Youth camps prepare for summer, as Gov. Abbott offers free rapid testing

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BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — Summer is right around the corner, and to create a sense of normalcy, Governor Gregg Abbott announced a new COVID-19 rapid testing program for state youth summer camps.

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Summer 2020, camps across the Rio Grande Valley had to adjust during the beginning of the pandemic.

“We went to a virtual platform, and we converted a lot of student registrations from last year over to this summer,” said Nancy Mance, director at Camp Rio.

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However, this summer things will be different.

“Health screenings. We’re going to have our day campers wear masks. We’re going to use the proper cleaning products for everything that anyone touches,” she said.

Governor Abbott announced the new program would provide rapid tests for staff and campers during the summer months.

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“As normalcy returns to Texas, we must remain vigilant against the spread of COVID-19 by identifying positive cases and mitigating any potential outbreaks throughout the state,” the Governor released in a statement.  “The COVID-19 testing program for Texas youth summer camps will help camps safely operate throughout the summer by quickly identifying positive COVID-19 cases among campers and staff. I encourage qualifying summer camps to apply for this program so that we can continue to keep Texans safe from this virus.”

 “I immediately filled out an application for it. We want to ensure the safety of our students and campers when they come as well as our staff. We want to take care of our staff as well,” she said.

The camp is also working to make sure staff at the camp are vaccinated. Mance added nearly all of the camp’s full-time staff are vaccinated through vaccination opportunities from IDEA schools.

“Summer camp during COVID is definitely a challenge. We plan to have the kids have as much fun as possible while making it as safe as possible,” she said.

To read more about the Camp’s safety procedures, click here.

For the Youth Camp program application visit this link. Camps must be licensed with DSHS.

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