Field trips and large group gatherings are not allowed under current state guidelines, which means summer activities for children are altered, postponed or canceled to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Oregon Health Authority released guidance on summer camps on May 15, which allows for day camps but not overnight camps. It also calls camps “an important enrichment activity for school-aged children (K-12) and are also important as a source of childcare for many working parents.”
Organizations throughout Douglas County have been making decisions on whether to hold camps in person, virtually, or cancel them.
Here is an overview of the various responses from local organizations:
CONTINUING IN PERSON
Maple Corner Montessori’s summer camp, Patriot Camp and activities through the Boys & Girls Club of the Umpqua Valley will continue, although they’re ready to make adjustments based on the latest guidance from the state.
Maple Corner Montessori is only offering full-day options to adhere to state guidance, but will continue to offer weekly or summer-long camps from June 15 to Aug. 21 for preschool and elementary schoolers. As of Wednesday, there were still a few spots available for children.
“The only activity that has changed is swimming,” said Leanne Jorgensen, founder and head of the school, about the camp that will be held at the school on the Umpqua Community College campus. “The pool is not open and unless the pool is opened back up, we won’t be swimming.”
Boys & Girls Club of the Umpqua Valley is also planning to reopen with new guidelines in place on June 15.
In the past, the club would host about 200 children on a summer day. This year, space is limited to 40 or 50 children.
The club also will not host summer camps as it had in the past, but is instead open for summer programs with activities at its own facility.
“We’re working on finalizing the programs,” said Bryan Lake, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Umpqua Valley. “Parents have always been supportive of the club. We know they’re going to be understanding. We want to do it safely and properly.”
Registration for the summer programs starts at 8 a.m. Monday at the club. No registrations can be completed over the phone or online.
Lake said if state guidelines change during the summer, the club is prepared to make adjustments.
Patriot Camp, which teaches the basics of American history, is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. from July 6-10. Organizer Linda Middlekauff said she hopes the program would be able to host 90 children this year.
“We have some wonderful things lined up,” she said. Although current state guidelines don’t allow for gatherings of 90 people, Middlekauff hopes the guidelines will have changed by the start of camp.
Some camps have moved online, such as the Umpqua Community College summer camps, Camp Millennium and library summer reading programs.
“We made a proactive decision to not offer face-to-face camps this summer,” UCC spokesperson Tiffany Coleman said. “What we did do was to create STEM-based camps this summer for ages 8 to 14 and offer them online.”
The college is following state guidance issued through the Higher Education Coordinating Commission and Oregon Community Colleges Association, not the state’s guidance on reopening in Phase 1.
The year’s summer reading program, with the theme “Imagine Your Story,” will also take place mostly online, although children are invited to pick up craft kids from 3 to 6 p.m. each Thursday starting on June 11.
The library remains closed, but staff hopes to visit different parks in Roseburg for outdoor stories, games and crafts. For now, storytime will be virtual, and the reading log can be downloaded from the library’s website.
“The library is following guidelines from the Governor’s office as well as recommendations from the State Library in planning safe activities,” Youth Librarian Aurora Oberg said. “If guidelines change as we move into summer, the library will adjust its plans accordingly.”
Once outdoor gatherings are allowed, information on locations will be available on www.roseburgpubliclibrary.org or the Roseburg library Facebook page.
Camp Millennium is also going virtual this year. On its Facebook page, the organizers wrote, “We are excited to offer digital activities and camp-in-a-box care packages to help our campers participate in camp from the comfort of your homes! We are looking forward to staying connected this summer!”
POSTPONED OR CANCELED
Douglas Education Service District and the YMCA of Douglas County announced on May 20 that PartnerSports Camp would be replaced with a celebratory parade for its 15th year in Douglas County, but no actual camp would take place.
“The camp has provided a free opportunity for kids with and without disabilities, ages 12-21, for the past 14 years to come together each summer and celebrate each other while developing skills and promoting healthy lifestyles,” said Bryan Hinson, Douglas ESD special education administrator. “Sadly, under the Governor’s order and for the safety of everyone involved, we are canceling camp this year.”
For the past 14 years, the camp paired children with a disability with partners without a disability to participate in sports and camp activities.
Instead, a parade will take place July 25 in the parking lot of the YMCA with a brief ceremony for past campers and partners.
Wildlife Safari also canceled its summer camps this season, and organizers for Umpqua Valley Arts summer and Vacation Bible School programs are waiting to make a decision but are not currently planning to start programs in June.