EH&E Participates in Study that Demonstrates Camps Can Operate Successfully during the Pandemic

An American Camp Association study of 486 camps that served 90,000 campers reports that only 30 campers had confirmed COVID-19 cases in 2020. This study is the largest survey of COVID-19 cases in child congregate settings at the national level. The study provides evidence that when camps follow the scientific approach outlined in the Field Guide for Camps, camps can operate safely during the pandemic. This study provides valuable information – and much needed hope – for the operation of camps for the summer of 2021.

Dr. Helen Suh of Tufts University, through her affiliation with EH&E, led the scientific analysis of the study with support from Julianne Meehan also of EH&E, Maine Medical Center and the American Camp Association.

The study provides new information on the effectiveness of layering non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to mitigate COVID-19 cases among children and staff within camp settings. (NPIs are actions, apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine, that can be implemented to help slow the spread of illnesses like COVID-19.)

Key findings from the research that provide evidence of successful operations to stem transmission of the virus include:

  • Out of the 486 camps, only 74 camps experienced at least one COVID-19 case (30 campers and 72 staff).
  • Camps consistently implemented strategies for quarantining, contact tracing, sanitization practices, and cohorting, reporting that they successfully mitigated cases from spreading.
  • The study from summer 2020 suggests camps that reported consistent use of non-pharmaceutical interventions also reported lowest incidence of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The complete study findings are available in a manuscript that was released in preprint form and has been submitted for publication after peer review.

The research study manuscript is available at:

The American Camp Association Field Guide for Camps is available at:

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