WATCH: Summer Camps Must Open With Safety Guidelines; Eichenstein


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As the summer is fast approaching, New York State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein says it is time to have an honest and candid discussion about opening sleepaway summer camps. In the larger context of the COVID-19 pandemic, reopening the state will be a slow and deliberate process, with the health and safety of all New Yorkers the primary consideration. With the proper guidelines and protocols, Assemblyman Eichenstein says that sleepaway camp can potentially be a safe option for our children this summer.

Assemblyman Eichenstein points out that sleepaway camps are unique in that they potentially are able to create a locked down and highly controlled environment. With the proper procedures in place, including regular testing and eliminating all visitation and camp trips, the children can thrive and enjoy a fun filled and relaxing summer – something they desperately deserve during these difficult times.

At a recent virtual conference conducted by CNBC, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb recognized that we are “still in the early innings” while noting that “sleepaway camps have the potential to create a protective bubble.” In fact, the Association of Jewish Camp Operators recently sent a detailed COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan to Governor Cuomo, outlining a comprehensive list of strict protocols that can be put in place at every sleepaway camp this summer. These guidelines were proposed in consultation with a panel of prestigious public health professionals and medical doctors who are experts in infectious diseases. Assemblyman Eichenstein has acknowledged that initial conversations with the senior staff at the Governor’s Office are ongoing, but these conversations are in the early stages and there is still much more to discuss.

“Our children have spent weeks and weeks at home and are eager to spend quality time with their peers in a wholesome and happy camp environment,” said Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein. “While there’s no doubt that the safety of our children must be our number one priority, I urge Governor Cuomo to join us and have a real conversation about this. Just like the state found a way to open beaches, we must have a conversation on how camps can potentially work with the proper guidelines in place. This will benefit everyone – both children and parents.”

Assemblyman Eichenstein continued, “I’ve reviewed the guidelines proposed by the Association of Jewish Camp Operators and am impressed with the level of commitment these camps are willing to undertake so that they can provide an enriching and fulfilling summer to their young campers.”

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. So a New York politician wants an “open and candid discussion” about a life-and-death issue. Good for him. Here are some of my open and candid facts and opinions about sleepaway camps:

    1. Some sleepaway camps make lots of money, and would lose lots of money if don’t open. Keep those folks out of the discussion.

    2. Some sleepaway camps are run by charities, are nominally not-for-profit, and would lose a lot of money if they don’t open. I and some sensible economists believe that there is no such thing as not-for-profit businesses, just less profitable businesses that adopt the “not-for-profit” label for market purposes. Keep those folks out of the discussion.

    3. You got kids? Use your judgment, not the judgment of people with a stake in putting your kids at risk.

    4. Everybody else: talk amongst yourselves.

  2. Which parent is going to make their own child a test lab rat to experiment on how immune children are? Any parent that allows their child to be a guinne pig for an unproven experiment should have all his children confiscated.

  3. All he wants is the opportunity to send kids to camp. Noone will force a parent to send their kids if they are uncomfortable with it

  4. Huju: this is not a life & death situation! This is a political situation! Eichenstein knowS his community He represents very well. Our children need structure. We parents need to get back to work to make a living. In addition there have been many “gatherings” in brooklyn which the nypd closed down due to it being a danger-though there have been no new reported covid cases in these communities. So this is not a safety situation anymore

  5. Bpmomy, poster #5, is absolutely right! The councilman is 100% correct! The need is desperate! If it can be safely why not explore it! It’s ממש פיקוח נפש for so many. This man cares! The silly responses above simply show ignorance! The man is simply saying if it can be done safely, do it! It’s so important for children and parents alike! And if the camp owners parnassa is considered too, so what’s wrong? Are they not entitled to feed their families!? Every parent has the choice! Nobody is forced to send!

  6. children are not at risk in all of this. you haven’t had any cases involving kids. those panicking and saying life and death should see a real good psychiatrist. the kids need summer camp like a fish needs water. to see kids roam the streets in middle of the day is really sickening. wake up acheinu bnei Yisrael

  7. BPmommy: In the best of times, most of these camps are challenged to maintain compliance with health and safety guidelines. That’s just the reality of yiddeshe mosdos trying to do their best to serve as many children in their communities who cannot afford to pay the true costs that more affluent camps charge. That’s not a rap on the summer camps; its simply reality when costs exceed available funds. The proposed operating guidelines this summer would substantially increase those operating costs and there is little time available to make the necessary changes. Nor do the state and local towns and counties have sufficient staff to monitor all the new rules. I guess each parent must decide for themselves if they want to expose their kids to these risks. I wouldn’t but some probably are so anxious to get the kids out of the house, they are will to take the risks. Sad that they are going to have to make the choice with their kids’ safety. Just because some jerks don’t follow the distancing guidelines in Central Park or Coney Island, no reason to put our own children (and their families) at risk Generations of yidden grew up and spent summer in the city so ONE summer at home will not be the end of the world, notwithstanding all the kvetching here to the contrary.

  8. Camps should absolutely be open. Not just sleepaway camps but day camps too. The risk to children from Covid is extremely minimal and is far outweighed by the psychological harm from kids locked up for two more months. (Nevermind the economic impacts and impacts on parents)
    Everyone has been caught up in this frenzy about how dangerous this is but a simple look at readily available numbers can clear it up.
    Here’s a statistic that you haven’t seen in the news – since Covid began in February, among people under age 25, there have been 60% more flu deaths than Covid. See
    We don’t shut down camps due to the flu.
    If someone is old or compromised they should think twice about going to camp. But even so, in a large camp setting they could easily take precautions and I would respect the choice they make on their own. The virus does not spread easily outdoors in heat, humidity, and sunlight.
    The level of panic from the initial reports of this virus has whipped people into a frenzy. We need to take a deep breath and reassess as the data comes in.
    One more point – I know someone is going to bring up the Kawasaki like symptoms they are seeing in kids. To be clear there have been 157 cases in the world. It has caused 1 or 2 deaths in entire US. Again, still way less than flu has killed. I’m not trying to be cavalier about it as it is terrible for whoever it happens to, but again we don’t close every year for the flu so there is no reason to close for this.

  9. To bpmomy: 1. How do you know there have been “no new reported covid cases” in the Brooklyn communities that have violated lock-down orders?

    2. Yes, children need structure. But there are lots of ways to provide structure without cramming kids into bunks. There might even be ways to make camps safe. But don’t kid yourself – it will take a lot of effort and careful planning to achieve safe summer camps.

    3. It is most certainly still a safety issue.

  10. as a post note; according to chazal any law enacted that affects Yidden especially is not a dina d’malchusa and should be ignored. to open beaches but not schools and shuls is a rishas, and should not be listened to.