As some states begin to reopen for business, a number of Jewish summer camps have announced that they will be closed for the season because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Union for Reform Judaism released a statement on Thursday announcing that all of its movement’s camps and planned Israel trips are officially canceled for summer 2020. The decision affects thousands of families across North America.

In a statement, URJ’s leadership said “although we have continued to plan, prepare, pray and hope for another transformative summer, the risks posed by COVID-19 threaten our most sacred values: the health and well-being of our children, staff and faculty that attend camp, along with their communities back home. These risks also compromise our ability to provide the excellence in programming and participant care that are hallmarks of URJ camps.”

Also making the decision to close is Camp Ramah Darom. The camp in Georgia, which serves teens in the Southern United States, had originally been scheduled to open on June 9.

In a letter to parents, camp officials noted that although Georgia has reopened for business, medical experts are advising that any camp that opens “must plan to experience some level of infection. Ramah Darom’s Medical Committee has recommended, and our Board of Directors has agreed, that we cannot operate this summer expecting to manage a COVID infection. We have deemed the many risks involved with exposure to COVID untenable.”

At least one other related camp, Ramah in the Rockies in Colorado, has canceled its first session, though will monitor conditions to see if its second session can take place.

Other camps are expected to make their decisions in the next few weeks.

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.