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‘Every possible precaution:’ City officials say summer camps are safe as CampTO begins

Coronavirus: CampTO launches summer camp with restrictions
WATCH ABOVE: The City of Toronto has re-launched summer camp programs and there’s still space left for those who haven’t signed up. As Morganne Campbell reports, summer camp looks much different this year.

The City of Toronto said it welcomed almost 2,500 children on the first day of summer camp, dubbed CampTO, with a number of adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City officials said CampTO is a “new creative camp experience” for children ages six to 12 that offers outdoor and physical activities, active and quiet games, arts and crafts, as well as nature-based activities.

The new program will have additional staff and smaller groups of children to help maintain physical distancing and ensure safe supervision, the city said.

Read more: Ontario reopening Stage 3: Gathering limit increasing as indoor dining, gyms permitted to reopen

“These camps have taken every possible precaution in close cooperation with the medical officer of health to make sure that the camps are safe,” Mayor John Tory said outside of a summer camp session in North York on Monday morning.

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Weekly sessions will run over eight weeks at about 130 locations across the city.

Tory said about 70 per cent capacity has been filled for summer camps and 30 per cent remains open. Parents are encouraged to register their children online.

‘They have been thoroughly put together:’ Mayor John Tory on CampTO
‘They have been thoroughly put together:’ Mayor John Tory on CampTO

“I hope parents out there will think about signing up because there are some vacancies, if their kids are anxious to be at camp, because we can keep them safe here. The City has gone to great lengths to make sure that’s the case,” Tory said.

In addition to smaller ratio of staff to campers and reduced group sizes, other health and safety guidelines due to COVID-19 include: use of masks indoors, physical distancing, mandatory health screening and enhanced facility cleaning.

The city added that each group will stay together for the entire week and not interact with others. Each camper will have their own supplies and equipment to prevent sharing and they’re all required to bring two or three face masks/coverings for indoor activities. Masks will not be required for campers for outdoor activities.

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Read more: Coronavirus: Ontario summer day camps might be allowed to open with ‘strict’ health measures

There will also be no field trips or use of the TTC, instead opting to explore local neighbourhoods during outdoor programming and walks to parks, the city said.

“[The camps] have been thoroughly put together in the interest of public health and your kids will be safe and have fun,” Tory said. “And maybe you’ll get a bit of a break too after a long Spring and Winter.”