Toronto is cancelling all planned 2020 summer day camps
Toronto officials just announced that all planned 2020 summer camps are being cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic — news which is sure to frustrate many of the city's parents who are wondering how they'll keep their children occupied throughout the warm summer months.
Mayor John Tory made the official announcement during his daily press briefing on Friday, and he assured parents that the City is working on an alternative program that would be safer and more realistic under the circumstances.
"Nothing is more important than the health of our children," Tory said in a statement. "In our current environment where it hasn't yet been safe to have the schools open, we can hardly be going full steam ahead with summer camps, though we are going to have a more modest CampTO plan ready if things continue to improve."
Living with the reality of COVID-19 means the regular model for City summer camps is no longer safe, and can’t proceed as planned. But we are committed to finding an alternative. With enhanced safety measures and a continued decline in transmission, some may be able to operate.— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) May 15, 2020
According to the City, approximately 68,000 participants are registered for its 197 day camps, which are scheduled to take place from June 29 to September 7.
All those who've already registered will automatically receive a full refund from the City, though it says registrants should expect a reimbursement wait time of up to four weeks.
While registrants do not need to request a refund, they can contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or concerns.— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) May 15, 2020
CampTO, the alternative program currently being prepared by the City to get children safely back to camp, is not guaranteed and is subject to the lifting of current provincial orders and recommendations from Toronto Public Health.
If permitted to operate, the camps would provide 5,300 spaces per week for children ages six to 12, representing approximately 50 per cent of the typical City of Toronto camp capacity.
The camps would "provide children with a high-quality camp experience, inclusive of traditional camp activities, that incorporate public health measures designed to reduce the risk of virus spread, including physical distancing, smaller group sizes, daily health assessments and more extensive cleaning and hygiene measures," according to the City.
Registration details for the CampTO program will be announced once the Province is able to safely remove restrictions on day camps, and the City says an estimated four weeks will be needed to prepare for their opening.
"The City of Toronto’s annual summer camps have long been a safe and enjoyable annual event for kids and staff alike. Summer camp provides positive social interactions, childhood development and youth employment," said councillor Joe Cressy in a statement.
"These programs are especially important for vulnerable kids. While the new reality with COVID-19 makes the City’s previous summer camp model unsafe to operate at this time, at Toronto Public Health we are committed to providing a safer alternative. Learning to live with COVID-19 will be challenging, but with significantly enhanced health measures (and provincial approval), Toronto summer camps can go on."
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