By Joe Morey
The Boys and Girls Club of Lac Courte Oreilles has been open every day for After School activities and all day on Wednesday and Friday, according to Heather Peterson, Club Director.
They open those days from 7:30 in the morning till evening. Wednesday is the day LCO Schools are closed for Covid cleaning and Friday is Hayward’s day.
“We are committed to academics for students,” Peterson said. “Our staff is there to log the students into their devices and assist them with their academics. It’s a relief for families.”
Since Covid pandemic began in March the Club went to all virtual programming until June 15, when they opened back up on a limited basis.
“During our closure, we came up with a weekly program schedule,” Peterson noted. “We’d go online and do physical workouts with our kids for example. We continued to do what we were funded to do and we did it through virtual programming.”
Peterson explained the Boys and Girls Clubs of America University had thousands of trainings they would do a few hours a day. During Covid, she said the Club’s grantors were flexible and allowed us to do the virtual.
On June 15, the Club opened up to 40 kids over the summer.
“We had four pods of ten kids in each with two staff for each pod. This way if they got sick they would only affect some, rather than all of the kids being exposed,” Peterson said. “On July 20, we opened all the way and added 20 more kids.”
Peterson said these numbers are way down from usually serving up to 100 kids per night. She believes many parents are still uncertain about letting their children.
“A huge setback for us has been that Hayward Schools has a Covid policy that requires parents to choose one spot for the entire school year where their children are dropped off on the school bus, either home or the Club. Normally, kids could get dropped off certain nights at the Club or at home,” Peterson explained.
Peterson said they have been in contact with families and the Club is able to take a van out to the school and pick them up.
Peterson said they haven’t taken trips this year, but luckily they have their own fleet of canoes, kayaks, mountain bikes, so they’ve been able to be active. She said they swam and hiked. She said each group has had use of their own van.
“I’m super thankful for our staff. We didn’t lose one staff member through Covid,” Peterson said. “When it came to making decisions, I’d always ask what is best for our kids and we all decided being open for them was best.”