Despite rise in COVID-19 cases, many summer camps in Miami-Dade have remained open

Summer Camps in Miami Beach have been ongoing even though several staffers within the Parks and Recreation department have tested positive.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Summer Camps in Miami Beach have been ongoing even though several staffers within the Parks and Recreation department have tested positive.

A spokesperson told Local 10 News that there have been nine positive cases of coronavirus within the Parks and Recreation department.

The signs meet you as you drive-up to the drop-off. A questionnaire; does your child present symptoms? Have you had contact with anyone with COVID-19?

If so, those folks are asked not to participate. It's so simple, a 7-year-old can explain it.

"If a staff or child had coronavirus, and they went there, then it would turn into a corona camp," said 7-year-old camper Shane.

More signs posted outside of those summer camp locations instruct parents picking up or checking in a child must wear a mask. So do the kids.

A Miami Beach spokesperson says parks and rec. is operating its summer camps at reduced capacity, up to about 340 kids a day.

Less than half that amount, about 150 campers, are showing up. That spokesperson confirms one recent case of a child testing positive.

Dr. Brandon Chatani is a pediatric infectious disease specialist. While the risk is low for kids to catch COVID-19, he said they can carry it and communicate it.

“Parents should be doing a lot right now in trying to keep their kids as safe as possible,” said Dr. Chatani. “Especially with the high volumes that we’re seeing now in Florida, it’s much more possible reality.”

He also said camps can happen, if done the right way.

“We’re talking about 10 or less, and have them distanced, and have them with masks on a very low contact, no shared items,” he said. “That’s a lot to ask from a camp.”

The City of Miami Beach told Local 10 News it followed those very guidelines. A spokeswoman confirmed there has been one case of a child testing positive for COVID-19.

One South Florida mother that spoke with Local 10 News understands the pandemic struggle is real.

“I would avoid it right now,” Irene Lobanova said of sending her child to camp. “We’re trying to do our own physical activities. Today, I can go (with) him to the beach myself, that’s why today, I’m not sending him to the camp. Tomorrow, we’ll see.”

Miami Beach has decided to close camps due to the surge in coronavirus cases, saying in a statement:

“Out of an abundance of caution for our campers and staff, discussions began on Friday after a recommendation from our Parks & Recreation Department to close the city-run summer camp due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases throughout South Florida. After discussions with our City Manager, starting today, we are advising parents that camps will be closed next week.”

Local 10 also checked with Miami-Dade County, which is now saying it will close all summer camps at the end of the week”

“With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in our community and in an abundance of caution, we will be closing all 36 Miami-Dade County Parks Summer Camps at the end of this week’s session on Friday, July 17th,” the Miami-Dade Parks Department said in a statement.

About the Author:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.