Kids at play in the summer program.

San Francisco’s summer camps and programs for six to 17-year-olds can reopen on June 15, Mayor London Breed announced today. And to limit viral transmission, children will be associating in “pods” of 12 over three-week summer camp sessions. 

“Depending on what space a camp uses, a camp may be able to have only one pod of 12 kids, but maybe have two pods — or even three pods,” said Recreation and Parks Department Director Phil Ginsberg during a webinar hosted by Breed on Friday morning. Pods are not physical spaces but a group of kids that remains the same.

Children in pods would only associate with one another, and two staff members will be assigned to a pod and not break from that pod.

More than 200 camps will be available to children at San Francisco parks over the summer, and priority will be given to the children of residents who work in essential businesses including those who telecommute and to low-income youth and those who are part of the most vulnerable populations. 

The Recreation and Park Department will open registration for its lottery on May 26th here for children who get priority and on June 6 for everyone. 

You can also sign up for more information here. 

The pod system is “really giving these kids a chance to have their community of people to hang out with,” Breed said. She also admonished San Franciscans from giving children who have already been hanging out in pods of friends and distancing a hard time. — apparently these informal groups became the summer camp pod prototypes.

“These are kids who are coming together on a regular basis — something similar to what we’re gonna be doing this summer,” she said. “And unfortunately, there have been people who have made nasty comments or complained or even yelled at the kids.”

“And so what I want to say to people is to back off and mind your own business and to leave kids alone,” Breed said.

Safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include temperature screenings and more cleaning. 

This could be a precursor to what will happen to school in the fall. Increasing research shows that children don’t appear to transmit COVID child to child and that most of the few cases among children came from adults, researchers said yesterday during UCSF’s Grand Rounds. 

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will operate three camp sessions this summer: June 15th through July 2nd; July 6th through July 24th; and July 27th through August 14th

 These programs will replace the Emergency Child and Youth Care program operated by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, DCYF, and community-based organizations. 

 You can find more information and eligibility requirements for the camps and programs here. 

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Julian Mark

Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

Lydia Chávez

I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born...

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