Education Week - September 16, 2020 - 6
By Christina A. Samuels
Hurricane Sandy nearly wiped
out the dance studio Carrie Daniels
founded 21 years ago. The coronavirus
pandemic threatened to do it again, as
worried families stayed away.
But the Take a Bow Performing Arts Center, in New York City's
Brooklyn borough, is remaking itself
this school year as a "remote learning help center." It will support up
to 15 students at a time as they work
through online lessons from their
schools in a safe and socially distanced way, Daniels said. When the
virtual school day is done, the center
will offer dance, drama, yoga, meditation, and other activities.
"You've got to make these kids feel
safe, you've got to let these parents
know they're safe," Daniels said.
Millions of students are enrolled
in school districts that are starting
the 2020-21 school year offering only
"hybrid" or fully remote classes. And
with months to plan this time around,
school districts have promised more
robust remote learning, with more
opportunities for teachers to interact
directly with students.
But a long day of remote learning
still leaves parents and caregivers juggling child care and work.
Enter programs like the YMCA and
the Boys and Girls Clubs, which have
long provided before- and after-care
at schools. They are now shifting to
offering socially distanced "learning
camps" during school hours all over
the country, using their own facilities
as well as community spaces.
Smaller family child-care providers
are offering such services as well. And
enterprising businesses that have not
typically provided full-day care during the school year, such as Daniels
with her dance studio, are seeing an
opportunity to help fill the child-care
gap as well.
It's not quite school, but it works for
parents looking for options, providers
say. But at the same time, it raises the
same questions of safety that have
driven the discussion around school
reopenings. If traditional face-to-face
instruction has been deemed too
risky for teachers and students, are
these newly formed care programs
That question has been particularly pointed for providers who
care for infants, toddlers, and small
children. Many of those small businesses have had to stay open to survive through the economic downturn. Running on thin profit margins
in the best of times, they've struggled to pay for all the safety changes
required of them, said Ashley C.
Williams, a senior policy analyst for
the Center for the Study of Child
Care Employment at the University
of California Berkeley.
And it's some of the same small preschools and day-care programs that
parents are turning to now to help care
for their school-age children.
"What is the difference between
an early educator and a teacher?"
Williams said. "Why is child care expected to carry or save the economy
as if early educators are any more immune to the coronavirus?"
But providers who normally offer
day camp and overnight camp programs say they have developed a safety
net of precautions that, when followed
diligently, can keep kids and camp employees safe while still providing the
social outlets that children need.
Those protections, outlined in a
field guide developed by the American Camp Association and the YMCA
of the USA, include mask wearing,
frequent hand washing, and keeping
children in small cohorts rather than
allowing them to mix freely in large
groups. Many remote learning support programs say they're adhering to
Guidelines for Safety
The camp providers who have followed the field guide "feel a comfort
in being able to run these programs
as well as they ran their day camps
this summer," said Tom Rosenberg,
Courtesy of Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston
New Players Fill
Child-Care Gap as
Schools Go Remote
A student works on schoolwork last month at the Wharton Dobson Club in Wharton, Texas, part of the Boys and Girls
Club of Greater Houston. For a small fee, the organization is offering a full-day program that provides students a safe
place to complete their remote learning classwork and socialize with friends.
middle and high schoolers.
Seeing how many district staff
members have stepped forward to
say they want to be part of the pod
program has been "a huge point of
pride," Walsh said.
Larger providers are also in the
mix. The Boys and Girls Clubs of
America has 1,300 sites, mostly in
urban areas, that plan to offer what
they are calling "learning pods" or
"safety zones," according to Misty
Miller, the organization's senior vice
president for organizational development. How many children will ultimately be served is still in flux, since
You don't need to change diapers, you
don't have to feed them with a spoon,
but there's other challenges that come
with a school-age child.
ZOILA CAROLINA TOMA
Home-based child-care program
CEO of Ocean County YMCA in
Toms River, N.J., has moved the exercise equipment out of his facility in
order to fit more kids in.
In a normal year, the YMCA would
provide before- and after-care for
1,000 children attending the Toms
River, Lakewood, Manchester, and
Berkeley Township districts. With the
distancing and space restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, it hopes to
serve 85 to 90 children at the YMCA
itself, with another 50 to 75 in school
buildings. Families would pay $250
a week for a child, including beforeand after-care.
"We're so blessed to have school
districts that are phenomenal partners," Rosario said. The YMCA was
already used to providing academic
enrichment activities to children
through summer programs, which it
hopes to continue during these new
child-care programs, Rosario said.
And that's important, because "this
is going to be the next two to three
years that we have to work together
to rebuild our kids. The amount of
learning loss will not be made up just
Signal Hill, Calif.
New Costs, Challenges
the executive director of the American Camp Association. Some wellpublicized virus outbreaks this summer occurred where the guidelines
were not being followed completely
or consistently, he said. Rosenberg
said a camp director told him that
" 'good enough' is not good enough
in this case."
