Updates on COVID-19

Oct. 4, 2021,

As we continue to provide services and programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, BGC Okanagan does so with the safety of our Club families, staff and communities as the top priority.

We ask you to please review, and speak with your child about, the updated (as of Oct. 1, 2021) health guidelines that BGC Okanagan Clubs adhere to regarding school age children and youth from the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 are required to wear non-medical masks or face coverings when they are on a bus, this includes transportation while utilizing all BGC Okanagan vehicles.

All Club members in Kindergarten to Grade 12 are required to wear a mask indoors at our service locations and while accessing our programs. Club members may wear a face shield in addition, but must wear a mask under the face shield. Club members with disabilities/diverse abilities in Kindergarten to Grade 12 are also required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering when participating in our services and programs indoors and a barrier is not present.

We understand the challenges this can present to our Club members. Our staff utilize positive and inclusive approaches to engage students in the use of masks including; gentle reminders of the mask expectations throughout the day, providing opportunities to learn and practice respecting personal space and encouraging Club members to kindly support one another.

If you have questions regarding this, or need support with your child regarding mask usage, please contact us.

April 20, 2021,

The health and safety of children, families and staff is the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Okanagan’s top priority. 

You will notice additional precautions have been put in place to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at all of our Club locations.   We are thankful for your patience during this uncertain time and we appreciate your willingness to work alongside of us.

BGCO COVID-19 protocols have been developed in conjunction with recommendations made by the BC Center for Disease Control, Work Safe BC, the BC Ministry of Health and Education and Interior Health Authority.  Provincial information and resources related to COVID‑19 is available at gov.bc.ca/covid19 or by calling 1-888-COVID19.

Below are the additional measures and responsibilities we all need to adopt to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and maintain safe and healthy environments for children and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It identifies key infection prevention and control practices to implement in BGCO Club settings and actions we will take if a child or staff member develops symptoms of COVID-19.

Outdoor Spaces

  • Children will be encouraged to be outside often and activities will continue to be organized in a thoughtful way.
  • We will reassure children and encourage appropriate hand hygiene practices before, during, and after outdoor
  • Hand sanitizer will be available for children after use of playground structures.
  • Play equipment will be cleaned after each use. 

Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Regular cleaning and disinfection are essential to preventing the transmission of COVID-19 from contaminated objects and surfaces. Our settings will be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the BCCDC’s Cleaning and Disinfectants for Public Settings
  • General cleaning and disinfecting of the centre will occur at least twice a day during full day programs and at end of day at a minimum.
  • Frequently-touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected at least four times a day, mid-morning, after lunch, mid-day and end of day. These include door knobs, light switches, faucet handles, table counters, chairs, electronic devices, and toys.
  • Visibly dirty surfaces will be cleaned immediately.
  • Commercially available detergents and disinfectant products will be used.
  • We have removed toys and other items that cannot be easily cleaned (I.e. plush/stuffed toys).
  • Agency vehicles will be cleaned daily.

Physical Distancing, Masks and Minimizing Physical Contact

  • The physical space requirements for licensed child care settings set out in the Child Care Licensing Regulations ensures that child care centres have sufficient space to support physical distancing between staff and children without reducing the number of children in our care.  Space requirements and ratios are similar in Recreation Programs
  • Children in grades 4 and up will be required to wear masks when physical distancing is not available.
  • Staff will wear facemasks when physical distancing is not available.
  • Staff will minimize the frequency of direct physical contact with children and encourage children to minimize physical contact with each Different expectations based on age and/or developmental readiness.

Where possible:

  • We will avoid close greetings (e.g., hugs, handshakes) and regularly remind children to keep “Hands to yourself”.
  • We will strive to minimize the number of different staff that interact with the same children throughout the day. 
  • We will organize children into smaller groups and/or spread children out to minimize direct physical
  • We will incorporate more individual activities or activities that encourage more space between children and staff.
  • Based on number of children in a program, snack or meal time will be staggered to allow spacing between children during meals.


Buses or vans used for transporting children will be cleaned and disinfected according to the guidance provided in the BCCDC’s Cleaning and Disinfectants for Public Settings document. Outtrips into the community require an approval from Service Stream Managers.

