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Connect The Dots: Last year's lessons mean more pandemic protocols for 2021 summer camps

We look at how one Charlotte day camp plans

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Discovery Place in the Uptown area of Charlotte says COVID-19 precautions are at the top of mind for them as summer camps open up for kids to join in amidst the pandemic. The museum will require face masks for campers, lunches to be brought from home, and daily screenings for symptoms. But why the checklist of requirements?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says summer camps can be held in-person again this year as long as the right precautions are in place. Experts say they're trying to learn the easy way, avoiding the mistakes some camps made last year.

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Here's the full rundown from the CDC: kids and counselors should wear masks, and everyone should spend as much time outdoors as possible. A vaccine mandate was not suggested, but anyone who is eligible for a COVID-19 shot is recommended to get one.

Last year, many camps either stayed closed or only held limited activities. But for the camps that did stay open, important lessons were learned; a summer camp in Georgia saw a virus outbreak there, affecting almost half of the 600 campers and counselors there. The CDC says the camp did not require masks, didn't open windows and doors for ventilation, and encouraged loud singing and cheering. 

On the flip side, camps that implemented multiple safety measures saw success, usually only facing a handful of COVID-19 cases. Another successful tactic: keeping kids in small groups where they only interact with each other.

Have a relative or friend in another state and want to know when they can get vaccinated? Visit NBC News' Plan Your Vaccine site to find out about each state's vaccine rollout plan. 

Contact Ben Thompson at bthompson@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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