The East Allen Board of Supervisors voted to bring back the township’s summer camp program during their May 28 virtual meeting. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will look very different for its participants.
Sign-ups will be capped at 75 children aged seven to ten, half the usual number of participants. They will be split into groups of 20 or 25.
“We do not feel comfortable doing the full 150,” said Chuck Frantz, summer camp director.
There will be two counselors for every 15 children. Many of the counselors are returning from previous years and have “social distancing games” set up.
Frantz added that the counselors are excited to return, even though they understand “how very serious this is.”
Field trips, special guests, and events like Rita’s ice day will not be held. Children will be dropped off by their parents, who will be required to stay in their vehicles. Counselors will go over a checklist with them to ensure no one in the household has been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
In addition to washing stations and hand sanitizer, counselors will be required to wear masks. Frantz added that children will be requested to wear masks, but not required. There will be releases for parents to sign.
“I will be constantly on [the children] for washing their hands and keeping everything clean,” he said.
Supervisor Roger Unangst asked solicitor Joseph Piperato whether the township is covered by insurance should someone get sick. Piperato was unsure, adding that this is very new territory.
“It is going to take years and years for all of this to shake out legally,” he said. “As long as the guidelines are being followed [from the state] I do not believe we will have liability issues.”
Only Supervisor Don Heiney voted against the motion to hold summer camp this year.
“Is summer camp really that important for one year in light of the possible hazards?” he asked. “I do not want to have that on my conscience.”
Supervisor Chris Cruz said the decision should be left up to parents.
Summer camps are allowed under Governor Tom Wolf’s orders, as long as groups of children are kept to fewer than 25.
“We have tried to safeguard as much as we can,” said township manager Brent Green.
Camp will start on June 29 and end the first week in August. Cost will be $200 for township residents. Registration will open up for non-residents if spots are not filled. Their cost will be $300. Those interested in registering can call or email the township building.
Frantz is looking forward to camp, but he knows there is a lot of work ahead: “I think this will be our toughest year.”