  • When riding in BGCO vehicles, children and staff will be required to wear masks where physical distancing is not possible unless the child can’t tolerate it.  Parents will be required to provide face masks for their children.
  • Wherever safely possible children and staff will meet at a meeting point outside until all participants arrive. Once all the children have arrived, as a group they will enter the bus together, this will reduce the length of time children are sitting in the confined space. If waiting outside the bus is not an option (ie. loading in a busy parking lot) children may enter the bus one by one as they arrive.
  • Prior to loading onto the BGCO staff will administer hand sanitizer to all children
  • Children will load onto the BGCO vehicles from back to front, one child at a time and unloaded from the bus front to back one child at a time.
  • If space is available, each child should have their own seat unless sharing with a sibling, or classmate
  • After each use OBGC vehicles will be sanitized on all touch spots (seat belt clasps, steering wheel, doors, seat etc). If using the vehicle for multiple pickups, vehicles will be sanitized in between uses.
  • Staff will ensure that when multiple buses arrive at the club, arrival times are staggered as much as possible to prevent crowding.
  • When vehicles are used for outtrips, or ‘to and from’ a location, children will be required to sit in the same seats on the way to and from the outtrip.

Parent drop off and pick up

  • Pick-up and drop-off of children will occur outside the Club, Classroom or Program Space.
  • Upon arrival at our clubs, parents/caregivers will follow the physical distancing measures set up outside our buildings to ensure that families maintain at least 6ft or 2m apart.
  • Parents will call or text the phone number on the door and staff will come to assist.
  • Daily Health Screen questionnaire will be conducted verbally by staff asking parents and caregivers if everyone is healthy to confirm that their child or family members do not have symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID-19, or other respiratory This will be documented on the sign in and out sheet.
  • Staff are responsible to sign your child in and out of the program.
  • Children will sanitize their hands upon arrival and departure.

Please allow yourself extra time to accommodate these procedures.  

Daily Checks for Respiratory Illness and Staying Home When Sick

  • All parents, caregivers and children who have symptoms of COVID-19 OR who have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days OR who have been identified by Public Health as a close contact of a confirmed case must stay home and self-isolate.
  • Parents and caregivers must assess their child daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID-19, or other infectious respiratory disease before sending them to
  • Children who are ill should not
  • Staff will assess themselves daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, or COVID-19 prior to working and stay home if they are
  • Should children or staff have symptoms similar to the common cold, influenza or COVID-19, they must stay home until COVID-19 test returns back negative.  As directed by Public Health, self-isolation may also be required for those who are considered a close contact of a confirmed case and are waiting to see if they develop COVID- 19 symptoms.
  • If a child becomes sick while at the facility, they will be quarantined immediately with a staff, who will utilize a mask and gloves and stay until the child is picked up. The area will be thoroughly sanitized and cleaned. 
  • If a parent or caregiver is unsure if they or a child should self-isolate, they should use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool, or contact 8-1-1. They can also contact a family physician or nurse practitioner to be assessed for COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases.

Hand washing is the single most effective way to reduce the spread of illness. Everyone should practice diligent hand hygiene.

Children will be directed to:

  • Cough or sneeze into their elbow sleeve or a Throw away used tissues and immediately perform hand hygiene (“Cover your coughs”).
  • Not touch their eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands (“Hands below your shoulders”).


  • Children will not share food, drinks, water bottles, and other personal
  • Label personal items with the child’s name to discourage accidental
  • Sport activities will follow all COVID-19 Provincial Return to Sport Guidelines

We are dedicated to creating an environment that is welcoming and supportive while ensuring the continued health and safety of our participants and staff.  Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email at info@bgco.ca or by phone 250- 826-3591. Phones will be answered Monday-Friday from 9am – 5pm.

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Okanagan

May 6th, 2020,

As some of you may already know, BC has released plans on how we can expect the Province to be reopening post-COVID-19. Most, if not all of these plans are conditional meaning that if there is to be a spike in COVID-19 cases the province will adjust accordingly. Rather than relaying all the information to you, take a look at the BC Restart Plan which outlines how the Province is expecting to re-introduce things back into normal everyday life. As an organization, we hope that we can return to normal programming as soon as it is safely possible, but in the mean-time, we ask our families to stay safe and be patient.

