Frisco businesses moving forward with plans for summer camps amid pandemic

Sci-Tech Discovery Center is currently offering a number of virtual classes and plans to reopen for summer camp on June 15. (Courtesy Sci-Tech Discovery Center)
Sci-Tech Discovery Center is currently offering a number of virtual classes and plans to reopen for summer camp on June 15. (Courtesy Sci-Tech Discovery Center)

Sci-Tech Discovery Center is currently offering a number of virtual classes and plans to reopen for summer camp on June 15. (Courtesy Sci-Tech Discovery Center)

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Eagle Gymnastics Academy plans to have summer camps this year with fewer participants than usual. (Courtesy Eagle Gymnastics Academy)
With gyms, exercise facilities and places that offer classes allowed to operate at 25% capacity beginning May 18, a number of Frisco businesses are planning to hold summer camps for children.

“There's going to be a contingent of parents that are itching to get out of the house,” said David Agius, co-owner of the Code Ninjas location on Stonebrook Parkway in west Frisco. “I know I am.”

Agius said the local computer coding facility has a full slate of camps planned, with a number of safety procedures in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re going to lower the number of seats available [for the camps],” he said. “We’ve thoroughly cleaned the center. We set apart the tables to meet social distancing requirements, so we're only seating one child per table. We've instituted in-day cleanings. We’re sanitizing the computers after each visit [and] encouraging our students to wash their hands frequently.”

Code Ninjas staff will also be wearing masks, though students will not be required to do so.

Masks also will not be mandatory for students at Eagle Gymnastics Academy or 4 The Love of Dance. Both are planning summer camps.

“We're trying to do [social] distancing instead of masks because those would be really hard to 1) teach [in] and 2) just breathe with the masks on when we're doing dance classes,” 4 The Love of Dance owner Kristin Shepherd said. “If we have requests from parents to [wear masks], we're willing to pretty much do whatever to stay open at this point.”

Shepherd said the dance school has not had anyone sign up for its summer camps since March, but she has also not been advertising them.

“We just [plan to] do the same thing we normally do, [but] have them a little bit more spaced apart, [with] less kids in the classroom,” Shepherd said. “I was nervous to advertise something that I didn't know if I would be able to fulfill. Even if they're at 25% [capacity], then I hope to be able to at least do that much.”

Eagle Gymnastics co-owner Ginger Fox said she has gotten a good amount of interest for her facility’s planned camps.

“We’re hosting some, [but] not our normal schedule,” Fox said. “Right now it’s kind of limited. It depends on the numbers in the gym because we can only do a certain amount in the gym.”

Eagle Gymnastics and 4 The Love of Dance are also planning to do temperature screenings for campers. That is a safety element also being considered by Sci-Tech Discovery Center and North Texas Performing Arts-Frisco.

Both of those facilities are offering a number of virtual classes and have tentative plans for in-person camps in June.

“Our virtual summer camps will start June 1 for sure,” NTPA Senior Marketing Director Lauren Boykin said. “We're hopeful that we'll be able to open up the in-person summer camps in June as well, but we're just waiting for some more guidance from the governor.”

Sloan Pielli, director of Sci-Tech Discovery Center’s Education Department, said the Frisco museum currently plans to reopen for summer camp on June 15. To prepare for that, she said the facility’s staff have been monitoring state and federal guidelines as well as those from the American Camp Association.

“We've always wanted to err on the side of caution,” Pielli said. “We have families who I've spoken to who would start camps right now if I opened them up, but we just don't feel like that’s safe.”

At Frisco School of Music and Performing Arts, owner and Executive Director Chris Duncan said health and safety are the school's No. 1 priorities.

“We built our buildings with moveable walls, so we have doubled the space [for our camps],” Duncan said. “Our piano camp is going to be in our regular weekly piano lab classroom, but we've opened up the walls [and] spread out the pianos.”

Duncan said she anticipates the school’s camps will have fewer participants this year, but said she has heard from parents who are excited for classes that can engage their children.

“With the restaurants opening and all the other facilities, little by little [parents] are ready to get into summer camps,” Duncan said. “They've [been] up to their eyeballs in school, so they're ready to do stuff, and they know their kids are ready to do stuff.”
By William C. Wadsack

Editor, Plano

William joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2019. He previously served as managing editor of several daily and weekly publications in North Texas and his native state of Louisiana.