Hill House to Open Summer Camp June 29, Programming Remains in Flux

When Hill House opens its summer camp on Monday, June 29, it’s uncertain whether programming will fall under Phase 2 or 3 of Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan for reopening the Commonwealth.

“We expect the majority of camp activities would operate during Phase 3,” said Lauren Hoops-Schmieg, executive director. “But right now, we don’t know, so we’re planning on opening during Phase 2, just in case.”

On Saturday, Hoops-Schmieg said they were still combing through a 30-page document to determine whether Hill House would be able to use city parks and how much of its Mt. Vernon Street base could be occupied by campers and staff.

During a typical summer, the camp serves 86 campers over 11 weeks, she said, and while this year’s capacity has still yet to be determined, it will undoubtedly be less than that in keeping with social-distancing and other guidelines.

Safety measures this year also include using tape to cordon off separate areas to enforce social distancing and mandating that face coverings be worn. Two separate staircases would  accommodate only up or down foot-traffic while “disinfectant foggers” will be used to sterilize all areas. The camp will also conduct wellness checks of campers and staff, including taking their temperatures and tracking any possible symptoms of illness.

“There will also be no sharing of materials during Phase 2 either,” Hoops-Schmieg said.

Although some concerned parents have dis-enrolled their children from camp because of the pandemic, Hoops-Schmieg said others are eager for their children return to extracurricular activities and socializing with other kids.

“Parents need to go back to work, and they need reliable childcare, and summer camp has always provided that,” she said. “And kids miss their friends. They are able to talk over phone and [communicate via]  FaceTime, but it’s another thing to be together.”

 Hoops-Schmieg said they would notify campers’ parents via email and post it online at hillhouseboston.org as more information becomes available.

But like many other camps, , Hoops-Schmieg recognizes Hill House is now navigating uncharted terrain.

“We’ve talked to the Board of Health, and a lot of camps won’t operate because there are too many procedures they can’t implement,” she said. “But we’re a community center, and we want to bring people together safely.”

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