The Club staff have been hard at work for the last two weeks preparing for the Club to reopen for the summer. Just as with restaurants, casinos etc there are new guidelines that the Club will be following to ensure that we provide as safe an environment as possible for our members and staff.
Safety is always the number 1 priority for the Club and we are basing our new policies and procedures on guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the California Department of Health, El Dorado County Department of Health and best practices designed by other Boys and Girls Clubs who have successfully reopened. Unlike obvious threats to safety, such as busy roads or hot surfaces, we are unable to physically see or feel the threat posed by COVID-19, and therefore have to move forward with the highest levels of mitigation possible.
New policies will include, but are not limited to, temperature checks on arrival, only members and BGCLT staff allowed inside the building, masks and face-shields to be worn by staff, members to have and utilize masks when indoors, hourly handwashing and sanitation of surfaces, toys from home strictly forbidden and member interaction restricted to own group and staff member.
Perhaps the biggest impact is on group size. The Club normally operates a 20:1 ratio of members to staff. For the summer we are going to follow the CDC guidance for school settings (as our members are school aged and we are in a school building) and will be lowering our ratio to 12:1. While this is great for group dynamics and supervision, it unfortunately means that we can accomodate fewer members this summer. We are hiring extra staff and renting additional rooms from LTUSD to enable us to take as many members as possible, but admission will be limited.
We understand that this will be extremely hard for parents who are returning to work, and it is also a serious issue for the Club as our revenue will be severely affected at a time when our operating expenses are rapidly increasing. If California relaxes social distancing over the course of the summer, we will open up enrollment again, but sadly, as and when will be determined by State directives and the number of COVID-19 cases in our community. At this time, the Club is not entirely in control of our operational decisions.
The City is taking advice on running STAR camp this summer and we very much hope that they do, as we need as many programs as possible. The Family Resource Center is not running their summer program, and therefore any families in need of childcare are encouraged to contact Choices for Children. Choices can refer families to childcares with openings and also help with the costs for essential workers or those under financial constraints.
If you are already enrolled for the summer, you will receive a large packet of materials prior to our reopening. The packet will outline in detail all our new policies and procedures and will require a response and return of paperwork by parents/guardians. Please respond to this ASAP to enable your child to start as soon as we reopen. Any parents no-longer wishing their child to attend during the summer should contact Amber immediately on firstname.lastname@example.org
So much has changed in the past three months, and we expect continued changes in the coming months. We ask that all our members and families work with us as we feel our way through this new reality. New challenges and changes are constantly arising and, as we teach the children, everything is a learning opportunity. We hope that our members, families and community are willing to learn alongside us for the long term benefit of all.