The coronavirus pandemic means it is time to get creative to in how to support children and youth in summer programming. Physical distancing and other safety requirements means day camps cannot look like they have in years past. Whether you are looking for ideas to adapt activities, or are still deciding if your organization can even host a camp, this page has information for you! Keep checking back for new information and ideas.

Click here to download above flyer. Click here for the flyer in French. More details and program ideas below!

Getting Started: Foundations

In order to actively balance COVID-19 risk management with the physical, social, and mental health benefits of summer camps and programs, it is important to plan ahead. Ottawa Public Health recommends that starting with these safety foundations:

  • Physical distancing: keeping 2 metres apart
  • Hand hygiene: frequent hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use of hand sanitizer
  • Cleaning and disinfecting: frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces or shared items
  • Masking: add this extra layer of protection to protect others from you, essential when physical distancing is difficult

If you cannot meet these four foundations, consider how you can meet safety needs:

  • Additional personal protective equipment or barriers (e.g. plastic dividers, face shields)
  • Modify activity or behaviour

Questions to Ask

Questions worth asking before, during, and after you making a plan:

  • Does my organization have the capacity to meet these additional safety needs with our available financial, human, time, and other resources?
  • Would necessary safety changes too significantly change the mission or goal of the program, or prevent a priority group from participating?
  • Would a blended approach with digital resources enhance the experience or make the program possible in ways that in person approaches cannot meet at this time?
  • Even with minimizing the chance of infection, how does the risk of infection balance with having the program? And, how does the risk of missing out on the social, physical, and mental health benefits balance with not having the program?

Make a Plan

If you think your organization can work to meet the safety foundations with the resources available, your next step is to make a plan. The activity of making a plan will help your organization know how to prepare to be safe from infection and how to manage a potential outbreak, while providing summer programs. Below our resources and guides to help you make your plan.

Ottawa Public Health is available to answer questions about your plan, although they do not need to approve your plan.

Implement Your Plan

  • Be ready to modify as Ottawa Public Health, other city or provincial guidance changes with the situation
  • Communicate changes and special procedures with participants and family
    • Examples of the City's Declaration of Health and Notice of Risk are available in several languages, contact to obtain
  • Source personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer, check the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory for suppliers
  • Know how to clean your space, this guide from the City of Ottawa may be a useful starting spot

Camp Ideas

Younger Children

How are you modifying activities for children under 8 years old? What camps are you hosting? Share with!

Middle Years Kids

How are you modifying activities for kids 6-12? What camps are you hosting? Share with!


How are you modifying activities for youth? What camps are you hosting? Share with!

Special Note

The ability to provide any programming is subject to The Province of Ontario emergency orders. All services must adhere to Provincial Order. Furthermore, resuming any service has inherent risks with regards to COVID-19. This is highlighted not to scare you from providing programs, rather a reminder of the value of planning ahead to mitigate risks. Just as you plan activities, staff training, registration, and other aspects of your program, COVID-19 risk mitigation is part of a comprehensive plan. There are many benefits to the numerous summer programs offered across Ottawa, and making a plan for COVID-19 will be part of success in 2020.