FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Camp Mount Sequoyah held multiple sports and outdoor student camps this summer, and as of Aug. 6, it’s reported no COVID-19 cases from faculty or staff attending.
Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark) allowed summer camps to reopen back in May, “I know how important this is for our communities and our families, and we have to make sure we have the proper safe guards,” said Gov. Hutchinson.
Even before then, the CEO of Mount Sequoyah Center had already begun preparing.
“Between April to May was when we did most of the planning, and restructuring, like okay, this is happening, this is affecting camps and this is what we’re gonna do about it.” CEO Emily Gentry said.
She said they first cut capacity down from 100 kids to 40 and kept camp goers separated in small groups. “And then we put each of those groups in their own building, so we keep them separate, we have them eat in there, do activities in there,” Gentry said.
They also modified physical activities, opting to give each student their own supplies.
“Instead of playing soccer in the traditional sense, we gave each kid their own ball.” Gentry said.
She said the Department of Health and CDC were very helpful with the planning, and gave them a list of least-risky activities to most-risky activities. This is similar to the risk management phases that have been implemented in schools across the state.
“It was like if you’re doing this, you’re falling in the lowest risk category. So we know that’s what we’re shooting for, is that lowest risk for the kids,” Gentry said.
She said the changes were tough on the kids, but she made it work.
“They’re so excited to see their friends, they want to hug and high fives or do things they normally want to do, so we had our counselors reiterate, you cant do that, but you can do this.” she said.
Gentry said they are lucky to be able to get to bring the kids together for an almost normal summer activity. “We were really excited to be given the opportunity the opportunity for that safe environment,”.
We reached out to the Arkansas Department of Health for confirmation of no infections, and they reported receiving no information.