Bay Area youth summer camps close amid pandemic

Summer Camp
Momoka Sasaki/Staff

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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, several summer camps for Berkeley youth have either closed for the summer or continue to navigate possible plans of instruction.

Three local youth summer camps have confirmed closure: Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley in Southwest Berkeley, Camp 510 and the Julia Morgan School for Girls in Oakland. The city of Berkeley said it is currently working on guidelines for camps.

The three closed camps have referenced concerns related to health and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the past two weeks, we have been consulting with teaching artists, staff, counselors, Park Day School as well as following public health officials,” Camp 510’s website states. “We quickly realized that with smaller groups of kids, social distance and face mask requirements, we could not run our camp anywhere close to the hands-on, creative, and loving environment that you know us for.”

The update also explains that the camp had additional concerns that until tracing and testing methods become available, it would not be able to provide a safe environment for campers, various staff and families.

Camp 510’s website update also mentions that the camp is planning online workshops and possibly child care for essential workers through its parent organization, Thingamajigs.

According to Manon Johnson, director of admissions and enrollment management at Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley, the school is focusing on reopening in August rather than on holding summer camps.

“We have decided to focus on reopening our campus in August for school, and not compromise it with camps (in case of a covid-19 case, or early second wave),” Johnson said in an email. “We will provide some online french camps but I do not have much info yet.”

Johnson added that details about Ecole Bilingue camps will be on the school’s website soon.

Other camps continue to attempt to plan for the summer. According to campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff, Berkeley Rec Sports, which offers summer camps to children through Cal Youth Programs, is currently still in “planning mode.”

City spokesperson Matthai Chakko noted that Berkeley is working to create guidelines for camps operating this summer.

“We are working on some guidance for summer camps, but it is not yet ready,” Chakko said in an email.

Contact Sabrina Dong at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sabrina_dong_.