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Summer camps open with COVID-19 related policies

Limited capacity, and screenings for kids in camp.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With the warm weather now here, summer camps for children and teens opened up Monday across Western New York.

Camp staffers are determined to keep things fun for kids while also keeping them safe.

YMCA Buffalo Niagara Executive Director Penny Snell says they opened bright and early Monday morning, "7 a.m. We had parents smiling, ready to drop off their kids. And children smiling and ready to have fun."

Those happy campers were out Monday not only at the YMCA center in Williamsville, but also at various town run programs like those in Amherst and Orchard Park.

Among them was Adrian Buseman, 9, who got his temperature scanned and answered some quick screening questions with his grandmother. Then it was on to the now routine of thorough hand washing before going off to join the other campers. He told 2 On Your Side he is ready to get out and see other kids.

His grandmother Ginny McKirchy said, "He's been looking forward to it. He said I can't wait until I can play with kids again. You know it's safe and I know they're gonna make sure they all wash their hands and protect them from each other."

The kids are not wearing masks while taking part in the camps because the CDC and health department guidance says it is better for them not to touch their face too much. And they are assigned to and stay in selected groups of ten with their designated counselors who will wear masks.

The sports activities are more like skills drills instead of actual games to again limit contact. And swimming programs are included for some as experts determined COVID-19 does not spread in water and chlorine.

Snell says they have had some experience at the YMCA to prepare for the camps. 

"We have been providing emergency care since March," Snell said. "So we knew we would be providing something. When the CDC and health department guidelines came out we were able to pivot a little bit - it opened up a few more things for us to do."

They must keep capacity down because of COVID-19, but some camps have a few spaces still open for kids. Parents can check online for details.

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