By Sally Wadyka
It’s finally summer, and after a year of being cooped up inside, we’re all more than ready to enjoy it to the fullest extent. Socializing with friends? Lounging by the poolside? Getting tickets to the next summer blockbuster? Going on vacation? There are limitless possibilities to explore!
However, as excited as we all are to get back to normal there are still precautions that we need to take to keep everyone safe. Even as COVID infection rates across the country are steadily decreasing, the virus still poses a risk for those vulnerable to infection. Recent CDC guidelines have lifted restrictions for vaccinated people, but given that the vaccine has only been approved for kids over the age of 12, we have to be mindful of the activities we plan for our younger, unvaccinated children this summer.
How to make plans for get-togethers, camp, vacations, and more, despite the uncertainties around COVID-19
Last summer, the pandemic saw many families hunkered down at home and avoiding gathering with anyone outside their household. This summer, COVID-19 vaccines will allow more freedom, but with that comes some confusion about how to navigate plans when some family members are fully vaccinated and others are not.
The Key Takeaways
- Thirty-seven percent of parents/caregivers don’t expect their kids to have a typical summer this year, according to a recent nationally representative Consumer Reports’ survey.
- Fully vaccinated teens can safely hang out together without a mask. For kids under age 12, who aren’t yet eligible for vaccination, social distancing, and mask-wearing guidelines still apply.
- Unvaccinated kids can visit and stay with fully vaccinated friends or relatives from one other household as long as none of the unvaccinated kids are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- If two families with fully vaccinated adults and unvaccinated kids want to vacation together, they should stay in separate accommodations.
- Booking a camp for your child? Pick one where kids spend the day in small groups, mostly outdoors and physically distanced, and wear masks when they’re indoors.
- Experts say that road trips are safer than air travel for families.
By early summer, the majority of adults in the U.S. who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will have gotten their shots. But because none of the vaccines currently being used in the U.S. are authorized for children under age 12, that leaves millions of kids unprotected for now. It also leaves parents grappling with dozens of questions as they try to make summer plans for their families.
We’ve learned a lot about how to stay safe since last summer, but many people still have concerns about what’s safe for their kids.
Experts say we all should expect things to feel easier this year than they did last year, but they still won’t be what most people would consider normal. That’s partly because, for kids, the rules about social distancing haven’t changed much.
“But children who have conditions that put them at high risk [such as Down Syndrome, compromised immune systems, diabetes, or obesity still have a higher risk of hospitalization or even death from COVID-19,” O’Leary says.
However, despite the ongoing pandemic, you can still enjoy the season and have fun as a family, whether you’re staying near home, visiting relatives and/or friends, considering summer camp, or taking a trip.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]