Back in mid-March, Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island, (BGCCVI), closed their doors as a precaution against COVID-19.
“It was a really tough decision for us to close because we’re the biggest childcare provider on the Island,” BGCCVI executive director Karen Love said at the time.
BGCCVI was grappling with a possible COVID-19 exposure at their Ladysmith Boys and Girls Club which led to the closure and cleaning of all their locations. Ultimately, there was no COVID-19 exposure at the Ladysmith Boys and Girls Club, or any BGCCVI location.
Clubs reopened in late May. The main challenge to BGCCVI operations is trying to keep children socially distanced from each other, and from staff. BGCCVI is operating at around 50 percent capacity to facilitate social distancing.
“The second challenge is the cleanliness, and disinfecting that we do at all of our locations,” Love said.
BGCCVI has staff dedicated to cleaning tasks, like disinfecting toys, and touch services on a regular basis.
BGCCVI is primarily funded by parent fees, and club closures did have an impact on BGCCVI’s finances. However, BGCCVI did qualify for the Emergency Child Care Operating Fund, and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
“We’ve managed to stay afloat, even though our parent fees were not coming in,” Love said.
Love said that BGCCVI programming will be shaped by what school programming looks like in the fall. If school is back to full-days of in-person learning, BGCCVI will operate their before and after school programs as normal. If school is done in half-days, it’ll present an issue of transportation.
“We’re working now on a transportation policy to safely pick the kids up at school, and bring them back to our locations,” Love said. “It’s less about wearing masks, and more about keeping kids socially distanced on the bus.”