YMCA will offer virtual learning centers for students to study online, while parents return to work

As school districts decide to offer a mix of online learning, in the fall, parents are deciding how to balance work responsibilities while caring for kids who can't return to the classroom. The YMCA of Greater Houston is offering a unique solution to that challenge.

Since early in the pandemic, the Y has been caring for kids of essential workers as an extension of its long-standing after-school programming. Organizers determined that the same sort of need will continue, for a lot more families, in the new school year.

"Families are going to need someplace for their kids to go, if they're doing virtual learning, because the can't sit home, by themselves," says YMCA of Greater Houston Senior Director of Youth Development Larry Taylor.

As the pandemic drags on, and online-learning becomes a vital part of kids' education, the Y will offer space for elementary-age kids to attend virtual-class while their parents return to work.

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The program will run 8 a.m. - 3 p.m., like a normal school day,  and provide space for students to log-in and complete their studies. Along with counselors, at least one certified teacher will be on-hand to help with any problems.

"If there's any questions that they might have with any type of assignments that have been sent across, we're going to try to help them to the best of our abilities," says Taylor, "Since they won't have that interaction with their teacher, as normal."

Pricing is still being determined, though the YMCA says it will be affordable and include financial assistance available for families in need. Right now, they are gauging 'where' interest may lie, to help determine which facilities will provide the learning centers.

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Sign-up will be available on the YMCA of Greater Houston website, soon, while the organization is currently waiving registration fees for traditional after school care.