Summer camp provides essential building blocks that children need to succeed in school and beyond. As COVID-19 began taking so much from children’s lives, KidzToPros was determined to not let the virus steal the important educational opportunities from Bay Area children that are provided by summer camp.
When schools began to shutter in March as cases surged across the country, KidzToPros designed a series of Live Online programs that allowed more than 3,500 students to participate in real-time instruction that provided a balance of learning, enrichment and fun. That framework continued into Live Online Summer Camps, but KidzToPros leaders realized that virtual programming was not meeting the needs of all families.
A recent study from the American Psychological Association revealed that 71 percent of U.S. parents were worried about the impact the pandemic has had on their child’s social development and 60 percent of parents said they had no idea how they would keep their child occupied all summer long.
Fortunately, KidzToPros on-site summer camps offered plenty of social interaction and a wide variety of activities to keep students engaged.
Bay Area students participated in camps including lego robotics, web design, basketball, tennis, crafts and film studio.
A groundbreaking achievement: no COVID-19 at On-site Summer Camps
There was much to celebrate after each KidzToPros summer camp, including new friendships, increased self-esteem and new skills.
As KidzToPros wrapped up its final day of on-site summer camps at 10 Bay Area schools in mid-August, campers and instructors celebrated a groundbreaking achievement: None of the 3,045 registered campers or the 253 staff tested positive for COVID-19 during the two-month run of the camps.
Preparing Schools and Families
The KidzToPros team worked closely with each of the 10 host schools and health officials to craft guidelines that would guarantee the safety of campers, staff and their families. Because the schools were spread across the Bay Area, KidzToPros tracked the constantly evolving health guidelines from four separate counties to create the protocols.
The health guidelines were provided to all parents ahead of the first day of camp and were based on three-week sessions with “stable cohorts” of campers comprising 12 or fewer children. Campers and instructors were not permitted to change cohorts or interact with individuals from other cohorts, and social distancing was practiced within each cohort.
Training for On-site Summer Camp Staff
KidzToPros staff was trained extensively on protocols and provided PPE gear, CDC-approved cleaning and sanitizing products and non-contact forehead thermometers.
“Our instructors always play a critical role in creating a positive learning experience for our students,” said Pooja Shah, CEO of KidzToPros. “Between igniting curiosity and sharing their passions with students, our instructors were asked to take on a monumental new task of ensuring the health and safety of all camp participants. We could not have successfully offered these on-site summer camps without their support.”
Among the other protocols in place at KidzToPros on-site summer camps:
- All participants were required to wear masks while indoors and outdoors
- Temperatures were checked daily; handwashing was required at least 6 times per day
- Instructors and campers were screened for COVID-19 symptoms; all equipment was cleaned regularly
- Drop-off and pick-up times were staggered
- Sports camps were focused on individual skill-based activities rather than scrimmages
- Campers were required to bring their own food and were not permitted to share.
KidzToPros can now be looked at as an example as schools across the country grapple with how to safely bring students back into the classroom. Campers, parents and instructors agreed that the safety precautions were well worth the in-person experience and personal interaction.
“My first grader had a great time at Wonder Robotics this summer,” one parent said. “He loved learning how to program robots, but says his favorite part of camp was eating lunch and having conversations with other kids. As a parent, the temperature checks, consistent hand-washing, mask wearing, small groups, and social distancing practices made me feel safe.”
KidzToPros has released its safety protocols for staff and students to its partner schools and school districts on what they have learned about offering in-person education and enrichment.
LIVE Online Summer Camps Continue Throught Sept. 4
Taught in real-time by experienced instructors, KidzToPros LIVE Online Summer Camps will continue through Sept. 4.
Each camp strikes a balance between structure, educational enrichment and social interaction.
Upcoming topics include LEGO Masters, Hip-Hop, Minecraft Design, Art Skills and Web Design.