What to Expect at Summer Camp: Staying Healthy in 2021 – Camp Fire Central Puget Sound

Summer Camp at Sealth will look a little different this summer, and we want to help share the changes with our families, campers, and staff.

Over the weeks leading up to camp this summer, Camp Sealth will be sharing what we’re doing this summer to keep campers, staff, and families healthy. For those who have never been to camp before, this will also be a glimpse into what camp life looks like; for returning campers and families, we’ll be talking about some of the changes we need to put in place to respond to COVID-19.

Since closing our program in 2020, we’ve been gathering information from other camps that stayed open along with staying up to date on the latest COVID research. We know a lot more about the virus this year, and will be using the strategies we know to be the most effective in our approach. We’ll also be following all guidance from Washington State and the American Camp Association.

Between these resources, we’ve identified two primary strategies to help our camp family healthy this summer:

Our first strategy is to put campers into small group cohorts (cabin groups) and to keep those cohorts consistent throughout the entire week, both for sleeping and daytime activities. Maintaining small groups (usually no more than 8) helps us identify and isolate individuals when an exposure occurs.

The second strategy is to implement multiple layers of protection called “NPIs” (non-pharmaceutical interventions), especially those proven most effective at reducing the spread of respiratory illness. NPIs include wearing masks, social distancing, and staying outdoors. We know that no single NPI will work 100% of the time – they each have limitations – but multiple layers help mitigate the risk.

Here are some NPI’s that you can anticipate seeing at Camp Sealth this summer:


    • Cloth face masks are required by campers and staff most of the time
    • Exceptions are made for times of day that make sense: eating, sleeping, and showering when only in their own cabin group
    • We recommend sending 1 clean mask for each day of camp (but we’ll have extras, just in case)

Staying Outdoors & Physical Distancing

    • All camp activities will take place outdoors!
    • All activities take place with the small cabin group or combined with one other group for no more than 16
    • Any larger group activities, such as our end-of-week closing campfire, will take place outdoors and with each cabin group physically distanced from each other


    • All camp staff are eligible to receive a vaccine now, and we are strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated before camp begins
    • We will also encourage any CITs, LEADs, and campers (over age 16) to get a vaccine when they are eligible

Testing & Screening

    • All campers will need a negative COVID test before camp.
    • The test must be no more than 3 days before the start of camp, and campers must quarantine between the test and arrival at camp.
    • State rules won’t allow us to accept any campers without a negative test (unless fully vaccinated)
    • All campers and accompanying family members will go through a brief health screening on arrival – a short questionnaire and temperature check
    • Campers will not be allowed to stay at camp if they or any household member has recently experienced symptoms of COVID-19
    • We will be doing brief daily health screenings and temperature checks of all campers and staff.

Hand Hygiene

    • We already encourage frequent handwashing, but even more so this year – before and after meals, after using the bathroom, and between activities.
    • Sinks are located in bathrooms all throughout camp and at the dining hall.
    • Counselors will carry hand sanitizer for times when a bathroom isn’t close by.

Other Interventions

    • Increased cleaning, especially of shared, high-touch surfaces
    • No sharing of food or personal items
    • Maximizing space between bunks and sleeping head-to-toe in cabins
    • Increased ventilation in indoor spaces – cabins, bathrooms, and dining hall

We’ll be back again soon with more features of What to Expect at Summer Camp including Food Service, Traditions, Check-In & Out Procedures, and more. Though Camp Sealth may look slightly different, we know that our kids need camp more than ever and we’re taking every precaution we can to ensure a safe experience.