HLENA — Montana summer camp programs are asking for guidance from the State Coronavirus Task Force, and assistance through funds allocated to the state by the CARES Act.
19 nonprofit organizations from across the state sent a letter this week to Governor Bullock and the Coronavirus Task Force expressing their desire to continue with planned programs, as long as they can ensure the safety of kids, families and staff.
“Ideally we’re hoping that we can offer face to face programming, but that all depends on cases of COVID-19 not only here in the state but also nationally,” said Ryan Hannahoe, executive director of Montana Learning Center. “It’s vitally important that we take care of the safety of not only the kids that we serve but also the communities and our staff, and we want to do the best job that we can when we do it. “
Requests include clear, yet flexible, science-based guidance on protocols that should be adopted for cleaning and screening and staged reopening.
They are also seeking funding to help programs with the cost of new disinfecting and hygiene standards, recuperating cancellation fees of campers or venues and help with hazard pay and health insurance coverage for staff.
The letter also asks for changes in workers compensation eligibility guidelines so that staff members who contract the virus at work qualify for workers compensation benefits.
The Governor’s Office has be actively requesting feedback from Montana organization affected by COVID-19, and provide this response to the letter:
“Ensuring that CARES Act funds are distributed where they are needed most to help businesses and organizations reopen while protecting the health and safety of those they serve has been a top priority for Governor Bullock, and it’s exactly why he requested this type of feedback from all types of industries and businesses in Montana.
The Governor’s Office is reviewing the guidelines provided to Montana in how the CARES Act funding must be used and his Coronavirus Relief Fund Task Force will consider all needs submitted by Montanans, including the letter from youth camps.
Additionally, local county public health offices and DPHHS will be providing guidance to businesses and can answer questions related to public health protocols.”