As the school year ends, many are looking forward to summer traditions from daytime activities to sleepaway camps.
This year, families will have to change up summer plans as many camps have made the decision to close for the 2020 season and remaining day camp options are altering operations.
Jackson Preparatory School
At Jackson Prep, the school hosts athletic, academic and art camps each summer. Last week, the school announced that camps have been canceled for the month of June.
However, they still hope to host campers later this summer and will be taking steps to ensure the safety of all visitors.
Any scheduled remote camps will still go forward.
“Based on social gathering recommendations, the way we’re looking at doing any camp will be different,” Chief External Affairs Officer Crisler Boone said. All in attendance will be kept six feet apart and wear masks.
Cookie and cake decorating camps have been canceled as well due to safety concerns, Boone said.
Other precautions will be taken for campers if camps meet in July, including taking temperatures, hand washing, sanitizing and more. In a statement from Prep, school officials said: “We will continue to monitor recommendations from health and government officials and will communicate about July camps as soon as we have information to share.”
This year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the abrupt end to the 2020 school year classroom instruction, Prep is offering an online course for sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth grade students.
“It’s a really targeted approach to prepare students for the following semester,” Boone said.
For more information about the camps offered at Jackson Prep or to enroll children in camps, visit jacksonprep.org.
Jackson Academy summer camps for the month of June are canceled for 2020. Each year, the school hosts athletic, art, STEM, sewing, dance, Christian, etiquette and sports broadcasting camps.
According to Marketing and Communications Director Patti Wade, the camps will be canceled for June. However, they will decide by mid-June whether to host camps in July.
The following statement was sent out to parents regarding the decision:
“After much thought and consideration, we have decided to cancel all June summer camps at Jackson Academy. The school has sought advice on how to proceed from the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), medical professionals, and others. We believe that this is the best decision for the school and camp leaders for the upcoming month. We will not reschedule these camps for this summer, and we will decide whether or not to proceed with July camps by mid-June.”
Camps will still meet at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, according to Director of Auxiliary Programs Jay Losset.
Day camps will kick off two weeks later than normal, beginning June 15 and running through July 31.
“We’re unique in that our day camps are open to the public,” Losset said of the camps, which are available to children in grades Pre-K through eighth grade.
“We’re capping the number of campers we can take in groups of 10,” Losset said. This will limit groups to eight campers and two counselors.
In addition, all sports and specialty camps, including programs like ballet, have been moved to July and have a limited number of spots available.
To enter campus, all campers must first go through a health screening tent, where St. Andrew’s staff will take temperatures and administer health questionnaires.
Losset said they will also be wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
“Most camps are already full,” Losset said. However, there are some spots available, so he said, “Don’t wait if you want to sign up.”
For more information on available camps or to sign up, visit gosaints.org/camps.
Mississippi Museum of Art
The Museum School Summer Camps at the Mississippi Museum of Art have been canceled for this year. The camps, which cover art experiences in painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, and more, are typically available to ages three and up.
However, this year the museum will only be offering digital activities for the 2020 summer. “Unfortunately, the Museum has had to cancel all of our upcoming summer camps,” said Assistant Director of Visitor Services Sarah Wade. “We have made the transition to digital and online activities and programming. Education programming can be found on our website, social media (@msmuseumart), and the museum’s app.”
Weekly writing, art and trivia activities will be posted to the museum’s website at msmuseumart.org throughout the summer months.
Mississippi Children’s Museum
The Mississippi Children’s Museum is carrying on with its regularly scheduled summer camp activities while taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of those who attend.
According to Mississippi Children’s Museum staff, there will be lowered enrollment in summer activities with the museum accommodating up to 20 children per week ages five to 10 years old.
Summer camps at the Children’s Museum include STEM activities, outdoor play, arts and crafts, museum exploration, science experiments and more.
Families who wish to participate may enroll for a week of activities at the museum. Drop off will take place beginning at 7:30 a.m. each day, and children must be picked up by 5 p.m.
Museum staff are following guidelines and procedures from the Childcare Crisis Assistance in Isolation Response Plan (CCAIR) from the Department of Human Services.
For a full list of available camps or information on camps and enrollment, visit the Children’s Museum website at mschildrensmuseum.org or call 601-709-8967.
