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Mecklenburg County summer camps see high demand

Discovery Place is among the many local organizations ready to welcome kids back and they're already seeing high demand.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Last year, children missed out on summer camp, but new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says camps will be able to open for in-person activities, as long as they take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Discovery Place is set to hold dozens of summer programs at all three locations this summer.

"It's been a challenging year for children to adapt but they've done so. I think getting back to in-person, hands-on engagement is really something that people are ready to do," Vice President, Learning Experiences at Discovery Place, Heather Norton said. 

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Discovery Place is among the many local organizations ready to welcome kids back and they're already seeing high demand.

"We've gotten a huge response," Norton said. 

RELATED: Sporting events respond to lifting of North Carolina's outdoor mask mandate

But after a year of COVID-19 restrictions, camps will be different. At Discovery place all campers must wear a face covering. They will have to bring their own lunch, snacks, and refillable water bottle, as no food or water fountains will be available. Kids will be health screened daily, and each camp will have its own dedicated classroom and bathroom.

"Our camp class size is 20 children, we're looking at four groups here at Discovery Science each week," Norton said.

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The CDC recommends camps emphasize vaccination for staff and campers.

"My hope and expectations are that the FDA is able to look at the Pfizer product to at least extend it down to age 12 which would allow some kids going to camp to potentially get vaccinated for the summer," Dr. McCurdy with Atrium Health said.

Since many kids can't get a shot yet, the CDC does recommend masks outdoors, but in North Carolina on April 30, the mask mandate for outdoors will be dropped. 

RELATED: CDC says many Americans can now go outside without a mask

"We may lift it for the outdoors, just depending on the level of what's going on with the virus," program director of Mecklenburg County Council Boy Scouts of America, Alan Keiger said. 

The Mecklenburg County Council Boy Scouts of America say they're expecting 1,100 campers this summer. Keiger says they will be following state and federal safety guidelines. 

"We've been running programs now since last July and we've had no cases of COVID," Keiger said. 

Both camps said these rules and restrictions may change as most camps are expected to start in June. 

Also, they say you need to sign your kids up fast because spots are filling up.

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 Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.