Summer Camp Update, June 17

The Museum of Life and Science plans to begin in-person camps the week of July 6, 2020.

We have carefully re-designed our camp activities so that we can conduct them in a way that strives to maintain social distancing while still being engaging, educational, and fun! Modifications to camps are based on CDC, state, and local health guidelines. These plans are subject to change based on guidance from state and local leadership.


Changes at a glance:

  • We have reduced the maximum number of campers per session to 10 campers and 2-3 adult staff.
  • Campers will remain in the same group throughout the week for all activities. The small groups will have limited to no interaction with one another and have their own dedicated classroom space.
  • We sanitize spaces daily, and we will sanitize any shared equipment between uses.
  • We have eliminated before-care and after-care to minimize interaction between groups.
  • All campers will spend time outside (with shade and lots of drinking water!) and will be encouraged to give people their “bubble” of space. We will encourage physical distancing, but we acknowledge that it is unlikely that campers will always be farther than six feet apart.
  • All staff will be screened daily before entering the building, including a temperature check.
  • All campers will be screened daily before entering the building, but camper temperature checks will take place at home.
  • Campers will wash hands frequently (before and after eating, in between activities, and after coughing/sneezing/blowing noses).


Frequently Asked Questions

Which camp sessions are canceled and why?

The following camp sessions have been canceled due to new guidelines established for camps:

  • Kitchen Creations, Kitchen Chemistry, and Food Truck Rodeo: we designed these camps to allow campers to create and share food, which relevant guidelines now strongly advise against.
  • Art Rocks, Art from the Earth, and Dig and Design: we designed these camps intending to spend much of the day in our Earth Moves exhibit. We are currently working under the assumption that Earth Moves will open to the public at some point during the summer. To keep each small group separate from visitors, we will not be able to offer this camp.
  • Digital Content Creators: we designed Digital Content Creators for campers to work in small groups, which would mean sharing computers and sitting close to one another for much of the day. We have decided to cancel this camp since social distancing would not be possible.
  • All LEGO camps: we designed LEGO camps for campers to work in small groups building and programming robots. Unfortunately, campers in this camp share both LEGO kits and computers, which would mean sitting close to one another for much of the day and sharing materials that could not be sanitized between uses.
  • All Minecraft camps: Minecraft camps were designed for campers to work in small groups, which would mean sharing computers and sitting close to one another for much of the day. We have decided to cancel this camp since social distancing would not be possible. We hope you will consider joining us for one of our Minecraft Camps@Home options!


Why has before-care and after-care been canceled?

Our before and after-care sessions require our campers to mingle across groups and ages. We have eliminated these programs in order to minimize contact between campers of difference camp sessions. 


Who will be required to wear masks?

  • In keeping with Durham’s current protocol, all Museum staff will wear masks when working in close proximity to our colleagues, campers, animals, and guests – indoors and outdoors.
  • Campers are required to bring a mask. Campers will be encouraged to wear masks while indoors, during drop-off and pickup, and during other transitions. 

How will daily screening work?

We will ask the person dropping off the camper each morning daily screening questions provided by the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

These questions are:

1. Do you or do any of the children you are dropping off have a temperature greater than 100.4 °F, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, new loss of taste or smell (vomiting or diarrhea, children only)?

2. Have you or any of the children you are dropping off:

a. Had any of these symptoms since last time you were last here?

b. Been in contact with the above symptoms since the last time you were here?

c. Has anyone in your household or anyone you’ve had close contact with presented any of these symptoms in the last 14 days?

*Fever is determined by a thermometer reading 100.4 or higher or by subjective signs such as flushed cheeks, fatigue, extreme fussiness, chills, shivering, sweating, achiness, headache, not eating or drinking.

**Exposure is sharing a household or having close contact with anyone with COVID 19 or has symptoms of COVID 19.

We will also ask all staff daily screening questions provided by the NC Department of Health and Human Services about health symptoms and social distancing.

Staff and campers will all have their temperatures taken daily. We will expect families to take their camper’s temperature each morning before coming to camp. Anyone with a temperature over 100.4 will not be admitted to camp.

Anyone exhibiting any COVID-like symptoms, OR who have been in contact with someone exhibiting COVID-like symptoms, will not be admitted to camp. 


What happens if someone at camp displays symptoms of COVID-19?

