Masks to be optional at Montgomery County summer camps, schools

Thursday, June 17, 2021
Montco announces changes to mask wearing at summer camps
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Masks will be optional for children in summer camps and summer schools in Montgomery County, unless an organization decides otherwise.

NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Beginning Monday, June 21, in Montgomery County, masking for vaccinated and unvaccinated people at summer camps and summer schools will be optional, unless a business or organization requires it.

The Montgomery County Health Department changed their masking strategy citing low case counts and low risk of community spread.

"Businesses and organizations can have their own policies in place that may be more stringent than State and County guidance," county officials said.

Lavner Camps, headquartered in Montgomery County, offers programs around the country.

Executive Director Michael Lavner says, "For us, the mask policy will be staying on this summer."

Lavner says their mask policy will remain consistent at all their locations: masks indoors and outdoors with distanced outdoor mask breaks.

"We've had many families and parents throughout the country, they've expressed they're very, very happy and very relieved to hear we are keeping our face mask policy," said Lavner.

Among the measures the camp has taken, Lavner Camps started working with a medical advisor, local pediatrician Dr. Andrew Lubell.

Dr. Lubell is encouraged by the plummeting rates. He believes until younger children can be vaccinated, masks are the safest way to go for campers and their families.

"Certainly if those people have any immune deficiencies or other diseases that put them at higher risk, we want to be sensitive to the families at home as well," said Dr. Lubell.

Dr. Lubell added, "I think as soon as we get the opportunity to start vaccinating those younger kids, certainly we will go back and look at this again."

The county health department noted that this guidance will remain as long as Montgomery County continues to have a 14-day average below 20 cases per day.

"Informed by the latest data, this updated masking guidance for summer camps and summer schools will remain as long as Montgomery County continues to have a 14-day average below 20 cases per day," Dr. Richard Lorraine, Medical Director for Montgomery County Office of Public Health, said in an update Wednesday. "Based on case counts at a record low, the likelihood for community spread of COVID-19 is low risk, thus prompting this update to the County's masking mitigation strategy."

But officials want to remind everyone that masking is still necessary in health care facilities, congregate living facilities, and when using public transportation.

They're also urging everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated.

As of June 15, Montgomery County has seen 36 days consecutively below 5% positivity, 25 days consecutively below 50 cases per day, and 11 days consecutively below 20 cases per day.

For more on Montgomery County's guidance on summer camps and schools, click here.