Kids in Uxbridge may be the first to experience summer camps during a pandemic
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COURTNEY McCLURE The Standard
UXBRIDGE: All current Uxbridge camps for kids, intended to run in Summer 2020, are no longer happening in the conventional way. Hunter Jarvis is the recreation coordinator within the Township of Uxbridge. As recreation coordinator, Ms. Jarvis’ job is to develop all recreation and camp programming for the Township of Uxbridge. During the summer she and her team run the Uxbridge summer camps, Uxcamps for short. The Community Services Department is exploring the possibilities of offering modified camp programs, said Ms. Jarvis. The idea of modified summer camps is “under construction” but faculty have yet to solidify any permanent changes. The rough idea is to place each participating camper in a group, these groups are called cohorts. Ms. Jarvis said the term “cohort” is used by the Ministry of Public Health and is outlined in their list of guidelines for summer camps unconventionally running during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are interpreting this term as another word for ‘camp group’,” she explained. According to her, during a typical camp program, participating kids are usually organized into groups according to their age. She said the modified camps will reflect this traditional standard as well. Although they do not have a set plan yet for how people will register their kids with Uxcamps, Ms. Jarvis explained the registration process will not likely change. As of 2018, Uxcamps has been asking clients to fill out the registration form available online, so, if the modified summer camps end up running, families will be asked to register online. If Ms. Jarvis and her team decide to run the modified camp programs, they will have to follow the Covid-19 restrictions. “Naturally, these programs would be of [a] smaller scale,” she said, “so as to comply with physical distancing protocols.” Multiple safety measures would also have to be implemented, added Ms. Jarvis. They will be working with the Durham Region Public Health Department, enabling them to pinpoint where specific guidelines will need to be put into place. “We will be working in conjunction with Public Health to determine the most safe and feasible way to get the children in our community back in action this summer,” said Ms. Jarvis.
Along with public health, the Community Services Department is also working with other local municipalities to brainstorm ideas. According to Ms. Jarvis, UxCamps has a tremendous community following. Attending Uxcamps is also somewhat of a tradition for some residents of Uxbridge and their families. “We are trying our best to keep the spirit alive, under new circumstances,” stated Ms. Jarvis. There are many things the Community Services Department is doing, to try and create a program for Uxcamps, but adding new guidelines and other procedures they have to follow is difficult. The official announcement date, for whether or not Uxcamps will be running the summer of 2020, is yet to be decided. “We understand the need to know,” said Ms. Jarvis, “especially for families trying to plan their summers and parents having to go back to work.”