The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report on Friday that showed the challenges that schools may face if they reopen in relation to a coronavirus outbreak at an overnight camp in Georgia in mid-June.

The CDC’s study compared the transmission of the virus among campers and staff to that of schools, saying that while the camp adopted some mitigation steps as suggested by the agency, it did not strictly follow them. Th study highlights the problems that schools could face during the coronavirus pandemic should they reopen their doors in the fall.

The CDC indicated that the summer camp minimized risks of the coronavirus by keeping cohorting of attendees to a cabin and had enhanced its cleaning and disinfecting procedures. However, the 600 campers that attended the summer camp did not wear masks. Only the 120 staff members did.

In addition, campers engaged in a series of indoor and outdoor activities, including “vigorous singing and cheering,” which the CDC said, “might have contributed to transmission” of the coronavirus. Doors and windows also were not kept open in buildings to allow for air circulation.

“Settings, like multi-day, overnight summer camps, pose a unique challenge when it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases considering the amount of time campers and staff members spend in close proximity,” the CDC said in its report.

“Correct and consistent use of cloth masks, rigorous cleaning and sanitizing, social distancing, and frequent hand washing strategies, which are recommended in CDC’s recently released guidance to reopen America’s schools, are critical to prevent transmission of the virus in settings involving children and are our greatest tools to prevent COVID-19.”

The Georgia Department of Health opened an investigation into the camp after a teenage staff member became sick and left the camp. They were later found to have COVID-19.

The study found that of 344 attendees that were tested from the camp, 260 tested positive for the coronavirus. A least 44% (260 out of 597) got infected with the virus – a number that researchers say could be higher as not everyone was tested.

Georgia has reported over 182,000 positive coronavirus cases with over 3,600 COVID-19 deaths as of Friday afternoon, Johns Hopkins University said.

Uttranchal-camping Camping in the northeastern Indian state of Uttarakhand, which is home to a portion of the Himalayas, including India's second-tallest peak Nanda Devi at 25,646 feet above sea level Photo: Thrillophilia