  • If a camper demonstrates COVID-like symptoms (fever, cough, GI issues, etc.) at camp, they will be moved to an isolated location, and we will notify caregivers for immediate pick-up.
  • Any camper who is sent home with COVID-like symptoms will be asked to stay home until receiving a negative COVID test from a health professional, OR have been fever and fever medication-free for 72 hours, have improved symptoms, AND at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • If someone is sent home from camp for COVID-like symptoms, we will follow the Health Department’s guidance for contact tracing and inform families from all groups who may have been exposed.
  • If a camper or staff member develops COVID-like symptoms, we will inform the families of the other participants of that camp that a child showed symptoms, and give them the choice to continue to attend, or cancel the remainder of their week and receive a pro-rated refund.
  • If there are indications that a staff member or camper with COVID-19 (symptomatic or asymptomatic) has attended camp, we will notify families immediately. If applicable, we will cancel the remainder of that camp and provide pro-rated refunds for families.
  • We request that families remain in contact with us post-camp, and let us know if they find that their child may have been COVID-19 positive during the camp week. If this is the case, we will notify all campers and staff who may have been in contact with the camper.
  • As medical information is updated, this policy is subject to change.


What should I do if I have symptoms or test positive after attending camp?

Please let us know if you have a fever or if anyone in your household tests positive for COVID-19 in the two weeks after attending camp.


What if my camper or someone in my household is at high risk for contacting COVID-19?

If you are not sure if you should attend camp, please discuss it with your medical provider. Anyone who is at higher risk for severe illness if infected by COVID-19, including people with moderate to severe asthma, diabetes, or are immunocompromised, OR anyone who shared a household with someone with one of these underlying conditions should seriously consider not attending camp this summer.


What will cleaning procedures entail? What products do you use?

We sanitize spaces daily and will sanitize any shared materials between uses. A more complete list of sanitizing products and procedures is forthcoming.


What will a regular day look like for my camper?

Because of new standard healthcare protocols, camp will look a little different than previous years, but you will still find the same highly qualified staff and engaging activities that are fundamental to our camps.

  • Campers will use their classroom as a primary camp space.
  • Camp groups will have exclusive access to one outdoor exhibit daily to avoid contact with other camp groups and Museum visitors.
  • Weather permitting, as many activities as possible will take place outdoors
  • Spaces to be sanitized afterward


Changes to Drop off and Pick Up:

  • Where possible, the same person should drop off and pick up the same camper each day. Avoid designating those considered at high risk, such as elderly grandparents who are over 65 years of age.
  • Our goal is to limit direct contact with parents and caregivers as much as possible and only allow campers and Museum staff inside the buildings. This will be done by providing a window of time and using car lines for both drop-off and pick-up. You will be emailed ahead of your camp week with information on exact drop off and pick up locations and windows of time available.
  • We will have a staff member waiting in the parking lot to greet cars as they arrive. The staff member checking in campers will remain six feet away from each driver, if possible, and wear a mask. Before allowing the campers out of the car, the staff member will ask each driver the screening questions and making sure we have all health and safety forms in order. We will escort campers to their counselors. Drivers will stay in the car during the entire drop-off.
  • Campers will all wash hands before beginning their camp day, throughout the day as needed, and wash again before pick-up.
  • Just as in years past, pick-up will also use a car line. We will have the car line clearly marked, check your identification from the driver’s window, and bring your camper to your car while you wait.


Updated Release Form

In light of COVID-19 and the changes we’ve made to our camps, we will be asking all families registered for in-person camp the week of July 6 or after to sign a new release form. The release form is a standard part of registering for camp and seeks to inform parents of new inherent risks associated with the current conditions. We will email you with the new form before the start of camp.


How do I register for these programs?

Register for in-person camps

Register for virtual Camp@Home programs


What if I still do not want to send my child to camp this summer?

We understand that different families will make different decisions based on what is best for them during this time. We honor and respect all decisions. To that end, if you want to cancel your child’s summer camp registration for any reason, you may do so up to two weeks ahead of their camp week and request a full refund minus a $30 cancellation fee. The two-week window allows us to plan for the actual number of campers attending that week. If you decide to cancel your camp, we hope that you will choose to join us for one of our Camps@Home options! Learn more about Camps@Home.

If you have to cancel due to your child having COVID-19 symptoms, or being in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms, then you can cancel registration any time before the start of the camp week and request a full refund.

If you decide to cancel your summer camp registration, we will give you the option to donate all or part of your program fees. If you are able, we invite you to consider a donation upon canceling. These donations help to ensure that the Museum of Life and Science can make it through this tough time and continue to serve our community.

You may modify or cancel your reservations by emailing  


Have questions?

Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to share any thoughts or concerns. You can reach us at