A Georgia sleepaway camp proved to be an incubator for the coronavirus after more than 260 attendees tested positive for COVID-19. The YMCA Camp High Harbor had 344 total campers and staff on-site take a test with 260 of them coming back with positive tests. The camp had opened on June 21 before being shut down less than a week later. The site saw 44% of its population contract the virus, including the initial counselor who picked up the virus before being sent home.
The Centers for Disease Control confirmed the story, adding that the site was following some guidelines, but did not have an enforced mask requirement as campers were not forced to wear them. The CDC added that the sleeping arrangements proved to be non-conducive for today’s new normal as multiple kids stayed in a closed, indoor room. In a statement to NBC News, the camp said it “regret” its decision to open up, admitting that they felt obligated after hearing feedback from campers and their family about the importance “to create normalcy in their children’s lives.” Gov. Brian Kemp made an executive camp back on May 31 that allowed summer camps to resume their business in Georgia.
The state’s health department conducted an investigation into the camp, noting that the findings “demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting” and that this also will then impact “all age groups.” It also was determined that the safety guidelines were not fully met nor sufficient enough.
All of this comes as schools reopening have become a heated talking point with summer nearing an end. Florida governor Ron DeSantis remains steadfast on bringing a sense of normalcy back and reopening the state’s educational buildings in August. Despite being sued by Florida’s biggest teachers union, DeSantis has continued to preach the importance of in-person learning as opposed to virtual. In other areas, like Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, schools will be going all virtual. Colleges also remain a question mark with many moving to remote settings, though some major programs, like Syracuse University, had students move-in over the weekend to begin a two-week quarantine before being fully integrated into the campus. Meanwhile, Indiana has already seen what can occur with in-person learning amid the pandemic as one of its high schools already closed its door after a staff member tested positive and others who were in close contact are now self-quarantining.