WINDSOR, ONT. -- Camper cohorts, COVID-19 screening and safety plans are just some of the advice the province has outlined for the return of summer camps.

The outlook of summer camps this year is much brighter than expected, according to Dan Inverarity, Kiwanis Camp fundraising chair.

“The kids aren’t going to be totally restricted,” he says, noting directives from the province came soon than camp officials thought.

The 21-page draft released by the Ontario Ministry of Health, requires each camp to submit a safety plan to the local health unit before staff and campers arrive.

Windsor-Essex medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed says the health unit has received a copy and is looking to make sure it aligns with the current situation in the region before passing judgement.

“If it makes sense for us to follow that guideline and to implement it to allow some of these summer camps and other activities to continue we will,” Ahmed says. 

In the guidelines, campers are to limit their exposure before arrival.

Anyone entering the camp is going to be screened, rapid testing is available for use by camps and daily records are required.

Campers will be broken into cohorts.

“There’s 12 beds in here, so it’ll be 11 kids and one counselor in each building and they will stay together all together all the time,” Inverarity says.

Activities and dining will be separated to avoid potential outbreaks.

“Looks like they don’t have to wear masks but they have to stay away from the other cabins so each cabin is going to be doing its own thing separate away from other cabins,” Inverarity says.

Kiwanis welcomes between 500 to 600 campers during an eight-week period starting the first week of July.

The guidelines don’t mandate vaccination, but show the provincial government encourages it.

“At least by July a large number of people including our children 12-plus will have received first dose of vaccine so we’ll be in a much better position,” Dr. Ahmed says.

Kiwanis officials received the draft from the Ministry of Health Monday night. They suspect they’ll get the final draft within a week and expect to be registering kids by the end of the month.

“We just want the kids to have a great summer,” Inverarity says.