emphasize the importance of good hygiene with your child everyday.

Yes! We are adding multiple hand washing stations at each site. Campers and staff will wash their hands upon arrival and multiple times during the day. Staff will instruct children how to wash hands effectively, and we ask that you review the importance of handwashing at home. Hand sanitizer will be available when sinks are not close by.

Hand sanitizer will be provided and used as needed when campers and staff are not near a sink. Campers are not permitted to carry hand sanitizer. Parents will need to sign the Hand Sanitizer Consent form located in each child's E-Pact file.

Parents are invited to donate hand sanitizer to our camp program. 

All branches have reduced the number of camper spots each week. Numbers are based on the available indoor space in the event of bad weather.

Camp group size will also be reduced to a ratio of one counselor to 9 children.

We cannot offer an opinion on whether or not participating in YMCA programs is a good fit for your child. That decision is up to you. We can assure you that, following the guidelines we have been provided, we are doing everything we can to provide the safest environment possible for children and staff.

Weekly activities will include arts and crafts, nature and STEM, drama, field games, sports and movement, water play, and theme-related activities. We will also be intentional about incorporating language arts and math opportunities into our activities to support children academically during the summer months.

The stable groups will share equipment as needed but every effort will be made to provide individual supplies and equipment whenever possible. Items that will be used by another group will be cleaned and disinfected between groups.

Yes, the playgrounds will now be available for campers. They will be disinfected daily as part of the daily cleaning/disinfection process.

We used the available square footage in our indoor spaces to determine the number of children we can have at a site. The measurements used far exceeded the 6-foot social distancing recommendation (36 square feet) allowing for children to be able to move around even though they would still be staying in their stable groups.

In all indoor spaces, we have removed any unnecessary items and reduced the amount of furniture. Seating around tables is limited and soft surfaces that are tougher to clean have been removed. Program areas will be further apart, and the number of children invited to play in these areas will be reduced.

At this time, direction from county and state officials states that we can operate pools with groups no larger than 25.

There will be recreational swimming sessions scheduled for the campers at the Lansdowne, Ridley and Springfield YMCA’s.

Due to transportation restrictions, there will be no swimming sessions for campers at the Sabold Elementary School Camp.

The CDC recommends no visitors on site. So this summer, we are not inviting parents to visit. If you have specific concerns, please discuss them with the camp director.

Visit our Summer Camps Page Here and search for your specific YMCA’s camp page and view all information and register.

We want you to be able to register for camp with confidence and we understand that this situation is fluid and have adjusted our refund and cancellation policy as follows.

Canceling Your Camp Registration

  • Two Weeks Prior to the Start of Your Camp - If for any reason you need to cancel your camp registration, you will receive a full refund for any fees you have paid, including deposits, if you cancel at least two weeks prior to the first day of the camp session for which you are registered.
  • Less than Two Weeks Prior to the Start of Your Camp - If for any reason, you need to cancel your camp registration within the two weeks immediately prior to the start of your child’s camp, refunds will not be given, per our current policy.
  • No Show - If you are registered for a camp session and do not attend for any reason and/or do not notify us that you will not be attending at least two weeks prior to the start of the session, refunds will not be issued.

If your program is canceled by our Y or a governing agency at any time – here are your options:

Donate to Help Sustain the Y

Donate the fees already paid or any portion of fees paid. We will be happy to provide a tax receipt for your thoughtful and generous gift. Click here to Make a Donation

Receive a credit with Y-Dollars

Apply the funds you’ve paid to a future camp experience or program.  We will hold the session/program of your choice through September 1, 2021. (Y-Dollars Form)

Get a refund

Receive a refund of all deposits & payments paid.

Continue to check your email for communication around summer camp and follow us on Facebook as we will post updates as they develop. Please also always feel comfortable to reach out and contact either MJ Gilbert ( or Debbie Mignogna ( with any specific questions or concerns.

Continue to check your email for communication about summer camp and follow us on Facebook we will post updates as they develop. Please also always feel comfortable to reach out and contact either MJ Gilbert ( or Debbie Mignogna ( with any specific questions or concerns.