A friend texted me at the weekend and told me that for Christmas I will be receiving a 2021 dumpster fire tree ornament to match the one she gave me in 2020. And she is so right. Here at the Club we spent Friday figuring out the challenges of staffing, COVID outbreaks and changing school schedules, and by Saturday we added wildfire to the mix!

So in an effort to answer all the questions, about all the issues we are currently dealing with, here is a Q&A which we hope will help:

Early out Wednesdays: No, we had no idea that one was coming either! The good news is that we have dealt with this in the past and we are adjusting accordingly. If you are ENROLLED in our Fall After-school program the day will look no different for you. Your child will finish school and go straight to Club. We will close at our normal time at both sites.

Will we be charged more for the Wednesdays? No you will not. All minimum days, and now Wednesdays, are included in the set membership fee for the fall semester. However, we have calculated that the extra hour on Wednesdays will cost the Club a minimum of $15,000 for the school year. As a non-profit, $15,000 is a LOT! We have requested that LTUSD provide extra support from funding they have received from the State for afterschool programs and if you are in a position to donate to the Club – everything helps!

Now that schools are closed on November 12th – can the Club be open all day? Sadly we can’t and here is why. 1. Over 50% of our staff also work for LTUSD and therefore they will be training that day. 2. Now we are running an afterschool program, staff are only scheduled for the afterschool time and those not at LTUSD have jobs elsewhere in the morning. 3. As with vacation days, we would only have Al Tahoe available and therefore would not be able to accommodate all our enrolled members. So unfortunately we do not have the staff or the space available to open for a full day. We apologize for the inconvenience this will cause.

What if we return to distanced learning, will the Club open for full days? This is a major concern for us right now. LTUSD announced in July 2020 they would start the year online and that enabled us to keep staff on full time for a full day program. This year our staff are expecting part-time work this fall and understandably have found, or are looking for, morning work; only a handful remain full time with the Club. So if there is a sudden change in schooling, we can not guarantee that we will have the staff available for a full day program. We would also have to do another enrollment process. Therefore it is VITAL we all do what we can to keep the schools open and that means masking up indoors (even on the weekends!), getting all eligible family members immunized, not going to school when feeling sick, and if you go on vacation, taking a COVID test upon return and before you attend school or Club.

Air quality: we have been pushing through all the smoke events this summer and keeping the kids indoors when the AQI is over 150 (using purple air). However, if the schools close then we will close (just like snow days). This is because LTUSD will close the Bijou site and therefore we can’t operate there and as outlined above, we do not have the space or the space to accommodate everyone at Club for a full day on short notice. LTUSD has said it will close if the AQI is over 300 – which is has been for the last few days.

What if AQI deteriorates during the day? If the schools close early due to AQI and request child pick-up from school – we will CLOSE. If members are already at Club and the smoke is getting thicker – we will put out a request for early pick-up. This is for the safety of your child and the staff. The old Al Tahoe building is not well insulated and therefore if your child has asthma or is sensitive to smoke, please don’t send them to Club on poor AQI days.

What if town is under warning or evacuated:  Many of our staff live in Meyers and therefore if Meyers goes on a warning, we will have to see if we have enough staff to run Club safely. If Meyers is evacuated it will be the same situation, and for any other neighborhoods. If the Al Tahoe neighborhood goes on warning, the Club will NOT open. If there is ever an evacuation call for the Club, for fire, active shooter, flood etc then at that point the Club staff no longer call the shots; we are entirely in the hands of our local Fire and Police Agencies and will follow their instructions to ensure the safety of our members and staff.

If I am on the waitlist when can I expect to get a place at Club? We are actively recruiting but are struggling to find staff. It is unlikely we can accept anyone off the waitlist until more staff are hired and provided we are still operating a normal afterschool program. Therefore, please seek other childcare for at least the fall semester and reapply for our Winter program. Members who have accepted a place but do not attend, will not be given a place in the next semester.

How can I stay informed? Follow the Club on Facebook or Instagram and sign up for BAND. We also put announcements on the white board outside the Club. We will NOT call or email individually with updates or reminders, so it is vital you make the effort to stay informed. Including reading these blogs!

How can I help? We always appreciate donations, particularly to help us pay for the extra long Wednesdays this year. You can join Team AWESOME by clicking on donate on our website bgclt.org BUT also please advocate for the Club and your needs as working parents. If you are on the PTA, share how vital the afterschool and vacations days are to enabling you to work. Encourage all your friends and family to be COVID safe and help keep this year as normal as it can be!