In the last several months, many student activities came to a halt. Only recently did activities like sports and extracurriculars resume. Leaders at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana are happy that they are once again offering after-school activities for their 2020 fall programming, and the organization is excited about the In-Club Virtual Learning Assistance program it is offering during the school day for kids who are enrolled in virtual learning through their schools.
The latter is something new to Boys & Girls Clubs and came about in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time, Clubs are open during the entire school day and providing Club members with safe, supportive environments where they log in to their schools’ online platforms and complete their schoolwork while parents are at work.
Boys & Girls Clubs Director of Operations Rosemarie Joiner said all Club programs are available to students in some capacity this fall, but providing virtual learning assistance within Clubs is a focus and an important service offered to working parents and guardians. Joiner also said Clubs have limited capacities based on factors like square footage, so members will be able to meet in safe, manageable group sizes.
“Our Clubs are designed to serve youth while maintaining CDC guidelines of distancing six feet apart at all times,” Joiner said. “There are markings to address social distancing when Club members are moving throughout the facilities. We used CDC guidelines to determine factors that needed to be considered, such as what constitutes a high temperature, when to contact local or state health departments, and what to do if we have a potential COVID-19 case in our Clubs.”
Boys & Girls Clubs is implementing new COVID procedures not only pertaining to social distancing, but also for wearing masks and other protective measures.
“We have COVID-19 procedures in place for the Clubs, which include posting information for parents, members, and staff to read,” Joiner said. “We have curbside drop-off and pickup services for Club members. We take the temperatures of staff and Club members twice each day, and we also take the temperature of any visitor entering the building. Staff are wearing masks and members are wearing masks when social distancing is not possible.”
While the new safety measures in place this fall are making Boys & Girls Clubs programs look different than before the pandemic, Joiner said that keeping kids healthy and safe while at their Clubs is imperative.
“It’s very important for us is to share our COVID-19 procedures with parents and show them how we have designed our Clubs to provide services in a safe environment,” she said. “Safety is our top priority.”
These changes were unanticipated, but Joiner is grateful to parents and children for complying with new protocols so they can safely operate and offer their various after-school programs that kids need and want.
“I cannot thank the parents enough for their ongoing support as we continue to provide quality programs in our communities,” Joiner said. “The support we are receiving from parents and community leaders allows me to believe we can adapt to meet the needs of youth while still having meaningful relationships with them and ensuring their success.”
To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s 2020 fall programming and new COVID-19 safety protocols, visit https://www.bgcgreaternwi.org/