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Updated DHS and CDC Guidance on Summer Camps and Reopening Considerations

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Late yesterday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) issued “Interim Guidance on Summer Camps”.   The Interim Guidance states:

“At this time, DHS recommends that congregate activities for children that are considered educational or enrichment programs, including residential summer camps, be postponed or canceled. COVID-19 continues to circulate throughout Wisconsin, and the state has not yet met the criteria for safely conducting these programs. Physical distancing and proper hygiene by children in these settings is extremely difficult to enforce. Summer camps and enrichment programs should follow applicable state, local, and tribal health recommendations. We urge programs to work with their local public health departments, who can help assess the community mitigation strategies needed based on the level of COVID-19 transmission in your area, the capacities of your local public health department and health care systems, and other relevant factors. This guidance does not apply to day cares for the children of essential workers.

This is a rapidly evolving situation, so please continue to monitor DHS guidelines, as they may change based upon new scientific information and epidemiological data.”

The Interim Guidance also urges schools to consult with their local health departments, consistent with our recent client alert regarding the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision striking down Emergency Order #28.  Additionally, we recommend consulting and working with local law enforcement, insurers, school health department directors or medical advisors, and legal counsel when determining how to appropriately address summer camps and similar programs.  The guidance from DHS also offers recommendations for planning and determining “preparedness” related to summer camps, including informing families and staff of all health and safety-related efforts at camp, providing a contact for questions, limiting attendance for those with respiratory illnesses, and augmenting pre-camp agreements with parents to reserve the right “not to admit people who pose a communicable disease risk to others.” The DHS guidance also provides recommendations related to physical distancing, training, cleaning, screening procedures, responding to staff or participants who become sick, etc.

DHS also provides links to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance, which was updated yesterday.  The CDC guidance includes considerations and tools for reopening schools and operating summer camps.  Again, the CDC encourages consultation with your local health department and authorities, as well as compliance with local orders.

We will continue to keep you advised as additional guidance on reopening schools becomes available.  Please contact your Buelow Vetter attorney if you have questions or would like to discuss the information in this Client Alert.

If you have questions regarding implementation of the Supreme Court decision, graduation or other school related activities or the Attorney General Emergency Opinion, please contact your Buelow Vetter attorney.

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