Good Question: Why don’t rapid tests pass for summer camps?

[anvplayer video=”5034618″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — We know day camps and overnight camps are happening this summer with a lot of rules. We expected those, but there’s one, in particular, that’s a concern for a parent who reached out to News10NBC’s Brennan Somers.

Steve’s message states in part: I just found out from my local Boy Scout Council that the Department of Health, not only mandates COVID-19 testing for anyone not vaccinated to attend summer camp within 72 hours of going to camp, but that rapid tests do not count!

Why should we submit the youngest of New York to the deep COVID testing when the numbers are continuing to decline because you have not allowed them to be eligible for a vaccine yet!

Here’s the answer, for Steve and other parents taking issue with that. Those are still the rules. The testing mandate specifically applies to overnight campers in NY.

Kids going away to camp have three options:

  1. Completed vaccination series at least 14 days prior to the date of arrival.
  2. Documentation of lab-confirmed COVID case in the previous three mont
  3. Receive a negative diagnostic test result within 72 hours of arrival at the camp.

Why? The deeper swabs, like the PCR test, are considered the "gold standard.” They are the most accurate and most reliable at detecting cases.

The rapid tests may be simpler, quicker to turn around but can be less accurate. So that’s the added testing mandate for overnight campers.

For kids going to perhaps just day camp, at minimum, the rules say they must go through health screenings each day including temp checks and whether they have symptoms.

Camp organizers must also collect info on every staff member and camper’s vaccination status.


Watch previous Good Question segments here. If you have a question you’d like answered, email