“We understand these are uncertain times and many families are worried how they are going to balance work and follow the vital school curriculum at home,” YMCA President and CEO Stephen Ives said in the release. “We have been helping parents since the start of the pandemic by providing child care for essential workers so they could return to work. As a helping hand and community partner, we want to continue assisting families in their virtual learning to help keep students on track for the school year and provide some relief to parents. We believe it is important for all children to have access to necessary resources and aid during this time.”
The Y Learning Center will be open from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. with aftercare available until 6 p.m., according to the release, and will provide a structured schedule with certified teachers that will work directly with campus teachers and parents. The program will maintain a 1:9 staff-to-child ratio, and staff on-site will be trained to help students with various learning platforms in use for local districts, including Schoology, Teams, SeeSaw, Canvas and Google Classroom.
According to the release, students will also receive on-site academic support in a small group setting. However, students are encouraged to bring their own technology to use, as technology is limited at each site.
Locations offering Y Learning Centers include: the Lake Houston Family YMCA, D. Bradley McWilliams YMCA at Cypress Creek, Weekley Family YMCA, Trotter Family YMCA, MD Anderson Family YMCA, Alief Family YMCA, Houston Texans YMCA, The Woodlands YMCA at Shadowbend, Baytown at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Mark A. Chapman YMCA, and Fort Bend Family YMCA.
Parents can select from a half-day academic session, a half-day enrichment session and an all-day program. Each three-hour session is also separated by a lunch break, with lunch and afternoon snacks provided by the Houston Food Bank; children may also bring their own lunch and snacks.
To comply with health and safety protocols, staff and children age 10 and older must wear masks. Each group of children will meet with the same staff each day in the same separate area, according to the release.
Attendees will also have scheduled hand washing times and access to hand sanitizer, according to the release.
Registration is open here for the virtual learning center program, and families can register for as many days as needed. According to the release, program expenses include a $35 one-time registration fee per child; half-day sessions ranging from $20-$25 daily; aftercare totaling an additional $15 per child per day; and the full-day program from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. totaling $60 per child per day. Financial assistance is available.