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YMCA of Greater Houston offers distance learning assistance for working families

Y Learning Centers will open in 11 Houston-area YMCA branches.

HOUSTON — The new school year begins as early as this week for some districts, and many working parents may be worried about how to handle distance learning.

YMCA of Greater Houston spent the summer developing a new program that could help.

"We started to brainstorm to re-imagine what our after-school program could look like," said Larry Taylor, senior director for youth.

“Y Learning Centers” will virtually mirror the organization's current day-camp set-up and will begin at 11 Houston-area YMCA branches once local districts start back.

"We’re running our program like a traditional school day," Taylor said. "From 8:00 to 3:00 will be the academic, lunch, enrichment. And the after-school will take place from 3:00 to 6:00.”

The program will be limited to small groups of students who’ll have access to a certified teacher to help with their distance learning curriculum.

"They’ll be in there with one of our YMCA staffers, and we’ll have at least one certified teacher for every group of 18 students," Taylor said.

Children under 10 will be required to wear a mask along with staff members, and there’s scheduled time for hand washing and disinfecting.

Taylor said the program, which costs from $25 to $60 per day, was initially offered to essential workers during Spring Break. But the Y noticed a growing need as many other parents have returned to work amid the pandemic while facing an uncertain school year.

"I don’t think students are necessarily falling through the cracks to where they’ll be left behind," Taylor said. "But I do think that there is an opportunity for all of us to step up.”

Click here for more information about the program.