Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area Uses Innovative Technology to Keep Their Doors Open During COVID

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area Uses Innovative Technology to Keep Their Doors Open During COVID

01/18/22—The COVID-19 pandemic has not diminished the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area’s efforts to support kids, families, and communities – from meal assistance and opening doors to the children of essential workers to mentorship programs and mental health services.

To help keep children safe while keeping their doors open, the Boys & Girls Clubs initiated several protocols to help prevent and minimize the spread of COVID-19, including temperature checks, health screenings, small group activities, masking, handwashing, and a rigid sanitizing regimen.

Electronic contact tracing is another safety protocol implemented by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area. “When the school bell rings, and young people are not able to attend a Club, they are left to return to their homes or neighborhoods, unguided, unsupervised, and many of them are unsafe. Clubs serve as the safe, engaging, and fun experience for youth after school and during the summer,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area CEO, Misti Potter. “When schools are closed, Boys & Girls Clubs are open to ensure our young people have access to opportunities and that we fill the gaps of inequity that face many of our members. The AlertTrace electronic contact tracing system ensures that we can keep our doors open.”

AlertTrace, by VOS Systems, is designed to give organizations the data-driven support they need to remain open while prioritizing health and safety. Electronic contact tracing means 99% less time is required to identify close contacts of positive cases, keeping unaffected staff and children in the Club programs. “Before AlertTrace, we would have to rely on the youth to remember who all they had come in contact with up to three days prior to the positive reporting,” said Ms. Potter. “Before we learned about the benefits of AlertTrace, we had a youth exposure reported in one of our clubs. As a result, and due to the size of our organization, we had to shut down the entire facility and send all of our members and staff home because we

could not pinpoint exactly who the COVID positive youth had come in contact with. Now, with AlertTrace, we are confident in our degree of accuracy regarding who people have been near for more than 15 minutes and within 3 feet of one another. We no longer have to close an entire facility due to a positive exposure or COVID case being reported.“

Paul Turner, the Boys and Girls Club Director for the at Home Club, has been on the front lines of keeping children safe during the pandemic. One heartbreaking job for him has been to inform parents of Club closures due to COVID infections. “The closures were necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but the closures also hindered the services to our youth. It was truly upsetting to turn families away for extended periods of time,” said Mr. Turner. “A family that we served needed our program due to the mother’s hectic work schedule. When I gave the family the news that we were closing, I recall seeing her face sink as she tried to figure out a way to care for her child and go to work.” As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published recently: “Identifying contacts and ensuring they do not interact with others is critical to protect communities from further spread. Technology partners are key in modifying existing systems and developing new user-friendly data interfaces to manage multiple data streams with seamless interoperability.”

“County health departments are giving up on manual contact tracing because it is too difficult to do by hand,” says AlertTrace President James Davis. “But using the electronic contact tracing solution, AlertTrace, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area can contact trace in minutes instead of days or even weeks using the manual method utilized by so many county health agencies. We are proud to work with the Boys & Girls Clubs in their efforts to mitigate the spread of infection while they serve the community.”

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About VOS Systems, LLC

AlertTrace optimizes the adherence to social distancing guidelines and provides unintrusive and private electronic contact tracing. VOS Systems, LLC – the company behind AlertTrace – has been enabling companies and organizations of all sizes to make data-driven decisions to increase the health and safety of their communities and keep their businesses open safely. Learn more about VOS Systems at vosiq.com or contact James Davis at (855) 924-4402 for more information.

About the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area (BGCAA) is Austin’s leading out-of-school time youth development agency, currently serving almost 7,000 registered members ages 6 to 18 at 21 locations in Travis and Bastrop Counties, including the Home Club on the Sheth Family Campus. BGCAA’s formula for impact centers on quality programming and services in academic success, character and leadership, and healthy living. Club youth participate in high-impact development programs that, when compared with non-Club youth, result in better school attendance, better grades, higher graduation rates and a better likelihood of attending college. Through support from local individuals, businesses and BGCAA staff, Club youth are given the tools and opportunities to create great futures. Learn more at www.bgcaustin.org.