The Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club was closed Thursday after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The club will remain closed until Aug. 18.
Executive Director Neal Clark said the decision was made shortly after hearing of the COVID test result on Wednesday.
“We closed down the Boys and Girls Club for precautionary reasons,” he said. “Our biggest goal is always safety first for our kids, our parents and our community along with our staff.”
Clark said recent news of increases in COVID-19 cases led to a swift decision to close the building.
“I just didn’t want the Boys and Girls Club to become a breeding ground for such incidents,” he said. “I made the decision along with advisement from someone on our board who is in the medical profession, based on the facts that we have in our community.
“…The exposure did not happen on our site at all. There was an exposure to COVID through a couple of staff members, but none of them was Boys and Girls Club affiliated.”
Clark said because they had seen a number of sicknesses recently from children and staff members, he asked staff members to get tested for COVID-19.
“When one came back positive, I wanted to make sure that we went through the building and shut everything down and did our contact tracing,” he said. “I wanted to do that for the next two days, but the reality is that next week is our last week anyway (until Paducah schools reopen).
“…What I decided to do was…take a step forward — even though it’s a tough decision to make — let me do the right thing to protect our kids. We can start off the school year and open right back up in 2½ to three weeks when school starts up. We can roll with our after-school programs and we don’t have those issues if we had stayed open another week.”
Terrance Adams, the chairman of the Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club board, confirmed the line of events.
“(Staff members) called in and said that they were having symptoms,” he said. “They got tested, and the test came back positive (for one). I think there were a couple of employees at the time that were out with some type of symptoms, and their results actually came back negative.
“At that time, we decided that it was probably a good time to make sure that we didn’t pass on the spread of COVID and try to mitigate any potential spread by going ahead and closing the club.”
Adams said only 41% of McCracken Countians had been vaccinated, making it more urgent to close the club and sanitize it before students returned.
Clark said the plan is to open the club doors again when school is back in session for Paducah city schools, spending the off-time cleaning and sanitizing the club.
“That gives us a good 2½ weeks to properly prepare for our after-school programs, which we’re starting first thing (Aug. 18),” he said. “Those wanting to fill out a club application can go to our website or stop by the club and fill out an application.”
The Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club website is ocbg.club, and the club can be found at 2956 Park Ave.