WF summer camps take different approach amid COVID-19 pandemic

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KDFX/KJTL) — For many kiddos, summer means camp, but this year will look different as organizers work to provide fun in the midst of COVID-19.

Gov. Greg Abbott said camps could open May 31 and Wichita Falls Parks & Recreation and The Arts Council are balancing the line between summer camp fun and health safety.

With schools closing right after spring break, kids have been cooped up, but summer days don’t have to be spent at home.

The Arts Council Wichita Falls is prepping for its day camps.

“We ended up going from 12 camps scheduled for June/July to four camps,” The Arts Council Wichita Falls Programming Coordinator Kristine Thueson said. “They were the camps that we knew were the most popular and that we knew the teacher had to have the least amount of contact with the students and the students had to have the least amount of contact with each other.”

Just like The Arts Council, the Wichita Falls Parks & Recreation department planned ahead for its four two-week sessions while waiting for guidance.

“We could not have had camp without preparing ahead of time which in some ways if it had failed, we would’ve spent a lot of money that we didn’t get to use,” Wichita Falls Recreation Services Administrator Scott McGee said.

“Sort of make contingency plans, ‘Well, if we can have only five students instead of 10 students, how are we gonna do that? If we can not have any students, can we do it online?” Thueson said.

Summer camps are no exception to the rules as limited groups and frequent cleaning will be incorporated.

Plus pick up and drop off have changed.

“Parents, guardians are going to stay in their car and staff is going to come out and check the kids, they have the COVID questions to ask as a family and then we have the scanners to scan for temperatures,” McGee said. “We’re gonna divide them into separate groups, we’re gonna kind of keep them separated.”

“One of the things that we really really heavily encourage them to do is every time a student picks up a supply, every time a student leaves their table space, to go ahead and grab one of those wipes and wipe everything down,” Thueson said.

While COVID-19 can’t take the fun out of summer, it will change how kids go about having fun.

Read more about how to sign your child up here.

Camp Fire North Texas just recently announced it will not hold its Day Camp or Pool Programs this year.

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