How Bartow County Parks and Rec Department Is Dealing With COVID


Kea Finton, Writer

So far, Bartow County Parks and rec department is doing everything in their power to keep the kids and staff safe. As of right now, the parks and rec department has not had to report any cases of COVID. They have closed off the bleachers to try and minimize the amount of contact between different people. The workers check temperatures before you are allowed to enter any of the gym practices. Most of the staff wear a mask to try and keep everyone safe, and they have added a plastic divider in the main office to try and keep the area as clean as possible. The maintenance staff has also increased the cleaning and sanitization of all of the restrooms and equipment. The parks and rec department has also increased the amount of management surveying the grounds during practices and games, to make sure that people are social distancing to the best of their abilities. They still allow community members to have their birthday parties, but they limit the number of people allowed to be under one pavilion. Even with their summer camp, they tried their best to keep the kids separated. They would let them watch movies spread out and play games outside but try to keep them in different classrooms to limit their exposure to each other. Gwen, a long time parks worker, had this to say, “These kids deserve a good time. Sometimes sports are the only way to get a kid out of their shell.” The Parks Department is still doing movie nights on Fridays but made sure that they were outside for less of a risk. They are also keeping up with their pickleball. Only a few people are allowed in the gym and on the court at one time, but they are still allowed to have it. They are trying to make sure everyone has a great time while keeping everyone safe at the same time. Dennis Knowles says, “Wearing a mask is the least I can do to try and keep others safe.” Coach Jones piggybacked on this by saying, “This is the new normal for now. I wear a mask to keep people safe. I only wish everyone else would wear a mask as well.” As I observed the staff, I noticed that most of them, especially the younger people, would tend to only wear a mask if lots of people were around. Madison Shepard said, “I wear a mask to keep my family safe. I usually forget unless I see a large gathering of people around.” Occasionally some of the staff will refuse to do something because they feel as though the risk of COVID is too big. For instance, one worker refused to be in an enclosed space because he knew the other people would not wear a mask. COVID has affected many parts of life, but thankfully so far, the parks and rec department have able to keep its community safe and happy.