If you would like to help families who have been impacted by COVID-19 visit our How Can I Help page to get more info!

If you have questions about COVID-19 you can reach us at our info line or by emailing info@bgco.ca or giving us a call at 250- 826-3591. Phones will be answered Monday-Friday from 9am – 5pm

April 29th, 2020,

BC is planning to re-open and announcements will be made next week. In the meantime, Premier John Horgan announced BC has extended its state of emergency another 14 days as the number of cases of the novel coronavirus continues to increase. “It’ll be different in British Columbia, because unlike other provinces, we resisted the call for a full lockdown of our economy and instead, adopted a different approach, said Horgan. The approach in British Columbia was to focus on how could we keep sectors operating safely, rather than shutting them down until such time as we could open them up again.”

Horgan said as sectors open up, the province is looking to industry for input on best operation practices and noted that both consumers and workers need to feel confident and safe to go back to regular life again.

“In order for that to happen, we need to have a plan and we need to have full buy-in from all British Columbians,” said Horgan, who described B.C.’s approach as being “slow and methodical.”

Horgan said B.C. is the “envy of the country” right now, and he emphasized that residents have put others’ interests before their own during the pandemic, which he said must continue as the economy reopens.

If you would like to help families who have been impacted by COVID-19 visit our How Can I Help page to get more info!

If you have questions about COVID-19 you can reach us at our info line or by emailing info@bgco.ca or giving us a call at 250- 826-3591. Phones will be answered Monday-Friday from 9am – 5pm

Essential Service Workers can fill out their child care application form here!

April 15th, 2020,

British Columbia’s health officials and health care workers are continuing to maintain a high level and the numbers are there to prove it. More and more people are recovering from COVID-19 and that is fantastic news, although this doesn’t mean that it is all over. “It’s important for us to be patient and to be kind to each other. It is going to be some weeks before we can let up even a little bit, and I know that is very challenging for some people,” states provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. 

Although we are doing a great job to slowly stop the spread of the virus, this doesn’t mean we can let up. Continue to practice social distancing, washing your hands, and do the best to support one another as best you can. What we do today and what we do everyday matters to reach our goal and stop the virus. Our communities will get through this, but it rely’s on each and every one of our individual efforts.

If you would like to help families who have been impacted by COVID-19 visit our How Can I Help page to get more info!

If you have questions about COVID-19 you can reach us at our info line or by emailing info@bgco.ca or giving us a call at 250- 826-3591. Phones will be answered Monday-Friday from 9am – 5pm

Essential Service Workers can fill out their child care application form here!

April 8th, 2020,

First off we would like to congratulate the citizens of BC and our Health Officials for their amazing work on slowly flattening the curve, our efforts aren’t going unnoticed. With this being said, it is crucial that over this upcoming long-weekend we stay away from travel. We realize that everyone would like to travel and see their family during the Easter weekend but sometimes that is simply just not the smart decision. People can carry the virus without showing any serious symptoms and this can lead to individuals unknowingly infecting others. By working together we will get through this.

If you would like to help families who have been impacted by COVID-19 visit our How Can I Help page to get more info!

If you have questions about COVID-19 you can reach us at our info line or by emailing info@bgco.ca or giving us a call at 250- 826-3591. Phones will be answered Monday-Friday from 9am – 5pm

Essential Service Workers can fill out their child care application form here!

April 6th, 2020,

The Canadian Government has made its Canada Emergency Response Benefit applications live as of this morning. You can now apply if your birth month is either January, February, and March. By incrementally opening up applications, this will allow the Government to address the applications in a timely manner. If you have a later birth month, not to worry, they will be open soon.

In addition to their announcement on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Trudeau added that we must keep following the Social Distancing guidelines that have been put in place. They stress that these guidelines are not to be taken as suggestions, rather they should be interpreted as rules. Law enforcement throughout the country is cracking down on social distancing and is handing out fines if people are caught violating the measures set by our government and health officers. In the wise words of Dr. Bonnie Henry, “this is our time to be calm, be kind, and be safe”

If you would like to help families who have been impacted by COVID-19 visit our How Can I Help page to get more info!

