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Centralia Parks restarting Kids’ Club

Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 6:04 am

The Centralia Parks Department plans to revive its Kid’s Club Program in time for the start of the Centralia R-VI School year.

If all goes according to plan, August 24, those children of Centralia Recreation Center members or those whose parents pre-enrolled them will be able to transition from their classrooms to activities at the Center, along with the Park Department’s East Annex and Centralia Intermediate School.

Parks Director Erle Bennett uses a new cleaning device to disinfect recreation center equipment.

Erle Bennett, parks director, said though they will be operating under a stringent plan devised under the painstaking scrutiny of the Columbia/Boone County Health and Senior Services Department, program fans will still see:

• fun activities that will include supervised social distancing for the children

• Staff avoiding children piling up in the recreation center lobby when paying or signing in, “That is not going to happen,” Bennett said.

He also said no children from Chance Elementary School would be accepted.

Bennet said Kids Club staff plans to work with the same stable group model used by the Centralia R-VI School District during summer school,  where children would be with the same groups every time they attend Kids Club activities. The plan is to try and mirror the same group memberships whenever possible.

There is a health-based reason for that, he said.

“We need to keep track of who was around who, in case somebody gets sick,” he said in reference to be contact tracing in case of a child contracting Coronavirus.

Kids Club attendance during the 2010-20 school year averaged between 65 and 85 children a day, Bennett

Precautions included hanging plastic drapes between exercise equipment.


Given the six-foot, social distancing recommendation from the CDC and county health, Bennett said it could be necessary to use more than one building for the program, but even with the availability of Centralia Intermediate School’s gymnatoriaum, there could be a limit to the number of children admitted to the program based on the availability of park staff and the budget to pay them.

Regarding CIS ,” R-VI Superintendent Steven Chancellor confirmed the district’s participation.

“If he needs some extra spaces for Kids Club, we want to help out.”

Safety is the primary concern, Bennett said, regarding the work that went into planning the pandemic-cognizant version of the program.

“We are working to make the Kids Club program as safe as we can make it for the children and our workers,” Bennett said. Part of that, he said, involves built-in flexibility to change the program as needed to adapt to realities imposed by Coronavirus conditions as well as changes in county health recommendations.

To mitigate some of the necessities imposed by social distancing requirements, Bennett said procedures are in place:

• take advantage of outdoor activities whenever possible

• When inside, use multiple locations to keep the groups of children apart “we are going to use as much of the building as possible,” Bennett said.

• Place a limit, not yet decided, on the number of children that can participate in the program.

Stipulations already in place, include: