Meeting the Mental and Physical Needs of the Young in COVID-19 Times

Safety First at the Change Center. Photo submitted

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — Under the watchful eye of Director Nicole Chandler, the Change Center reopened its doors on June 5th to skating in the inner city.

Dr. Nicole Chandler, Director of the Change Center, greets the children as they arrive.
Photo by Vivian Shipe

Working under the guidelines of the city for Phase Two reopening of venues, the top of the line roller rink opened with 50 skaters allowed on the floor at a time, all must wear masks, and the skating sessions last two hours at a time, allowing for cleaning and sanitizing. 

When asked about the decision to reopen and the safety measures put in place,  Director Dr. Nicole Chandler shared the following:

We are so excited to have re-opened on June  5th! We missed having guests skating, but most of all we missed seeing the young people, our teen staff, and the banter of music, noise and laughter! Now more than ever is a critical time to have safe space for a positive outlet for our young people.

Safety First at the Change Center. Photo submitted

We deeply value the health and well being of our community, staff, guests, and families and we have taken several precautions to help ensure the Change Center remains a safe place. Through grant funds from East TN Foundation Neighbor to Neighbor Disaster Relief Fund, the Change Center is a Certified MicroShield360 location. MicroShield360 is an EPA Registered and FDA approved coating system that prevents bacteria, viruses, and mold from living on surfaces and reduces contamination. K & W Cleaning Services, LLC provided this service. Required cloth masks were purchased from  and designed by Marc/Nelson Denim to provide to guests at no cost. Additional protocols include temperature screening, physical distancing, restricted skate session times and number of guests, encouraging frequent hand washing, hand sanitizing stations throughout the facility,  informative signage posted in the building, and additional sanitizing protocols. 

“While we are all adjusting to a new normal amid this pandemic, the Change Center continues to be an avenue of support in our community and a refuge for our young people and we are glad to welcome them back!” said Dr. Nicole Chandler.

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