If you have questions about COVID-19 you can reach us at our info line or by emailing info@bgco.ca or giving us a call at 250- 826-3591. Phones will be answered Monday-Friday from 9am – 5pm

Essential Service Workers can fill out their child care application form here!

April 2nd, 2020,

As we continue to monitor the situation we are pleased to announce that we are bringing back our Adopt-A-Family program for families who have been impacted financially by COVID-19. What has become apparent to us is the needs of youth and families who are being laid off, having to self-isolate or required to stay home for various reasons. This has obviously has created a financial strain on families who struggle during stable times as well as those who have never faced a situation like this. If you have the means and are wanting to help, we would like to offer these families gift cards, food and supplies while they wait for the financial support they may receive through government programs. If you are looking for a way to help, we are asking individuals and business to “Adopt a Family”. We are happy to provide you with more information on this program if you are interested by emailing rleckey@bgco.ca or checking out our How Can I Help page on our website.

If you have questions about COVID-19 you can reach us at our info line or by emailing info@bgco.ca or giving us a call at 250- 826-3591. Phones will be answered Monday-Friday from 9am – 5pm

Essential Service Workers can fill out their child care application form here!

March 31st, 2020,

When asked about a timeline for when physical distancing could come to an end, Dix and Henry emphasized that B.C. is in it for the long haul.

“[There is ] zero chance — none — that any of the orders will be varied by the end of April,” said Dix.

“I think we’re in this for a long time.”

Henry said the virus will have to be monitored until there is a vaccine, and that there will likely be a second wave in a few weeks time.

“I do think it’s more and more less likely that we’ll be able to get back to more normal daily life, which I miss a lot, before the summer,” she said.

“I haven’t given up hope entirely that we may get a reprieve in the summer … although how much of a reprieve is yet to be seen,” she said.

If you have questions about COVID-19 you can reach us at our info line or by emailing info@bgco.ca or giving us a call at 250- 826-3591. Phones will be answered Monday-Friday from 9am – 5pm

Essential Service Workers can fill out their child care application form here!

March 30th, 2020,

With a new week upon us, we continue to take each day step-by-step. After today’s update from our Health Officer this afternoon we were delighted to hear that more and more individuals are taking this virus seriously and choosing to self-isolate and social distance themselves from others, which has caused the curve to decrease in severity. This does not mean that we are in the clear, it just means we need to continue to follow the advice from our Health Officers and Government. Rather than thinking you need to protect yourself from the virus, think as if you have the virus and you need to protect others from yourself. This virus does not have the same effects on each individual which is why we desperately need to think of others at this time.

If you have questions about COVID-19 you can reach us at our info line or by emailing info@bgco.ca or giving us a call at 250- 826-3591. Phones will be answered Monday-Friday from 9am – 5pm

March 27th, 2020,

As the outbreak of covid-19 continues we realize that essential service workers (ESW) are put in a hard place with having to balance their family needs and their work responsibilities. We now have Essential Service Worker Child Care application forms on our website so that the ESW’s can have one less thing to worry about during this difficult time. 

Effective March 30th, all schoolbased pre-schools are closed indefinitely and after school programs are suspended until further notice. Please email info@bgco.ca for all inquiries regarding early and middle years programming, this email has been dedicated to covid-19 responses and we will be answering emails as fast as we can!

March 24th, 2020,

As we continue to monitor the situation alongside our government we encourage you to practice social distancing as much as you possibly can. As of now this is the only way to diminish the spread of the virus without going into full lockdown. We unfortunately don’t know how long the social distancing restrictions will be in place but one thing is for sure, and that is the choices that we make right now will effect the course of this outbreak. In an effort to reduce the amount of people interacting in groups all 81 City playground and all outside exercise facilities are closed – that includes tennis courts, Pickleball courts, basketball courts and other places where groups gather. In congruence with the Cities decisions we too have closed all playground on Boys & Girls Clubs property. This decision was made in an effort to protect our community and we hope you understand this decision.

