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Questions you should ask before sending kids to summer camps and daycares

HOUSTON – While Texas summer camps and daycare centers are back open for business, there are some important questions you need to ask before deciding whether to send your kids to one.

Patrick Quinlan of Kingwood is sending his 4-year-old daughter, Hazel, to a day camp at Kids in Action. His biggest concern is cleanliness.

“Well, one thing before we sent her here, I asked ‘what is your procedure, what are you guys doing, how are you keeping things clean?’” Quinlan said.

Quinlan also asked about the camp’s history.

“There’s been no one that’s gotten sick to this point," he said. "There is no record of anything happening here, and that’s another thing we paid attention to.”

Ask about daycare protocols

At Kids in Action, they care for children ranging in age from infant to fifth grade. There are more than 100 kids and 30 teachers and staff and not one has come down with COVID-19. Everyone is screened before they can enter the building and they keep each child in the same small group every day.

“It’s pretty much the same kids which really helps minimize the spread as well,” said Diane Havens of Kids in Action. “So it’s not different kids every day, it’s the same kids, same teachers, same classrooms.”

Those are all key things parents should look for. Another thing parents should ask is if the toys and other items kids touch each day are sanitized between uses.

Summer camp concerns

Rebecca and Wes Greenwood were concerned what could happen if their kids, 3-year-old Dakota and 5-year-old Alana, caught COVID-19 at camp and brought it home.

“I was most concerned about my parents,” Rebecca Greenwood said. “They are both very high risk.”

Experts say parents should ask camps how they plan to keep kids socially distanced, what their sanitizing policies are, what life inside the cabins will be like and who will be allowed to come and go from the camp during their stay.

Infection rate among kids is low

Several studies show that children have far lower rates of infection than adults. In one study from China, 105 COVID-19 patients had contact with 392 other people, and of those, infections were seen in 20% of adults and only 4% of children.

In another study from Iceland, out of more than 13,000 people tested, no children were positive.

“The good news is that most of our healthy children tend to do better with it,” said Dr. Stanley Spinner, Chief Medical Officer at Texas Children’s Hospital Pediatrics. “Many of them are asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic.”

Spinner said while children weather the virus better than adults, there are still risks in putting your kids with other kids.

“Anytime any of us are around more people, even when we are appropriately socially distanced, we take precautions, there’s still going to be some increased risk of exposure," Spinner said.

Still, Quinlan is confident in sending Hazel to camp this summer.

“We had to kind of start thinking we need to form some normalcy back in our child’s life,” he said. “Because they are children, and all this time has been tough on her.”