BRENHAM, Texas — Children and teens in Washington County will soon have a place to spend their free time over the summer. The Boys and Girls Club of Washington County is reopening its doors Jun. 8. However, those familiar with the building will notice a few changes.
“Given everything that’s been going on in the world the last few months, we feel really excited and blessed that we are able to open up and offer some kind of program to our members," said Stephanie Wehring, the executive director for the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County.
The club has safety guidelines members must follow when it reopens. Probably one of the most drastic changes people will notice is the social distancing practices in the building.
“Typically what we would do is have an eight-week program and open it up to 350 kids," Wehring said.
The Boys and Girls Club is still having the eight-week summer program but is dividing into four, two-week sessions. The maximum number of members that can sign-up per session is 40. Those 40 will be split up into five different rooms.
“It will be a 1 to 8 ratio," Wehring said. "So, eight children to one staff member that they’re with throughout the day.”
Before COVID-19, members of the club were able to roam around the building as they please. Now, for most of the day, the children will spend most of the day in their designated classroom.
The staff has converted spaces around the facility to help maintain social distancing. For example, the gym will be split to have one half as the basketball court and the other half as a classroom.
“It’s been a bit of a challenge to look at our facility and rework it differently than we ever have in the past," Wehring said.
Even though creating space to have kids keep the recommended six-feet apart has been an obstacle, the staff is excited to see the kids walk through those doors Monday.
“It is really important for the kids to have somewhere to go after school and have somewhere positive where there are people that care, people that are making sure they are getting feed, people are making sure they are getting their homework done," said Sean Youngs, youth development professional for the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County.
The Boys and Girls Club is asking families to not bring any food into the building. Lunches will be provided for members by Brenham ISD. The club will also have snacks available in the afternoon.