The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota is partnering with local school districts to provide child care for emergency and health care workers, so that schools can focus on providing meals and preparing to provide distance learning for students. Immediately after the Governor’s conference in Sunday, March 15th, school and Boys & Girls Club administrators began working together to be ready to accept kids in to the program at 6 a.m. Monday morning.
“Our collective goal at the Boys & Girls Club is to provide a safe and fun atmosphere for every child who walks through the doors on a daily basis,” said Geri Bechtold, Director of Boys & Girls Club’s Emergency Services Childcare. “We know that this situation is scary for everyone, so we aim to provide engaging programs that keep kids so busy learning that they don’t have time to worry.”
Bechtold explained that the programs are strictly following the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health’s guidelines to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all participants. Temperature and respiratory checks are completed upon check-in, programming is administered in groups of 10, social distancing and hand washing are being taught and practiced regularly, and all spaces are sanitized and disinfected constantly by Boys & Girls Club and school staff.
Gov. Walz has provided a list of those who qualify as emergency and health care workers and the list has expanded to a second tier of workers who are essential to keep our community’s infrastructure going during COVID-19. Parents are encouraged to review this list, which can be found on our website: https://www.bgcmn.org/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/ and clicking on What Qualifies as Emergency & Health Care Workers.
If parents meet this criteria and are in need of childcare, they can register their child for a site in their home school district. This is so that they can participate in the distance learning instruction provided by school paraprofessionals and Boys & Girls Club youth development staff working on site as a team. Distance learning curriculum and programming will begin on Monday, March 23rd at Madison and Mississippi Heights, and on March 30th at Pine Meadow.
Meals will be provided by the schools on a daily basis for all students in the district who are in need, included the youth participating in the Boys & Girls Club’s childcare program.
“We are so thankful to be a part of a community that rallies together in times of hardship,” said Mary Swingle, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota’s President & CEO. “We appreciate the round-the-clock work our schools are doing to ensure all students in the district receive meals during the school closures and that they have the tools necessary to successfully participate in distance learning. We know we couldn’t provide this child care service without the strong relationship with our schools.”
Local school districts have a lot to say about this partnership as well.
“Boys & Girls Club has been amazing in providing services to the families of my community,” said Jeff Schwiebert, Sartell-St. Stephen School District Superintendent. “Without the help, workers’ children and local emergency and healthcare providers’ children would not have a place to go during this very difficult time. They have been invaluable to my school district. Their help has allowed my staff to prepare for our distance learning that our students will need. We are stronger as community because of their work.”
“We are thankful for the partnership we have with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota to provide COVID-19 child care for emergency and healthcare workers,” said Aaron Sinclair, Sauk Rapids-Rice School District Superintendent. “Our partnership with Boys & Girls Club makes our school district stronger, and, thus, makes our community a better place.”
CentraCare employees have been positively impacted by this important service.
“During this trying time, we appreciate the efforts of so many in the community to ensure that CentraCare staff and other emergency workers have the ability to focus on serving the needs of our region to effectively confront COVID-19,” said Brent Bultema, CentraCare Senior Talent Director. “That support for many of our staff starts with their school-aged children and the essential services that the Boys & Girls Club of Central Minnesota—in conjunction with area school districts—is providing for those dependents. Without this service, critical medical care providers—including nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, and so many more—would be unable to focus on the critical health needs of our community. As our community has demonstrated in many other efforts, it takes many to accomplish great things…and we’re proud that Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota is alongside CentraCare and emergency workers to fight this pandemic.”
For more information on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota, please visit our website: www.bgcmn.org. For COVID-19 updates, please click here: https://www.bgcmn.org/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/