DENVER — Summer camps are eager to get students back outside this summer, but day camps operating in partnership with Denver Public Schools (DPS) are facing tougher restrictions than at other districts.
“We work with numerous school districts up and down the Front Range, but right now DPS is a real different conversation than others,” said Paul Dreyer, a CEO with AVID 4 Adventure.
As more people are vaccinated and restrictions are lifted, AVID 4 Adventure is eager to rebound. But the camp says DPS has restricted their capacity to less than half, and it goes beyond state guidelines.
“The DPS restriction is no more than 50 in a total group, and that’s really different than the COVID dial, which is 175 in a total group,” Dreyer said.
Dreyer said DPS also has a new rule this year that camps cannot use their restroom facilities.
“We are getting this push and pull. CDPHE, they are saying the best thing is to have access to running water and plumbed bathrooms, and DPS is saying, 'no, you can’t go inside,'” Dreyer said.
AVID 4 Adventure keeps students in small cohorts of 13 students and two staff members.
Dreyer attributes the model to them enrolling 9,000 students for camp last year with zero COVID-19 cases in kids.
Denver Public Schools says in part: “We are also limiting the number of large programs in one space in order to be able to operate safely and effectively. The state restrictions have loosened several times in the last month. Rather than imposing multiple changes on our summer program partners, we will review the conditions after spring break to determine how the latest health guidance impacts our safety guardrails.”
AVID 4 Adventure says they have great empathy and respect for everything DPS is working through in the pandemic. They hope a change in capacity limits to match state guidance will happen so they can enroll more students this summer.
"It impacts AVID, but more importantly, it impacts families, kids and parents who need childcare in the summer," Dreyer said.