Usually when students are out of school, many spend time at the Boys and Girls Club. The nonprofit program has been helping children and communities for years, offering educational and inspirational recreation for kids after school or on holidays. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, when schools are closed indefinitely, the clubs are, too.
Mike Jones, director of the Statesboro Boys and Girls Club, is just as much affected by the uncertainty as anyone. He knows parents who are still working need the services the B&GC offers, and realizes the youth need the interaction as well. However, his hands are tied – until the stay-at home order due to the coronavirus is lifted, the club’s doors remain closed.
“These are very uncertain times,” he told the Statesboro Herald Thursday. “We are trying to figure out what we can do safely.”
The majority of the staff at Boys and Girls Club of Statesboro are “college students who have gone home” during the quarantine, he said. He and the other few members of administration are spending time planning for when the club can reopen.
“How long will this last? This is a very different time. Usually we are prepared to open in a crisis, but this is a very different crisis,” he said. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shut-down of all social and interactive programs is “not something that you could pre-plan for.”
There are no online programs in place for students in the meantime. “These are uncharted waters,” Jones said. “We have never been in this position, unable to respond.”
And when things do resume to normal routines, the impact of the virus is yet unknown. The financial aspect could leave the club without adequate funding.
“This (pandemic) could be like the banking crisis in 2008,” he said. “Every business and family will feel the financial impact.”
Again, the current situation leaves him – and many others – at a loss. “This is the time a demand for our services would increase” but due to the nature of the emergency, response is impossible, he said.
Jones said he hopes the local and state economy can continue to support the nonprofit agency when the quarantine is lifted.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.