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Duke Study: YMCA Day Camp Safety Measures Work

Wondering if your child should go to summer day camp this summer? A Duke Health analysis in conjunction with the YMCA of the Triangle says yes – with strong protections and modified programming in place.

The study was conducted from March through August 2020 in collaboration with YMCA of the Triangle Summer Day Camps at locations in six counties. The study was published online on February 3 in the journal Pediatrics.

“These results suggest that the benefit of in-person programming for supporting youth learning and mental health, particularly in vulnerable populations, outweighs the risk of viral spread,” added Dr. Permar, who serves as the Nancy C. Paduano Professor of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine. “This is true, not only in a school setting but in a camp setting where children are engaging in activities like playing outside and at the gym and doing crafts.”

Dr. Permar conducted the study while she was a member of the Duke faculty.

Supporting Families

“Families across the region, trust and depend on the Y for care during the school year and during the summer. Especially during the pandemic, our Y was committed to offering a safe, camp experience for children,” said Lisa Humphreys, YMCA of the Triangle Chief Strategy Officer. “In order to do that, we convened a group of medical professionals to advise us on programming and strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Dr. Permar was one of the consulting professionals. She said the Y should be credited for developing an “academic-community partnership” to involve medical personnel and scientists to ensure precautions were taken.

“They worked hard to stay open and keep campers as safe as possible knowing how important these camps are to kids whose parents are essential workers, work multiple jobs and don’t have another option for child care,” said Dr. Permar.

YMCA Summer Day Camp

At Y Summer Day Camps, kids unplug from technology and explore the great outdoors in a safe, engaging environment. Learn more about YMCA Summer Day Camps.