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Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia adapts to pandemic

A student studies while at a Boys and Girls Club site..
A student studies while at a Boys and Girls Club site..(WDBJ)
Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 4:41 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -The pandemic continues to creep into new parts of our lives. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia is operating with some changes this year.

Playing and studying--none of that is changing for the kids.

“We know that our kids need to be social, they need to be physically active, it’s not just mental health but also physical health,” Michelle Davis, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia, said.

Activities like air hockey and foosball--just as important now than in years past---if not even more so.

“We are helping provide that well-rounded experience for kids in a world that looks nothing like they’ve ever experienced before,” Davis said.

She says what is changing is the organization’s health and safety protocol.

“All of our programs are operating at about 50 percent capacity so that we can make sure we have the appropriate social distance between our students,” she said.

Employees are also running temperature checks daily and are having the students wash hands regularly. All members are required to wear masks. Also, certain clubs that usually only take place inside schools are now running in off-sites as well, for, again, more space.

“We don’t want to recreate a problem just in an offsite building, so we are trying to ensure the health and safety of all of our staff and all of our kids,” Davis said.

Scheduling is another big change this year. The clubs will now be watching and helping kids with their work on virtual school days.

“State funding allows us to operate in a youth development capacity outside of school time,” Davis explained.

No matter the differences-Davis says it’s all about providing that structure and support.

“Getting them back on to a schedule, whatever that looks like, is important. And that’s important for us as parents, that’s important for the community as caregivers,” she said.

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