B&G Club adapts to virtual learning

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by Terry Rogers

Paul Dorey, Jr., Executive Director of the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club says that the current COVID-19 precautions and directives have definitely reshaped the way the Club does business. However, changes to the programs offered by the Club have not been difficult to manage as the Boys & Girls Club of Delaware has become very adaptive to change throughout their history, Dorey explained.

“Since March 2020, we have shifted from normal services to emergency care services, providing care for only essential personnel, and then back to a reduced capacity program,” Dorey said. “With the schools starting in a virtual format and evolving into a hybrid format of schooling, the Clubs will be rearranging the children’s groups that we are serving to better accommodate like methods of schooling preference. Unfortunately, due to sports restrictions, we are not able to offer all of our normal programming.”

Normally, the Boys & Girls Club does not offer “during school” programs, catering instead to students who need after-school care. With schools operating in a virtual and then hybrid format, the Club decided to provide during school care to those who need the service. Milford Boys & Girls Club will be open from 6:30 AM until 7 PM Monday through Friday.

“We will be doing our best to accommodate all students who will be doing virtual schooling and hybrid schooling by providing internet and log-in assistance,” Dorey said. “We are strongly encouraging that each student bring their own electronic device and headphones. Although our staff will not be acting in a “teaching capacity,” we will do everything we can to ensure the children have the opportunity to complete the required work.”

The Boys & Girls Club currently has openings in their Pre-School program, offered for 3 to 5-year-old children. They also have limited openings in the School Age program, offered for children ages 5 to 12. The Club is also running evening programs for teens on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights. Teen nights consist of team building skills development, Botvin training, games, music and much more.

“The largest change to our program within the virtual and hybrid learning scenario is trying to arrange the student to staff schedules,” Dorey said. “We are a licensed childcare facility and a 5-Star program with Delaware Stars. With capacity restrictions and different groups of children alternating days through the facility with at least one day where everyone is present, ensuring we are meeting the Office of Childcare Licensing ratio requirements regarding staff-to-student limits and department of Health Guidelines, we will need to limit the number of children we are able to serve. Most of our staff only work in the mornings and evenings throughout the school year and now we need staff all day.”

Dorey explained that the Club has been in constant communication with the Milford School District, calling them a “strategic partner.” Although there have been discussions about the virtual and hybrid versions of school, Dorey stated that there has been no discussion on when students will return to the classroom full-time.

“The Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware have implemented many precautions when it comes to safety,” Dorey explained. “Each child is screened with a CDC questionnaire and their temperatures are taken prior to entering the facility. We have a dedicated sanitation person whose main responsibility is to wipe down all hard surfaces and high-touch items, such as doorknobs, handles, restrooms, phones, computers, etc., on a consistent basis. We have restricted access to the facility to members and staff only. The majority of our contractors are coming in after hours. Our facility is cleaned each night and we have just added an electrostatic sprayer to our COVID-19 arsenal. All staff and children are required to wear masks. We are taking the health and safety of our children, staff and community very seriously.”

Currently, the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club has openings for qualified candidates. Job postings can be found at www.bgclubs.org. For more information about programs offered at the Club or to learn if there is space available for your child, call 302-422-4453 or visit www.bgclubs.org.