<&firstgraph>This time last year, many of Kenyon-Wanamingo Community Education’s summer programs were well underway.
<&firstgraph>As with many activities and events, Community Ed summer programming like summer ball and other camps, may look a little different this year.
<&firstgraph>Interim Community Education Director Amy Belcher says while all the plans for summer are laid out, some things still up in the air, and whether they happen July 1 or not is another vital part of the equation.
<&firstgraph>Although plans are being made to meet the current guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic from the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and sports organizations to open July 1, childcare with Knights Kids and drivers education are currently the only two programs being provided. Plans will include how staff keep track of participants to make sure they know who a child was in contact with and how staff will be trained before they run any programs.
<&firstgraph>Some guidelines followed with Knights Kids are enforcing ratios of 1 to 9 meaning only nine children are allowed in one classroom, with social distancing measures taking place. Belcher says there are also a lot of protocols with intermingling, so children aren’t doing the same activities at the same time. If one group is outside, then the other group is inside working on another project. Normally children in Knights Kids would go to the library for STEM programming, but Belcher says that won’t happen this year since interaction is limited between groups of children.
<&firstgraph>Two sessions of driver’s education classes are being held this month via an online platform. Regulations for behind the wheel sessions are also being worked out. Belcher says behind the wheel is typically held one-on-one, so it could be possible to hold classes as usual with the added measure of the instructor wearing a mask.
<&firstgraph>Looking ahead to August, plans for in-person band lessons for incoming fifth-grade students and a summer band camp are also up in the air, as playing instruments project germs into the air and the uncertainty of the regulations at the time camps begin.
<&firstgraph>“The plans for the classes are laid out, but the regulations don’t come out super timely,” said Belcher. “The first thing we’d look at is T-ball, because we’d need to know if we need to have registration.”
<&firstgraph>Belcher says she’s also working on a facilities reopening plan which categorizes programs into different sections based on what the stipulations are. As of now, everything is limited to the one-to-nine ratios. In gyms, Belcher says there can be two groups of 10 as long as the curtain is drawn to separate the two groups. On a football field, there can be four groups of 10.
<&firstgraph>“We are hoping to have sporting camps, depending what the guidelines are at the time,” said Belcher. “If we can get to where we can share a ball between a group of 10 people, we can make that work.”
<&firstgraph>Pushing the start date of programs back a month, Belcher says, gives staff a little more time to ensure everything is in order. Summer ball would shift focus to a more skills-based program since games with other teams are not allowed. Enrichment programs for youth, such as painting and slime classes, could be held while maintaining social distancing in an outdoor setting.
<&firstgraph>There may also be an option for patrons uncomfortable with attending the in-person class to order a kit for painting classes, and follow along with the class online. Plans are also in the making for preschoolers in July and August. In July, there may be a summer outdoor nature sensory program planned for younger children, and in August, a “kindergarten here we come, for rising kindergartners” week-long camp for preschoolers who didn’t get an end to their year.
<&firstgraph>“We are doing our best to meet the needs of the community, but we also have to abide by the guidelines,” said Belcher. “The whole community needs [something to look forward to] right now, it’s just a matter of how do we do it safely.”