School Board turns to BOCC for youth summer program protocols

summer camp
summer camp

While the Florida governor has deferred to parents to make decisions about sending their kids to summer youth camps and activities, local municipalities have taken the lead on making adjustments required by the CDC.

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners discussed local camps and sports programs on May 26th during its regular meeting.

According to County Attorney Sylvia Torres those activities are regulated by the entity that operates them. If it’s an SBAC activity, they would follow the state guidelines. If the sports or youth program is run by the County or municipalities within Alachua County, the emergency order in place would provide the guidelines.

Torres told the BOCC that Gov. Ron DeSantis was “letting parents decide and local governments.

“If you do nothing,” Torres told the BOCC, CDC guidelines are at head level and “not specific in this area.”

That means wearing face coverings  in places where you can’t social distance, more than 10 people can’t gather in a group.

Torres said as a parent she received a robo call from the SBAC about summer activities stating that there were no activities to announce but they could be waiting for the BOCC order to clarify when summer programs would be allowed.

Schools can follow Governor’s order, Torres said and don’t need to go by BOCC rule.

BOCC Chair Robert Hutchinson suggested the BOCC address youth activities and “choose a route that provides some level of comfort for parents.

“If we do nothing, I think it would reduce the number of kids going to camp,” he said, “If we introduce standard, more may go.

Commissioner Mike Byerly said summer youth activities would be “incompatible with our masking requirements,” and that he wanted to hear from the School Board.

Alachua County Administrator for the Department of Health Paul Myers advised that, “Those who are vulnerable and compromised should not participate and those who live with someone who is vulnerable,” should also avoid public programs that could lead to the spread of COVID-19.

Commissioner Ken Cornell said, “Outside activities would be great, but if they can keep distance.”

Chair Hutchinson said he had discussed summer programs with Assistant County Manager Gina Peebles who shared the protocols put in place such as focus on skill development, keeping interaction contactless, not mixing groups, no tournaments, sanitizing equipment, maintaining a safe ratio of teams per field and limiting groups to 10 or less.

Commissioners plan to discuss the details of hosting safe summer programs in Alachua County on Friday during a joint meeting with the City of Gainesville Commission.

County Manager Michele Lieberman reminded the BOCC that sports and recreation programs that are contactless are already running in Jonesville.

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