As pandemic guidelines loosen, summer camps attempt a return to normal

As COVID-19 rules slowly slacken, many local summer camps are doing their best to get campers back. 

LSU’s pre-college camps will be held both on campus and virtually, pre-college program director Spencer Roby says, but the team has had to change what on-campus looks like, limiting class sizes to 15 and requiring each class stay together, as to not allow for cross contamination. 

It’s a step up from last summer, when all programs were held virtually, Roby says.

Enrollment for the programs is not above normal, Roby says. More than 160 have signed up, and the goal is 200. There were 300 participants in last year’s virtual program.

One reason for the lack of increase in participants may be that students are not able to stay in on-campus housing this year, Roby says, though most of those attending the camp live within an hour of campus. Students have also grown tired of virtual learning and, if they live farther away, may be wary of attending camp virtually.

Many pandemic restrictions are staying in place for the camp as of now, Roby says. Masks will still be required. 

“We’re doing what we can to make it safe, but also make it a fun experience,” Roby says. “We don’t want to hinder the learning process.”

University Lab School will host its first summer camp this year, Principal Christa Leon says. The school used to hold its camps through LSU, but those specific programs were canceled indefinitely last summer. 

The school has decided to limit class sizes, some to 14, but most programs won’t have more than 10 kids, Leon says. Along with limiting class sizes, the summer camp programs will be offered only to the lab school community. Masks are optional, Roby says.

Meanwhile, Trinity Episcopal Day School’s summer camps, from preschool to fifth grade, are all filled. 

This is more than we usually see, camp director Gwen Jewell says, as the program will host around 20-30 more kids each week than it did in 2019. Last year, every spot was filled, but class sizes were limited. 

Trinity’s camp will be back to normal, says Darlene Stoltzfus, another camp director, and masks will not be required.