Essex has worked out a free child care solution for students on remote learning days

For many parents, figuring out how their children will be supervised on remote learning days is a huge concern. 

Front Porch Forum and Facebook groups are filled with requests to create community pods, hire tutors, or find responsible teenagers willing to make an extra buck helping young kids with remote learning.

Others are considering the state child care hubs that are being set up; however, families would have to pay for the service and there is no guarantee of internet access or the ability for students to complete their studies while attending.

More:Child care and remote learning: How Vermont plans to fill the gaps

The Essex Westford School District, however, has a solution for its families.

A program called Rec Kids Supported Learning Spaces, run by Essex Junction Recreation and Parks, will provide supervised care to students on non-in-person school days. 

The service is free to K-8 students within the school district and includes breakfast and lunch and remote learning support. 

Various locations including community centers, churches, the Essex Cinema and other spaces would house up to 12 kids and a recreation or school district staff member.

The program would run 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and families could sign up for one, two, or three days a week.

After-school care would be available for a fee for students in grades K-5.

“Daily schedule to include remote learning support time, physical activity, recess, group games, arts and crafts, and more,” the program’s webpage states.

Working parents expressed their gratitude for the program in comments attached to the school district’s Facebook post: “I’m beyond grateful for this!” and “I don’t know what I would do without summer camps and now this program.”

The Essex Westford School District is beginning the school year in just under three weeks, on Sept. 8, and will open with an AACBB hybrid schedule where students will attend school in-person on either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday and will engage in remote learning the other three days of the week.

Contact April Barton at abarton@freepressmedia.com or 802-660-1854. Follow her on Twitter @aprildbarton.

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