While in isolation, we encourage you to read up on resources on our website that have been uploaded in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. From educational and mentally wellness series to simply having fun with your loved ones at home.

March 23rd, 2020,

First and foremost, we would like to extend a huge thank you to those in our community who are continuing to support the public by providing us with essential services, you are all amazing and we appreciate your efforts. With a new week upon us we are taking each day at a time as we continue to work in accordance with BC Health Officials and our Government. We understand that these are tough times and we want to be there as a support for children, youth, and families in our community. In addition to checking current updates from our Government, we encourage you to take a look at our postings on keeping up with your mental health and activities you and your family can do while in isolation. By practicing social distancing and compassion towards one another we will get through this together.

March 19th, 2020,

Message from the Armstrong Food Bank:

“Due to the necessary precautions to protect our community from COVID-19, we will be temporarily altering our hours of operation and switching to a no walk-in, appointment only policy. The Food Bank doors will be locked daily to adhere to this policy. Please make an appointment if you are in need of a food hamper, or would like to make a food donation (or use our non-perishable food bins at Askew’s or Valley First). If you would like to make a monetary donation, please call for an appointment as these donations are incredibly important during the increasing number of clients that are relying on us at this time. Our regular hours of Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 4:30pm and Friday 8:30am – Noon are still the best time to reach us. Call 250-546-3465 or email foodbank@bgco.ca and leave a message. We ask for your patience with call backs as we are experiencing a high call volume at the moment. Thank you for your continual support and we will get through this together.

March 18th, 2020,

We continue to monitor and pay close attention to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. Based on the decisions made by BC health officials, our facilities are closed for general public use but will continue to provide essential services to our registered children and youth. We have suspended all pre-schools, school-based, and regular group recreational programming, with the exception of the following programs:

  • Early Years Childcare
  • Middle Years Childcare
  • Modified Youth Drop-In at the Downtown Youth Centre and Teen Junction in Vernon
  • Youth Housing at Penny Lane and our Shelter
  • Counselling and support programs remain open, with staff providing support through phone, text, FaceTime, and Skype.
  • Modified services at the Armstrong Foodbank.

As British Columbia has announced that schools K-12 will be suspended indefinitely this is not the case for child care and essential services as per the messages from our Premier and Health Officials. Based on that decision we will be keeping our doors open for our essential services and ensuring we are doing everything in our power to keep our staff, children, youth, and families safe. This decision has been made in an effort to support families and the community through tough times. Not all families are fortunate enough to have others to lean on when it comes to child care and we want to be here for those individuals.

Please keep a close eye on our website and look for important updates that will be posted regarding our operations. We ask that you all think of others in this time and realize that there is a domino effect to our actions. Please self-evaluate day-to-day and stay home if you are feeling sick. Together we can get through this.

March 13th, 2020

We have been paying close attention to the global outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19.  Our focus is on the safety, health and wellbeing of children, youth and families attending our programs and services. Our decisions and safety practices continue to be guided by the most current and accurate information provided by Public Health Agency of Canada. At this time our programs and services remain open. School based programs are closed for the duration of spring break. We recognize this is a time of uncertainty and concern, especially for children and parents. Please check back for regular updates, as this is a fluid situation that continues to unfold. 


How do I protect myself and my family?

The most important thing you can do to prevent coronavirus and other illnesses is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. Cover your mouth when you cough so you’re not exposing other people. If you are sick, stay away from others and contact your health-care provider for guidance.

What do I do if my child has cold/flu symptoms?

Public Heath is recommending the public avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. We always recommend caring for your child at home if they are sick, including cold or flu like symptoms.  Staff will adhere to our usual practice and contact parents to care for their children at home when they are feeling ill.

What will happen in the event of closure?

We continue to focus on safe hygiene practices at our club locations. Guidance and recommendations outlined by Public Health are being followed by our staff team.  If we receive the recommendation to temporarily close a club or program, you will receive a call or email regarding the program closure. We will try to give as much notice as possible.  We will follow the recommendation of our local public health authority when it is safe to reopen. Please ensure you have provided us with up to date contact information so that we can contact you in a timely manner. 


See below for additional information, and links to professional websites regarding the outbreak.

Professional Sources

Share This