EL DORADO, Ark. (6/5/20) — School is out and summer is in session. Despite Covid-19 still on the horizon, Boys and Girls Club locations in Union County will open Monday with the necessary restrictions to keep kids and staff safe.
“I just want everyone to know that safety isn’t negotiable with our organization so we’re going to air at the side of caution with every decision that we make,” Executive Director of the clubs, David Lee said.
After three months of being closed, the El Dorado site will reopen with some cosmetic improvements to some of the spaces in the building.
The Smackover-Norphlet site will have it’s first-ever debut, only allowing 30 kids in at a time.
Jesse O’Dell, 7, is one of many kids that’s excited to return to the club after being away from there and school.
O’Dell’s mom, Heather Stark, said her child has special needs. He’s been going to the club since last summer and his shy personality has blossomed just by attending the summer and after-school programs.
“He has had a really hard time with school being out the last three months,” she said. “He misses the kids at school but the boys and girls club is what he’s really asked for.”
She’s seen a little aggression and anxiety with her son during this pandemic. Once he’s back into a routine, she believes that will help him quite a bit. It will also help her as she has taken a leave of absence to care for her child.
“It really does help that way too,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to going back to work.”
Activities at the club will look a lot different with making sure the kids are spaced out from each other.
Lanxess donated small bags for the kids to use so that they’ll have their own crayons, paper and other items. They will be get a water bottle with their name on it so that they’re not drinking from the water fountain.
During rotation times, the items will be cleaned to prepare for the next group.
All kids and staff coming into the building will be screened. Parents or other guests will not be allowed inside.
Staff have already been told that if they experience any type of sickness to stay home.
“We’re not going to take any chances,” Lee said. “If there is any doubt on the way they feel they need to report that.”
There are still slots available if you’d like to sign your child up to attend the summer session. You can call the boys and girls club for more information.