Holly Hurrie’s two children were still adjusting to their father’s military deployment when the sudden closure of schools upended their routine and schedule again. Holly needed to find childcare quickly so she could continue working as a nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This has never happened before so I was taken aback,” Holly said. “What am I going to do? Who is going to watch my kids?”
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota came to Holly’s assistance by providing emergency childcare for families of first responders, healthcare workers, law enforcement and other essential personnel identified by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. Holly’s daughter, a first grade student, was able to continue attending the Boys & Girls Club of Central Minnesota where she normally attends programming after school.
“Knowing that she can continue to go to the same program, have a similar schedule and recognize many of the same staff is a critical reassurance for her in these uncertain times,” Holly said. Her son’s daycare has remained open.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota was one of numerous Clubs across the nation who adapted their services for families with nowhere else to turn during prolonged school closures. Club staff worked with school district superintendents, hospital leaders and human resource departments, and local governments and emergency managements to coordinate care and feeding programs in a safe environment during this uncertain time.
“We appreciate the round-the-clock work our schools are doing to ensure all students in the district receive meals during the school closures and that they have the tools necessary to successfully participate in distance learning,” said Mary Swingle, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota. “We know we couldn’t provide this childcare service without the strong relationship with our schools.”
Schools are providing lunch for Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota, and beginning March 30, the Club will provide grab-and-go evening snacks and dinners to ensure youth have dinner seven nights a week.
Boys & Girls Clubs are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments to ensure a safe and healthy environment for youth. Temperature and respiratory checks are completed upon check-in and programming is administered in groups of 10. Club staff are teaching and practicing social distancing and handwashing as well as sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces.
Holly has two family members who live nearby but also work and could not lend a hand for childcare. Without the Club, Holly said she would have considered taking time off from her job.
“I want to be able to provide assistance as a nurse during this time,” Holly said. “But I don’t want the kids to feel extra stress. I talk to them about what we can do to keep ourselves safe and others safe.”