Summer camps open in Rhode Island under new restrictions

BARRINGTON, R.I. (WLNE) – Summer camps in Rhode Island were allowed to open Monday, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, camp looks different than previous years.

State guidelines require limited numbers of campers together at one time, and constant cleaning and disinfecting of shared surfaces and items.

At the Bayside YMCA in Barrington, only 50 children will spend their summer at the facility’s camp. In a typical summer, the location is used to four times that amount of campers.

But summer fun is still happening despite a global pandemic.

“We still are going to offer archery, and swimming, and art, and sports… just in a bit of a different way,” said Michael Squatrito, YMCA Regional Executive Director.

The Bayside YMCA is open to kids in Barrington, East Providence, Warren, and Bristol. While activities are the same, groups are smaller and have less freedom.

“Campers are going to be staying in their groups for the entire week with the same counselors… Versus our historical camp model which sort of allows campers to explore camp a little bit more freely.”

The 50 campers are divided into four groups with specific names.

“They’ve certainly been in isolation, and so this is a great way to get campers socializing again in a safe way,” said Squatrito.

There’s also plenty of cleaning going on.

“We are disinfecting between groups and daily. We have stations where there’s hand sanitizer, and handwashing stations throughout our camp area both indoor and outdoor.”

On days not so sunny, campers can go inside and still socially distance.

While this summer is different compared to previous years, the YMCA is just happy they can still hold camp.

“It’s been a challenging three months and, you know, to have groups coming back to the Y… it’s why we’re here and we just couldn’t be happier to be offering camp to the community again.”

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island