BGC makes changes in programming to align with new pandemic rules

By William McGinn

BGC Kawarthas recently suspended several programs to align with the Ministry of Education’s announcement that school will be moving to online learning for students until at least Jan. 17. The programs were before and after school and full day programs, in-person school programs, and Youth Warehouse and indoor sports programs.

However, Amy Terrill, executive director of BGS, was able to confirm with the Ministry of Education they will have 15 spaces for emergency child care starting Monday, with the potential for more in the future. She also notes there is a long list of programs that are still operating and switching to virtual during the Omicron surge.

The City of Kawartha Lakes has released a statement saying the province has established a list of essential health care and frontline professions who will be eligible for no-cost emergency child care for school-aged children during this period, as of Jan. 10, and due to the limited number of spaces available, the applicants of these frontline workers will be prioritized for child care.

These include healthcare staff providing in-person care, first responders, workers in the manufacturing of PPE, vaccines, and other medical technologies and supplies, and child care staff. Additional health care workers who qualify under the provincially approved eligibility list will be considered afterward, and a waitlist will begin when all spaces are filled.

Some programs already began virtually last week while others will begin virtually soon, such as  Queer Youth Kawartha Lakes, and songwriting for the club’s music makers. The next few weeks in the Youth Centre are expected, according to Terrill, to be a virtual version of a weekly schedule, which includes art, music, wellness and games. Playing pool, shooting hoops and rock climbing are not in the picture but alternatives will be implemented.

BGC also has two programs Terrill says are not very well-known, which they have kept going — Support Services and Infant & Child Development, which are “mental-health related programs for our more vulnerable clients. We’re trying to do as much as we can with our possible programs to maintain that connection with the youth who rely on the club.”

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