Category Archives: Camp News

This summer, camps are expecting to bring back the fun. And parents are ready for it.

Pierce summer day camp in New York

While families are signing on for the summer, it’s not without wanting to know the specifics of how camps will protect their children, camp directors say.

Camps that opened last summer have shared their best practices with other Long Island camps, says Will Pierce, owner/director of Pierce Country Day Camp in Roslyn and president of the 30-member Long Island Camps and Private Schools Association. Pierce had 700 people on its campgrounds every day during the summer of 2020 without a single case of COVID-19, he says.

“In the worst-case scenario, day camps will be open under the guidelines from last summer, which worked incredibly well,” Pierce says. Those included pre-camp temperature checks, mask wearing by staff, small cohorts who spent the day together, and other restrictions.

But camp directors say they are waiting for the state to hand down 2021 protocols in the coming weeks, which may amend requirements. “That’s still an eternity in terms of the world we live in; things are changing quickly,” Coleman says.

Transportation to camp will also return; last summer parents for the most part had to drop their children off and pick them up. But how that will be handled hasn’t yet been prescribed by the state, Pierce says. His camp has its own buses and has been operating them for local school districts with all students wearing masks at a 50% to 66% capacity so that each child can sit next to a window and windows can be open when it’s warm enough, Pierce says.


Diana Shapiro, 38, of Great Neck, who works in finance, says her three children are the third generation to attend Pierce. Last summer, however, she and her husband decided not to send them because of uncertainty. This year, they feel comfortable sending them back; their older son and daughter, ages 10 and 7, will go to Pierce’s sister sleepaway Camp Birchmont in New Hampshire and her younger daughter, 5, will attend Pierce on Long Island.

The fact that their friends sent their children to Pierce last summer and had only good things to say, coupled with Shapiro’s expectation that vaccination rates will climb by summer, made the family feel good about resuming camp. “Things are just getting better,” Shapiro says.

Coleman agrees. “I’m all about 2021,” he says. “I think this summer will be one for the ages.”

Read the full article at

By Beth Whitehouse Beth Whitehouse,  @BethWhitehouse1

Beth Whitehouse writes about families, parenting and great things to do with the kids on Long Island. She’s been a Newsday editor and shared a 1997 Newsday staff Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the crash of TWA Flight 800.

Summer Camps to Reopen this Summer

“If camps follow the guidelines, campers can attend safely.”

Kids in New York will have more opportunities for fun this summer. Day and overnight summer camps will reopen in June. Day camps were allowed to operate at limited capacities last summer but sleepaway camps were closed the entire season. Here’s a look at which guidelines are in place to keep everyone safe.

Cheering for a teammate, dribbling a basketball, learning to play tennis and soccer… these are the sights and sounds of summer camp that Will Pierce hopes to bring back this summer. Will Pierce is the owner and director of Pierce Country Day Camp in Roslyn, NY. It won’t be long before children are back here. Camp ran last year at a reduced capacity. Will Pierce says “We will only operate if we can do so safely. We operated at a group maximum of 15 campers, all staff were in face masks, and we had a daily health screening.” This year Pierce hopes to increase the group sizes but continuing the protocols that kept them safe – sanitizing equipment and having the staff members wear masks. Pierce says “We had over 700 people here every single day with zero cases.”

According to a recent Duke University study that examined 54 YMCA camps in North Carolina during the pandemic, there were only 19 symptomatic cases out of nearly 7,000 campers and staff. “Camp is a very controlled environment. It always is.” According to Susie Lupert, Executive Director of American Camp Association New York-New Jersey. This year Governor Cuomo has allowed sleepaway camps to reopen. Lupert believes if camps follow the guidelines campers can attend safely.

North Shore Day Camps and Summer Camps reopening

North Shore summer camps plan reopening following Cuomo announcement

North Shore summer camps plan reopening following Cuomo announcement

The announcement came last week from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, during a news conference in which he also said that outdoor amusement parks and family entertainment centers could begin reopening procedures in the next two months. Specific reopening guidance, including details on timing, will come from the Department of Health in the coming weeks.

“In New York, we base our decisions on the science and data and adjust as the virus adjusts,” Cuomo said. “With continued decreases in the infection and hospitalization rates, we have been able to take steps toward beginning our post-COVID recovery and we are excited to now be in a place where we can bring back our recreational industries with safety protocols in place. As we’ve said time and time again, our success will be dictated by our actions and as long as we stay united and keep carrying this momentum forward in a positive direction, we will be able to see more and more sectors of our economy reopen.”

On the North Shore, innumerable camps are waiting for opening protocols, including the Pierce Country Day Camp, Shibley Day Camp and Beth Sholom Day Camp in the Roslyn area; the Buckley Day Camp in North Hills, operated by the Buckley Country Day School; and the North Shore Day Camp in Glen Cove; operated by the TLC Family of Camps.

For Will Pierce, owner and director of the Pierce Country Day Camp and president of the Long Island Camps and Private Schools Association, the news was “very pleasing.”

“In New York state, the Department of Health is the governing body that permits day and overnight camps and we believe they should be applauded for using the data from an incredibly successful summer 2020 day camp season in [the state] to recommend overnight camps be allowed to welcome campers in summer 2021,” Pierce said. “It is a science and data driven decision that also supports the healthy development of our children”

Heath Levine, director of the Shibley day camp, echoed the sentiment.

“It is refreshing to know this is on the Health Department’s mind now and we will have plenty of time to prepare when they forward restrictions and regulations in the spring,” Levine said.

Last year, approval for camps to reopen was given early in June, and as a result, according to the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey, many had to push start dates back and offer shortened seasons.

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for day and overnight camps advise that small groups of campers stay together all day and each day, remaining at least six feet apart, refraining from sharing objects and prioritizing outdoor activities for the lowest risk of spread of the coronavirus.

Masks and frequent handwashing are also encouraged, with stringent cleaning and disinfection, ventilation, and water standards mandated. Physical barriers such as sneeze guards and partitions should be in place, shared spaces such as mess halls and playgrounds should be closed, with campers encouraged to bring their own foods as much as possible and eat in small groups. Field trips are not permitted.

Pierce added that despite the late opening mandated by the state last year, his own camp did not see any cases last summer and that he was looking forward to maintaining that record.

“As camp owners and operators, we have long been at work already preparing for summer 2021, but the governor’s announcement made for many happy campers who can now look forward to summer at camp,” Pierce said.

Read the full article on