Anxious parents and kids await state guidance on summer camps

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) There are growing concerns from many housebound parents and their children about potential summer camp closures and what that means for child care and summer activities.

With no school daily school routine, Burlington mother Nicole Nash has been struggling to find a new work-home balance with her children. And as the summer approaches and the economy slowly reopens, she's wondering what's next for her 13-year-old son Colin.

"We are a little anxious about what's going to happen. I don't want him home alone for eight hours a day," Nash said.

"I won't really get to hang out with many of my friends," added Colin.

But as many camps around the state announce they are closing for safety precautions because of the coronavirus, questions remain about child care and activities in the summer. "We are kind of just flying by the seat of our pants," Nash said.

And she's not the only one with that thought. "It helps them just not get bored -- give them even a half-day doing something else with other people," said Kate Lasko, a Burlington parent.

Many camps are still waiting to make the final decision. The Greater Burlington YMCA operates in four counties and has about 1,300 children at their camps. The organizations's Doug Bishop says their goal is to open and they are moving ahead with hiring and other planning.

"We don't know if camp will happen, but if we operate under the belief that it will we will be prepared if it's safe to do so," Bishop said.

It's a similar story for the Colchester Parks & Recreation summer camps. They typically host about 250 children a summer.

"We are locking in staff in anticipation for a normal camp year," said Glen Cuttitta, Colchester's recreation director.

Governor Phil Scott Monday said he will release guidance for summer camps soon.

"If camp can open and done safely, it can be helpful for parents on a work perspective as well," Cuttitta said. "They are checking in just to see what the status is, and of course looking forward to seeing what their summer is going to look like as well."

Just as kids continue to hope fore a fun-filled summer ahead at camp, parents are just waiting to see what's next. "Things are getting canceled so what's the point of looking any more," Nash said.

Camp directors we spoke with that are planning to stay open say they've seen a slow down in sign ups since March, but expect a big last minute rush if state health officials give the thumbs up.