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Asphalt Green Day Camp survives the summer of COVID-19

There was no more recess or gym class. Reading, writing, math, and science blended into back-to-back Zoom calls. Cramped New York City apartments became an all-in-one school, office, and family home for thousands of families in the area.


As COVID-19 raged throughout the shuttered New York City, the lives of over a million families were thrown into chaos as the city decided to suspend in-person learning for its more than 1,700 public schools. But even as the most unusual of school years came to an end, warmer weather and clearer virus prevention protocols gave some families a breath of fresh air they had become so desperate for: summer camp.


Asphalt Green Summer Day Camp was one of the first operations to open in the city. Located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the eight-week sports and recreational camp welcomed more than 200 campers and over 60 staff. And for the entirety of these eight weeks, there were no known cases of the virus among campers or staff.


Here is how Asphalt Green Summer Day Camp survived the summer of COVID-19.


Click the first image to begin the story.

Campers and parents line up, masked and socially distanced, outside the entrance gate before the first day of camp on June 29, 2020. Parents were required to check in their children and complete a health screening for them each day using QR codes taped to the gate before entering the campus.
The younger brother of a camper has his temperature taken while entering the campus on June 29, 2020. Campers and their families underwent daily temperature checks upon entering the camp site.
The 19 different camp groups line up in socially distant pods on Litwin Field during morning assembly on July 15, 2020.
Campers in the four to five-year-old division stand at attention during martial arts on July 20, 2020.
As a part of Color War festivities, campers compete in a large tug of war on Aug. 13, 2020. During Color War, the camp splits into two teams for a week and the campers compete during group activities and special challenges to determine a winner.
Campers in the nine to 13-year-old division practice dribbling a basketball on July 22, 2020. Masks were not required for campers during single-group outdoor activities, but many often wore them anyway.
A camper in the four to five-year-old division blows out a candle during his fifth birthday celebration on July 29, 2020.
In the blue room - named for its distinct colored lighting - campers stand on socially distanced spots while participating in dance class on July 16, 2020.
Members of the maintenance staff clean the Slip N' Slides in between activity periods on Aug. 20, 2020. To enable campers to participate in water activities while still taking measures to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, the maintenance staff washed down the water slides in between every period.
A camper in the six to seven-year-old division reaches for hand sanitizer under an automated dispenser outside the arts and crafts room on July 15, 2020. Campers and staff were required to use hand sanitizer or wash their hands in between every activity.
Campers in the seven to eight-year-old division celebrate after winning a tic-tac-toe challenge during morning assembly on Aug. 6, 2020.
Dressed up as a doctor for Heroes Day, a camper in the five to six-year-old division waits for lunch on Aug. 7, 2020. Asphalt Green Summer Day Camp has many theme days throughout the summer each year, but management added Heroes Day to honor the healthcare and other essential workers that had been on the front lines of the pandemic.
Director of Program Operations and Mini-Camps Fabio Del Carlo speaks during the first camp talent show, which included performances from the two youngest divisions, on July 30, 2020. Parents are usually invited to camp to watch the talent show in person, but this year parents were only able to watch their children perform via YouTube livestream.
Campers in the seven to eight-year-old division perform during the second camp talent show, which included performances from the three oldest divisions, on July 30, 2020. In acts that included campers from more than one individual group, campers were required to wear masks while performing.
A camper attempts to throw a Wiffle ball into a bucket as a part of the camp carnival on Aug. 19, 2020. The carnival included mechanical rides, water slides, and a variety of classic carnival games.
Patrick Lindo, a counselor in the seven to eight-year-old division, rides down a water slide with a camper on Aug. 10, 2020. Counselors were required to wear masks during water activities, but campers were not.
After a game of pillow hockey, campers in the nine to 13-year-old division elbow bump instead of high five to promote good sportsmanship and hygiene on Aug. 10, 2020.
Sindy Weisinger, the four to five-year-old division leader, reads "The Night Before Kindergarten" to a group on the second-to-last day of camp on Aug. 20, 2020. As the camp session drew to a close, the status of in-person learning in New York City public schools remained uncertain.
The campers and staff members form a heart on the final day of camp to celebrate a successful and virus-free summer on Aug. 21, 2020.
Karin Ueda, a counselor in the nine to 13-year-old division, waves as the final camp bus departs from the site on the last day of camp on Aug. 21, 2020.