PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Ten Boys and Girls Clubs in Palm Beach County reopened on Monday for the first time in months.
The clubs are a safe haven for many children, but big changes are now in place to keep everyone safe.
After being closed for three months, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County reopened Monday, providing parents with some relief, knowing their kids are safe as they head back to work.
But summer camp looks a bit different in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
"When the children first arrive, all temperatures are taken from inside of the car and then a series of COVID questions are asked to the parent before the child can enter the building," said Latricia Jenkins, the programming coordinator at the Marjorie S. Fisher Boys and Girls Club in West Palm Beach.
And once inside, kids must wear masks and stay six feet apart.
"We had to incorporate sanitizing, hand washing, social distancing, and all the things that keep kids safe here in this environment," said Mark Brown, the director of the Marjorie S. Fisher Boys and Girls Club.
Enrollment has taken a hit with CDC guidelines. The club usually serves 2,000 kids countywide. That number now is only about 700, focusing on families most in need.
"We would like to get that number back up, but we have to be smart and we have to do it from a safety standpoint," said Brown. "We have to make sure the kids are safe first."
Safety upgrades, including monitors in every classroom for virtual instruction, has led to a $750,000 shortfall.
The Boys and Girls Clubs have launched a summer campaign through donations to make that money up, to keep kids safe, and help them from falling behind in school.
"The movement, the exercising and action, it really gets the kids motivated because sitting still was not going to do it," said Jenkins.
The organization is working to provide additional programming for teenagers a couple of hours a week at night.
And for virtual camp, a kit will be handed out to parents with art, athletic, and educational supplies so kids can do all the same activities from home.
To donate to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, click here.