Sarasota summer program temporarily shut down after director tests positive for coronavirus

Sarasota County

SARASOTA COUNTY (WFLA) – Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota County has continued serving local youth and families, with safety being a top priority.

On Thursday, staff learned a director at the Lee Wetherington site on Fruitville Road tested positive for COVID-19. The club was immediately shut down and is currently undergoing a deep cleaning. It’s unclear when the facility will reopen.

The Lee Wetherington Boys and Girls Club was in the first session of its modified youth summer program. According to the club’s website, there were 90 openings at the Fruitville Road location for the first session of the 2020 Great Futures Academy Summer Program. The second session was scheduled to begin July 6.

There have been strict guidelines in place since the location opened back up to staff and children.

  • All staff and Club members are required to wear masks. If children arrive without a mask, the club provides one.
  • Club staff and Club members are the only people allowed inside the Club facilities.
  • BGC instituted a drive-up process for both drop-off and pick-up. Parents must remain in their cars at all times.
  • As soon as children and staff arrive, they must have their temperature checked. A temperature of 100.4F is not granted access to enter the facilities for 48 hours.
  • Hand sanitizer is easily accessible
  • Staff also schedule routine cleanings of program areas multiple times throughout the day as groups rotate throughout the Club.
  • Kids are assigned a group and a staff member for the full duration of the summer program — maintaining a 1:9 staff-to-child ratio per CDC guidelines at all times. Furthermore, members of the group must maintain a six ft. distance from one another per CDC social distancing guidelines. There is no intermingling with other groups.

Parents with children at the Lee Wetherington Club tell 8 On Your Side they appreciate the transparency and best efforts to keep kids and staff safe.

Director of Communications Sara Bealor sent 8 On Your Side this statement:

Safety is the number one priority of Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, and we are doing everything possible to keep children and staff protected from the COVID-19 virus. We are committed more than ever to continue serving local youth and families from providing academic enrichment programs, expanding services to support first responder families and offering virtual learning to keep kids and teens engaged and on-track for success.

In accordance with the health and safety protocols set forth by federal and local officials including the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health, we reopened our Clubs for our First Responder Program on April 8, and then launched our 2020 Great Futures Academy Summer Program on June 1. We restricted the number of participants in each session to provide the highest quality of program at the highest level of safety. The limit was determined based on the number of rooms inside the organization’s Club facilities and the social distancing recommendations of maintaining gatherings of no more than 10 people at 6 feet apart.

On June 25, 2020, we learned that a director at the Lee Wetherington site tested positive for COVID-19. Effective June 25, the Lee Wetherington site will temporarily close to prevent possible exposure to the virus. During this time, we will complete a thorough sanitization and deep cleaning of the facility to ensure that all kids and staff are safe when we reopen.

We are collaborating with the appropriate public health officials and adhering to CDC recommendations to privately inform anyone determined to have been in close contact with this employee. We are also in ongoing communication with this individual, who is following strict medical guidelines and will remain in quarantine as recommended by their doctor.

We continue to work with local public health officials and are taking all precautionary measures regarding deep cleaning and sanitizing of Club facilities to ensure the safety of members and staff. In the meantime, we are advising all our Club staff, families, and youth to continue to take precautions as recommended by the CDC.

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