UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type

Article Postprint


Environmental Public Health | Infectious Disease | Virus Diseases


OBJECTIVE: Summer camp can positively affect self-esteem and social skills. Most United States summer camps did not open during 2020 because of concerns about SARS-CoV-2. Our objective is to describe exclusion strategies successfully used by two summer camps in Maine.

METHODS: Prior to camp arrival, all attendees were asked to quarantine at home for fourteen days and perform a daily symptom checklist. Salivary specimens were submitted by mail for SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing four days prior to arrival, and again four days after arrival. At camp, multiple layers of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) were employed.

RESULTS: 717 (96.7%) prospective attendees underwent remotely supervised saliva collection; four were positive and did not come to camp. Among the 20 who did not submit a sample, three did not come to camp; the other 17 underwent screening and a rapid antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 immediately upon arrival and before reporting to communal living spaces; all were negative. All campers and staff were re-tested by salivary PCR four days after arrival, and all were negative.

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that it is possible to safely operate overnight camps during a pandemic, thus supporting the continued physical and socioemotional growth of children, using multiple layers of NPIs.


COVID-19, Nonpharmaceutical intervention, Summer camp

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© 2021 Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. This is a PDF file of an accepted manuscript that has been accepted for publication and posted with a 6-month embargo as allowed by the publisher’s green open access policy at https://www-cambridge-org/core/services/open-access-policies/open-access-journals/green-open-access-policy-for-journals.

DOI of Published Version



Kowalsky RH, Fine S, Eisenberg M. Exclusion of SARS-CoV-2 from Two Maine Overnight Camps July-August 2020. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2021 Mar 25:1-10. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2021.86. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33762061. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Disaster medicine and public health preparedness

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID