Bristol will still have summer camps this year, with safety precautions taken

Published on Saturday, 23 May 2020 15:07
Written by BRIAN M. JOHNSON

@brianjohnsonBP

BRISTOL – The Department of Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services has announced that it will be offering summer camps beginning June 29.

Program registration is scheduled to begin Wednesday May 27 for Bristol residents. Non-residents may be

accommodated one week prior to the start of camp if spaces are available.

“Summer camps are extremely important to working families so that they can get back on track this summer knowing that their children are being cared for and safe, fun camps,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu.

The preferred registration method will be online with a credit card through bristolrec.com starting midnight May 27. In person registration with cash or check will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 27, 28 and 29 at the North entrance (police department side) of Bristol City Hall at 111 N. Main St. Starting May 27, residents may also register over the phone with a credit card from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling 860-584-6160.

Recreation Supervisor Jessie Caetano said that summer camps will look different than in the past due to following recommendations from the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood and local health officials. Caetano said that staff are committed to ensuring that programs are safe for all participants.

“Because summer camp is an essential service for families returning to work the department is changing the name this summer from Summer Camp to Summer Care,” she said. “This is due to anticipated restrictions surrounding our ability to offer field trips, guest entertainment, and daily visits to the pool.”

Summer Care will be available for campers ages 5 to 13. The program runs Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Due to program modifications, the price has been reduced to $95 per week. Participants are able to sign up for a single week or the entire summer.

Joshua Medeiros, superintendent of the Department of Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services, said that in order to provide the safest care possible, the department has invested in additional staff, personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer, thermometers and more. Summer Care will be offered at several sites across the city including Rockwell Park, Page Park, Bristol Central High School, and Bristol Eastern High School.

Registration will be offered for those sites on Wednesday but we are also working with the Board of Education to add additional sites for summer care,” said Medeiros. “Our department and the Bristol Public Schools are committed to accommodating as many kids on our waitlist as possible to meet the needs of the community.”

Medeiros and his team are developing comprehensive safety protocols and modifications in conjunction with the Office of Early Childhood, Bristol-Burlington Health District and the Board of Education to ensure the Summer Care program is as safe as possible. A detailed policy document will be made available in the coming weeks for parents to review and make the determination if Summer Care is the right fit for their family’s needs.

Some of those changes include:

.Partnering with the Bristol-Burlington Health District to secure certified nurses to be involved in the program and provide medical expertise and guidance throughout the summer.

. Reducing group sizes to 10 campers with 2 staff members

. Reducing the amount of campers allowed at each site

. Increased staffing levels to enhance safety measures and supervision

. Requiring PPE for all staff members and drop-off and pick-up will be handled outside the site and requiring temperature checks for both participants and staff prior to either being admitted into the site.

The Department of Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services recognizes families may be experiencing financial hardships in light of Covid-19 and other life events. Those in need of financial aid can contact Youth and Community Services Supervisor, Stephen Bynum at stephenbynum@bristolct.gov or 860-314-4690 for more information on the financial aid/scholarship request process. The Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services Department is committed to serving as many families in need as funding allows. Requests are processed on a first come first served basis

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic the City of Bristol Department of Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services has remained committed to providing essential services to Bristol families. It has been operating with guidance from the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) and the Bristol-Burlington Health District and in partnership with the Bristol Board of Education.

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or bjohnson@bristolpress.com.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Saturday, 23 May 2020 15:07. Updated: Saturday, 23 May 2020 15:09.