Many school districts are delaying in-person instruction and starting the year remotely. That can present challenges for parents who work during the day and can’t be there to assist with their child’s virtual learning.
That means many will have to seek out child care options, and those providers are advertising that they can not only provide outdoor activities and crafts, but also help with remote learning.
Kishwaukee Family YMCA workers will double as “e-learning assistants” during the start of this school year. Their new “Supplemental School Age Care” program features physical activities for kindergarten through 6th-grade students, but also remote learning assistance.
“I think we'll have two staff to a group,” said Jen Lucchesi, Child Care Coordinator at the YMCA. “So, we won't be able to do it on an individual basis, but they will be able to go, because we have such small groups this year, student to student as needed and help them to the best of their ability."
Lucchesi said the program keeps groups to under 10 students. Masks are mandatory for indoor activities where social distancing isn’t possible. She said kids may be able to take them off outside if they’re more than six feet away from others, or even inside in some cases.
Cami Loving is the Y's Program Operations Director.
“They'll be able to see other people and talk to other people," she said. "But the groups need to actually be within their own groups. So they'll have that connection, they'll have the ability to intermingle with their peers.”
Parents of young students doing remote learning may have to rely on child care programs, but it can be expensive. Illinois recently expanded child care assistance eligibility.
Full-time daily options at the YMCA are between $37-40, along with other weekly packages and half-day plans for Sycamore residents.
DeKalb School District co-superintendent Griff Powell said the district is working with providers including the YMCA and Growing Place. He said the district will also be housing some programs in its buildings.