Put Your Hands in the Air!
The sister of the Governor of Maine and former CDC Director of Maine, Dr. Dora Mills posted this about the summer camps that opened in Maine this summer:
A few weeks ago, there were numerous news stories about summer camp outbreaks in Georgia and other states. People were wisely asking why they were allowed to open. And when they did open, why weren’t they adhering to known effective strategies, e.g. masking, distancing, and cohorting? The good news is that Maine’s overnight youth camps have recently adjourned after a successful summer. They hosted campers and staff from most states in the U.S. as well as a number of other countries. I understand that it appears we did not have one summer camp outbreak. Maine’s guidance required camps to implement all of the known effective strategies. They used a great amount of creativity to implement them, and seemed to have done so very successfully.
Although summer camps are not the same as schools, the experience here this summer gives me optimism that we can do the same for schools and other venues. Having worked with many youth camp directors over the years when I led Maine CDC, I found them and their campers a most creative and flexible group. Teachers I know or have known (including my own mother, grandmothers, aunts, and nieces) as well as school children are similarly innovative and adaptable, which are key ingredients to reopening camps as well as schools. We are also fortunate in Maine to sustain low levels of pandemic activity, although some recent outbreaks are concerning. This gives us higher chances to reconvene schools successfully in the coming weeks.