Alexandria Camp Closed Early Due to COVID-19 Case, Parent Says

The health department would neither confirm or deny cases of the virus at the camp for children with special needs and the children of front-line workers

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A popular summer camp in Alexandria has had to close early this summer and a parent says it’s because every child and staff member potentially was exposed to someone with COVID-19. 

A sign on the door of the Nannie J. Lee Center says the facility is closed. The center hosts a camp that’s a service for children with special needs and, this summer, also the children of front-line workers. 

An email from camp leaders told mother J-Lynn Van Pelt that her daughter, Bonita, had been exposed to a person with the virus for three consecutive days. She’s now in quarantine and awaiting test results. 

Van Pelt said she wants the community to know about cases of the virus. 

“Even though this program is amazing and the leaders are amazing [and] they did all the CDC requirements and they tried to keep the kids safe as possible, there was still an exposure,” she said Friday via video call. 

It was a difficult decision to send Bonita to the camp this summer, given the risks of the virus. She had decided that the camp offered services her daughter needs and that camp leaders were taking good health precautions. 

The health department would neither confirm or deny cases of the virus at the camp. 

Alexandria’s health director, Dr. Stephen Haering, said specific details of an outbreak are only reported if they don't know who could have been exposed.

“When there's a setting where we know the people that were there, we contact the people directly and we don't have the need to publish that publicly,” he said on a video call. 

The health department says there have been outbreaks in three congregate settings. The category includes camps.

A city spokesperson said 44 campers and 15 staff members were at the camp this summer.

Van Pelt said she was concerned that more information was not released about a “large exposure to children.” 

For now, her family is hoping for the best. 

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