GARDINER — The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kennebec Valley is expected to reopen Monday, two weeks after a single COVID-19 case caused the club’s Gardiner building to close.

Ingrid Stanchfield, executive director, said the decision to close the club — which provides both daycare and supervision for children on school district remote learning days — came because with six staff members among the group that needed to be quarantined, the center could not operate.

In addition to staff, 38 children and eight students were also required to quarantine.

Stanchfield said the state Center for Disease Control & Prevention advised closing for 14 days after the single case was reported on Nov. 30.

This is the first instance of COVID-19 at the Gardiner facility since it reopened at the end of March to provide childcare for essential workers after a two-week shutdown.

Because of the closure, families that send their children to the club had to make other arrangements.


Janelynn Deprey, a nursing supervisor of the float pool at MaineGeneral, drafted family and friends into service with last-minute phone calls to provide childcare for her three children, ages 6, 3 and 4 months. She also works per diem in the hospital’s emergency department, but she’s not doing that now because she’s being treated for breast cancer in Boston.

“Not having daycare over the past two weeks has been trying for everyone,” Deprey said, adding that parents generally have backup daycare plans.

The anxiety of the ongoing pandemic, coupled with the anxiety of not knowing from day to day where her children would be, has been tough, she said, when an important consistent element for her children for the past 34 weeks has been the Boys & Girls Club.

Deprey, who lives in South Gardiner, said she also took some time off work to bridge the childcare gap.

Her association with the Boys & Girls Clubs goes back to her childhood, when for several summers she attended the summer camp.

When Deprey had her children, they were on the waiting list for child care for a year before getting the call two years ago that they could enroll.


When the pandemic was first declared, Deprey said she called Stanchfield to ask what she could do, as a nurse, to help. She volunteered to come for two hours every morning to screen temperatures of arriving children and to show the club was a safe place for parents to bring their children.

“We made it 34 weeks without a positive case, which I think is amazing,” Deprey said. “The kids are screened every day as they come in to make sure they are healthy.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs occupies the former Pray Street School in Gardiner. The former elementary school, which the club has operated out of for nearly two decades, was built in the 1950s. The building’s layout, with access to rooms off a central hallway, also contributed to the decision to close the club for two weeks.

Stanchfield said the child with the COVID-19 diagnosis had a cough and a slight fever but few other symptoms.

“We haven’t heard from parents about any more children being sick,” she said.

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