Guidance for Summer Camps and Child Care this Summer
For school age children, the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s May 22nd Health Order allows child care establishments, summer camps, and other educational or recreational institutions or programs providing care or supervision for children 6 and older to start June 15th. The public health order also expands care for children 5 and under as of June 1st, allowing all children to receive care.
However, summer programs are still expected to adhere to social distancing guidelines and best practices informed by the latest directives by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH). More detailed instructions will be released at DCYF.org/care for child care providers to certify they will comply with DPH and set relevant expectations with parents. The current restrictions include:
- Keep a maximum of 12 children in the same groups each day (10 for programs serving children aged 0 to 5 years old)
- Require children stay together in a “pod” for a minimum 3-week session length (no 1-week camps are permitted)
- Keep groups of children in separate spaces and avoid mixing (minimizing risk)
- Requiring two consistent staff per group of children (ensures group safety)
2020 Summer Camp Calendar & Timeline
Given the need for smaller group sizes and the fact that some summer camps have chosen not to operate mean that spaces may be limited.
Here are some important dates to keep in mind to for summer camps for children 6 and older:
- March 26th - priority registration for existing participants in the San Francisco Department of Children Youth & their Families (DCYF)’s emergency child care program (thus, ensuring continuity of care for school age children ages 6+ of essential workers already enrolled)
- June 6th - registration expected to be made available city-wide at sites led by San Francisco Recreation and Parks, DCYF and their nonprofit partners for school-age children
- June 15th - programs anticipated start date (three 3-week cycles) for school age children
- August 17th - San Francisco Unified School District expected to begin fall instruction (conditioned on additional funding + support being provided to ensure safety with public health guidelines)
5 Considerations When Selecting a Summer Camp During COVID19
Deciding whether you feel safe sending your child to in-person child care or summer camps is a very personal decision. Ultimately, it’s most important that any child care program fits your and your child’s needs and that you feel comfortable. Public Health officials and Mayor London Breed have also acknowledged that it is impossible to completely eliminate the risks of COVID-19 spreading, but are issuing guidelines to minimize it.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind that might help guide your selection during a search:
- Seek out reputable sources of child care, for example: DCYF is expected to publish a list of summer camps by SF Rec & Park, their own nonprofit partners, as well as privately run camps.
- Ensure the age, schedule and price are right
- Find out what type of structured activities and learning environments there will be to support your child’s growth and development (e.g. kids in a pod are allowed to do outdoor activities like basketball, soccer or frisbee, and this is a great time for outdoor play while making new friends)
- Ask what precautions are being taken to ensure kids and caregivers are safe. Some example questions include:
- Are cleaning supplies and personal protective gear in use and readily available?
- What policies and procedures are in place to report a suspected COVID case to authorities and to families enrolled in the program?
- What are best practices around contact tracing or temperature checks?
- What bathroom access will the camp have and what are health and safety procedures in place for accessing them?
- Understand the reimbursement policy and look carefully to ensure the contract or handbook includes important scenarios and considerations; know what happens if the program has to close or gets cancelled, or if you have to remove your child because they or someone else gets sick.
Paying for Care
If you are a family receiving a child care subsidy (e.g. emergency child care, CAPP, CalWORKs)
- Contact your Family Subsidy Specialist (FSS) to see if your voucher could be used to help pay for a summer care program. If you are unsure who your FSS is, you can contact RR@childrenscouncil.org
See our related articles, I need help paying for child care during COVID-19. What should I do?
Who Can Receive Care
The March 22nd Department of Public Health Order permits all children to receive care at programs starting June 1st and for summer programs caring for children 6+ to begin June 15th. All child care providers must follow DPH directives and guidance. You do not have to be an Essential Services Worker or in any other category to be able to use child care.
See related article, During shelter-in-place, am I able to use child care?
Summer Camp Precautions
More detailed guidance is forthcoming by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, but some of what was shared during a recent press conference by Mayor London Breed is highlighted above in this article. Check back here for updates and visit DCYF.org/care where providers will certify their compliance with DPH directives. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has also released guidance to assist administrators and directors of youth programs and camps operating this summer:
See related articles, Where can I get guidance on legal issues related to child care? and "Starting in June, what should I expect related to child care? What will be required for providers and families to do differently?"