SHARPSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) – Fun at the popular summer spot Camp Guyasuta is in full swing, but things will look very different next week.
Governor Tom Wolf’s office just released new rules that require masks for all campers and staff.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Morning Snow Could Lead Slick Roads This Afternoon
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller talked to some concerned parents who still don’t feel safe sending their kids.
The parents tell KDKA they really wanted to send their kids to have fun with friends, learn new things and come home each day utterly exhausted. But ultimately, they also didn’t want to risk them coming home with the coronavirus.
“It’s shocking to me, it’s like business as usual,” said Carrie Tongarm, a concerned parent.
Camp Guyasuta’s public Facebook page uploads pictures every day, snapshots of campers in groups — not wearing masks and not social distancing. The sounds of happy campers fill the air, but Tongarm only sees germs.
“I mean there’s videos on Facebook of children singing in each other’s faces, holding and hanging on each other. None of the adults have a mask on. None of them,” said Tongarm.
That will soon change. The governor’s office released new rules late Thursday for summer camps that requires all campers and staff to wear masks and social distance when possible. Masks are not required when doing water activities.
“These are unusual times and I’m sure that different families have different levels of concern and I thought that Guyasuta would work with us,” said Marissa Morrison, another concerned parent.READ MORE: Staying Safe With Proper Tire Maintenance During The Winter Season
Morrison wishes the mask change from Governor Wolf came sooner. She made the decision to not send her severely asthmatic son to the program and now she wants a refund.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that camp should have shut down, but if people come to them and say, ‘I have these concerns,’ I feel that they should have respected that and worked with us,” said Morrison.
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller reached out to Camp Guyasuta to find out how they’re maneuvering the list of changes. The director of support services, William Park, tells KDKA that they will work to comply to all of the new rules.
He said campers will separate into groups smaller than 25 kids and the groups will stick together all week and not change. He said the staff will now wear masks and the groups will not share sports equipment.
But even with the changes, these two mom consider the risk too great and the reason for no refunds too trivial.
“And she said, ‘well we already ordered supplies, we already paid people,’” said Tongarm. “I get that, but you have to understand we’re not going to risk the health and safety of our family because you ordered T-shirts.”
The camp continues to enforce the refund deadline posted on its website. The parents tell KDKA that they were encouraged to send in a medical excuse for their children if they were hoping for a refund. Neither received one as of news time Friday.MORE NEWS: Teenager Taken To Hospital After Being Stabbed Multiple Times
Here is the full list of changes, provided to KDKA by Camp Guyasuta:
- We are separating campers into groups of less than 25 people (campers will be with that same group throughout the day and have the same campers and staff throughout the week, staff will be wearing masks when around campers, exceptions are during water-related activities and during strenuous activity like bike riding or a sports activity)
- Each group will have their designated sports equipment to prevent sharing
- We have and will continue to provide masks for campers and staff
- Air filters in the property’s state-of-the art McGinnis Education Center have been changed to MERV 13 filters to mitigate viruses
- Any equipment such as sling shots, bows and air-guns will be sanitized by staff in between campers’ use
- Pavilions and picnic tables will be sanitized each day
- Our team is also currently assessing how we deliver our programs to promote more social distancing