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Parents' demand for summer camp spikes after a year in lockdown

A rush of summer overnight camps are reopening this year in states like Maine, Massachusetts and New York.

Why it matters: Parents say their kids deserve "a glimpse of normal life" after a year in lockdown, while camps are getting ready to open as fully as they can because "campers and staff need this experience,” American Camp Association CEO Tom Rosenberg told AP.

  • But the danger of a fourth wave looms if Americans let their guard down too soon. Some states are lifting coronavirus restrictions as vaccinations in the U.S. continue to reach new records.

The big picture: At least 45 states plan to let overnight camps reopen this summer, compared to 39 states in 2020, the AP reports.

What they're saying: “Given all that kids have gone through, it’s an amazing opportunity for them that gives them a glimpse of normal life in a world that’s far from normal,” Elisabeth Mischel, of Short Hills, New Jersey told AP. She is sending her two boys, 11 and 13, to Maine.

One level deeper: In the latest annual survey published by the American Camp Association in February, directors said they faced "external pressures to reopen and do what we've always done" in the face of the pandemic.

Camps that reopened last summer were mostly successful through grouping kids into cohorts, requiring masks and hand washing, and enforcing social distancing — but there were still outbreaks.

What to watch: Parents are scrambling to grab in-demand spots while some states have yet to detail reopening guidelines.

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