According to Millsaps College Director of Communications and Marketing John Sewell, Millsaps will not be hosting summer camps this year, and several of the organizations who would normally be on campus for summer events have canceled or postponed their plans.
“However, Millsaps is offering some fantastic summer classes that are available to everyone,” Sewell said. “Staying healthy and engaged these days takes different forms. Some people are trying to exercise more, others are picking up an instrument that’s been gathering dust. Some might be catching up on reading or binge-watching television. More than ever, we’re looking for ways to make the most of the time we’re spending at home.”
So, with those things in mind, Millsaps is offering new, not-for-credit online summer courses with opportunities to learn how to draw or write sketch comedy, to experience the Crusades or become an expert in party politics, to explore the works of Eudora Welty and the minds of serial killers.
“We are encouraging folks to make the most of the summer months by learning something new,” Sewell said. “All of our courses are less expensive than a vacation, and social distancing is much easier to manage when you’re learning online with Millsaps faculty who will make this a memorable experience.”
Mississippi Science Museum
The Mississippi Science Museum summer camps, which allow visitors to craft with nature, encounter animals and explore the outdoors, have been canceled for the 2020 summer. Instead, the museum will offer virtual options for those looking for something fun to do during the summer months.
“We have chosen to cancel all in-person summer camps,” said Andrea Falcetto, the Mississippi Science Museum Education Coordinator. “Instead, we have made a Science Museum Explorer’s Club which has activity kits for purchase.”
The Science Museum Explorer’s Club is for children grades pre-K to sixth grade. Details on the club and activity kits can be found on the museum’s website.
For seventh through 12th grade students, the museum is designing a virtual summer camp which will take place June 22 to 26.
“We are still creating it and have not released details yet,” Falcetto said.
For more information on virtual learning opportunities with the Mississippi Science Museum, visit mdwfp.com/museum/learn-teach/kids-corner.
At Ballet Mississippi, summer workshops are still on. However, Director David Keary said there will be some changes to work around social distancing and crowd size requirements.
Summer workshops, which were initially planned for June, have been moved to mid-July and early August.
Instead of taking 15 to 25 students per class, Keary said they are limiting classes to 10.
“You cannot do on Zoom what a ballet class requires, which is space and movement and utilizing the space of a studio,” Keary said. “We are hoping to get started back in July.”
Keary said they are also considering pre-screening students by taking temperatures and more before entering the studio.
Ballet Mississippi will still take the same amount of students for summer workshops, they are just breaking the classes down into smaller groups and requiring six-foot social distancing to accommodate them.
For more information, call 601-960-1560.
Twin Lakes, a popular summer camp option for Northsiders, has made the decision to cancel all programs for summer 2020.
The following is a statement from the camp about the decision to cancel: “This announcement breaks our hearts for the campers, LITs, staff and families so looking forward to spending time at camp this summer, but we believe that this is the wisest decision for the safety of our beloved Twin Lakes community. We greatly appreciate your prayers and support. We will miss everyone this summer, but look forward to being back together in 2021.”
Camp of the Rising Son
The Camp of the Rising Son has also decided to cancel all programs for the 2020 summer season.
“We are sad at not being able to be together on Lake Anne this summer, but we believe this is the best decision to keep our campers, their families and our staff safe,” Camp of the Rising Son said in a recent statement.
At this time, Strong River Camp Director Sarah Dabney Gillespie said they still hope to host campers this summer, but the situation is fluid.
“Camp is all about adjusting, adapting and finding a way to make it work,” Gillespie said. “We are making changes to our facility and implementing new procedures in almost every activity at camp.”
She said they also have added multiple layers of cleaning and disinfecting policies, personal protection measures and distancing aids.
“Our cabins are open-air and well ventilated with ceiling fans,” Gillespie said. “We spend most of our time outdoors, and we grow much of our own fruit and vegetables.”
“Risk is not a binary thing - it is a spectrum,” she added. “We are trying to mitigate the risk, but we can’t completely eliminate it. This was true before coronavirus as well but we try to build in layers of safety.”
Since Strong River is still several weeks away from camper arrival, Gillespie hopes things continue to improve as they plan for that day.