The variety of providers that have
sprung up to offer child care during
remote learning speaks to the need.
In some cases, it is the districts themselves that are offering the programs.
Adams 12 Five Star Schools, a district
in Thornton, Colo., plans to offer a
free "learning pod" experience supervised by district staff to students,
based on academic and family need.
Kim Walsh, who is directing the
program, said parents have shown
tremendous interest, even for their
6 | EDUCATION WEEK | September 16, 2020 | www.edweek.org
programs have to reduce capacity for
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater
Houston opened its "Blue Learning
Labs" in August, with the ultimate
goal of serving around 600 children
and youth, said Kevin Hattery, who is
CEO of the Houston clubs. More than
50 different school districts operate
within its region.
Keeping in line with the Boys and
Girls Clubs mission of serving children from low-income families, the
fee is about $30 for eight weeks, Hattery said. But providing these programs is an expensive service.
"There is not a funding mechanism
that is there to support what we're
doing. Our budget is ballooning significantly to help fill this gap," Hattery
Peter Rosario, the president and
Zoila Carolina Toma, who runs a
home-based child-care program in
Signal Hill, Calif., is expanding her
program to support children engaged
in online learning. In addition to her
two children, a 3rd grader and a 1st
grader, she can care for eight more.
She's planning to charge around $200
a week. Her neighborhood is served
by the Long Beach district in Los Angeles County.
But expanding beyond her typical
population of babies and preschoolers
comes with a number of costs. She's
purchased extra laptops and headphones in case the students' devices
are broken. She's hired an employee
with the skill to help troubleshoot
computer glitches. She's even had to
buy new furniture; chairs that are suitable for toddlers won't work for older
children expected to sit and pay atten-
tion for an hour or more at a stretch.
"Most of the children, they grow
with me" and then leave when they
start school, she said. "I have had
cases where some of the parents are
reaching back to me now."
She added, "I am not going to say
no." For one thing, she said that
keeping sibling groups together-for
example, a preschool-age child and
an older sibling-helps prevent the
spread of the virus as well as providing a safe place for the child to learn.
But all of the extra supplies add up,
she said. And she also wonders about
juggling schedules, if one child has a
break while another is still supposed
to be paying attention to schoolwork.
"You don't need to change diapers,
you don't have to feed them with a
spoon, but there's other challenges
that come with a school-age child,"
For Take A Bow, all of this is new.
One of Daniels's longtime students,
now a dance instructor, is also a
newly minted elementary school
teacher who isn't in the classroom
due to a pandemic-caused hiring
freeze. That instructor will be supervising the lessons along with other
assistants, said Daniels, who has also
installed air purifiers and hand-sanitizer dispensers and bought a portable whiteboard for class work. Families can pay $75 a day or $250 for a
full week. New York City schools
currently plan to offer students a mix
of in-person and remote instruction.
"My silver lining to only having 40
students during the summer"-about
half normal enrollment-"is I was
able to learn how to do this," Daniels
said. "It went so smooth, everyone is
healthy, everyone is good, they were
so happy to be here."
She hopes the school year will be
Coverage of after-school learning
opportunities is supported in part by a
grant from the Charles Stewart Mott
Foundation. Education Week retains sole
editorial control over the content of this
Education Week - September 16, 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - September 16, 2020
Education Week - September 16, 2020
Mask Fatigue and No High-Fives: Teachers Discuss the Hardest Parts of In-Person School During COVID-19
New Players Fill Child-Care Gap As Schools Go Remote
COVID-19 Fuels Enrollment Increases in Virtual Schools
Districts Struggle to Keep Tabs on COVID-19 Cases in Schools, Communities
Districts Offer Cash to Families Who Skip the School Bus
Teacher Morale and Student Enrollment Declining Under COVID-19, Survey Shows
Teachers, Live Screen Time is Precious. Use It Well
When Black Lives Only Matter Conditionally
EdWeek Top School Jobs
How Ready Are We to Support Kids?
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - Education Week - September 16, 2020
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - Briefly Stated
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - 3
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - Mask Fatigue and No High-Fives: Teachers Discuss the Hardest Parts of In-Person School During COVID-19
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - 5
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - New Players Fill Child-Care Gap As Schools Go Remote
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - 7
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - COVID-19 Fuels Enrollment Increases in Virtual Schools
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - 9
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - Districts Struggle to Keep Tabs on COVID-19 Cases in Schools, Communities
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - 11
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - Districts Offer Cash to Families Who Skip the School Bus
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - 13
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - Teacher Morale and Student Enrollment Declining Under COVID-19, Survey Shows
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - 15
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - Teachers, Live Screen Time is Precious. Use It Well
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - 17
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - When Black Lives Only Matter Conditionally
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - 19
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - 20
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - 21
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - 22
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - EdWeek Top School Jobs
Education Week - September 16, 2020 - How Ready Are We to Support Kids?