Go online or cancel? Summer camps try to adapt to a pandemic

Camp Half-Blood campers could face a very different experience from years past due to social distancing measures spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic.

(CNN)Mythmaking and swordplay are among the usual activities at Camp Half-Blood, which operates day camps in several mid-Atlantic states, including New York and New Jersey.

But with coronavirus looming over the summer season, there may be a need for new kinds of magic and myths.
When schools began to close in March due to the escalating Covid-19 crisis, it became clear to Crystal Bobb-Semple, founder and CEO of the company that operates Camp Half-Blood, that she needed to start devising new scenarios.
    The summer camp might consolidate weeks, delay starts or maybe go online. "We began to think about and imagine what a virtual camp experience could look like," she said.
      Like so many institutions, summer camps are facing uncertainty about whether they'll open and how they'll reinvent themselves if they do. Many are making contingency plans — sometimes several sets of them.
      "Camp should not and will not look as usual this summer," said Paul Dreyer, CEO of Colorado-based Avid4 Adventure camps, which traditionally hosts both sleepaway and day camps.
      Camps in the US South often start earlier than northern ones; some have already canceled. Northeastern camps still have a little wiggle room.
        At the end of April, the Centers for Disease Control and Phrevention released a 17-page draft of operating guidelines for businesses, including summer camps, but decisions will ultimately be made locally and in partnership with health officials. Suggestions include keeping beds 6 feet apart in sleepaway camps and keeping small groups together without mixing.

        Together, 6 feet apart

        Those considerations were already well underway for most camps. The conundrum is social distancing. How can kids packed in groups singing, playing and, for sleepaway camps, tucked into cabins stay 6 feet apart?
        "That phrase, 'social distancing,' is not really in a camp's vocabulary," Ron Hall, executive director of the nonprofit Maine Summer Camps, said.
        Avid4 Adventure's staff spent the last five weeks furiously reimagining day camp.
        Due to the pandemic, summer camps like Colorado-based Avid4 Adventure, whose campers are shown here in better times, have been scrambling.
        They devised three new scenarios, including "Small Group Adventures." This approach would match one counselor to five day campers, who would be dropped