Washington – Kevin Washington, president and CEO of the YMCA, said Sunday he was “satisfied” with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s revised COVID-19 guidelines for children.
“We are happy with the CDC guidelines they are proposing.” Washington said in an interview with “Face the Nation”. “And thanks to the partnership we have had with the CDC and the American Camping Association, we are very confident that we can organize a summer where children can have fun, have fun, learn, meet new friends and engage. in what I would call a summer of fun for our young people who really, really need it this summer. “
Friday, the CDCthat youth camps can reopen this summer without masks and social distancing if participants and staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Camps must always adhere to federal, state and local guidelines.
With YMCAs located in all 50 states, Washington said all of its camps “ensure they provide a safe environment and follow local and state health officials and CDC guidelines.”
Washington said prioritizing teachers, educators and camp counselors for COVID-19 vaccines was an “extremely important” level of safety for parents who wish to send their children back to camp.
The national organization cannot demand that camp workers be vaccinated, Washington said. He added that many camp counselors have taken the opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID.
“We know a lot of our camp counselors have taken the opportunity, but it hasn’t been mandated yet. As a national resource organization, we cannot mandate,” Washington said. “… We need to make sure that YMCAs follow national and local guidelines and many Ys follow what school districts are doing in their communities as well as a guide in that process. So we can’t give a mandate because each YMCA is an independent, 501 (c) (3) organization and must follow local and national health guidelines. “
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many inequalities within the U.S. education system and child care programs. Washington said that “access and equity is a key component” of the YMCA organization and the pandemic has proven the organization to be “a vital community asset”. Throughout the pandemic, Washington said the YMCA provided 1,400 child care sites for first responders and 1,300 feeding sites despite financial losses over the past year.
“We know that children of color and children from marginalized communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” Washington said. “We go to extremely strong efforts to make sure we have the resources available to support them when they get to camp.”