CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As Lowcountry school districts hammer out final plans for this school year, many working parents face another hurdle: What to do with their kids after school in the afternoons.
Daycares and camps have been adjusting all summer to new cleaning regiments and social distancing.
“We realized very quickly that there was a need we needed to answer to,” said Jana Chanthabane who is the executive director at the Summerville YMCA at the Ponds and says they are introducing several types of after-school care for kids this year.
“We wanted to be here to support parents,” Chanthabane said. “We understand parents have to go back to work to feed their family and kids need socialization. I think we see mental health being affected and those types of things. For all those reasons we decided this was the right thing for us to do. This is really what speaks to the Y and their role in their community.”
She said they will continue keeping adult to student ratios low, keep up with enhanced cleaning measures throughout the day, and help kids interact while being spaced out.
They will also be supporting kids who have school work online.
“We’re actually upgrading and enhancing WiFi capabilities to support the extra kids and devices connected here,” she said.
The Summerville YMCA is also hiring right now and has a group interview planned for this Wednesday.
Metanoia Youth Leadership Academy is another local after-school option that serves North Charleston students. Director of Operations Stacy Brown says their families are being hit hard right now.
“One of the deficits automatically was technology,” she said. “So for us, in a community serving disenfranchised students, we’re dealing with a double pandemic. There’s a lack of technology. There’s already our students behind two or three grade levels.”
Plus many of her students face food insecurity and healthcare challenges. That’s why they are sticking to a virtual model for now for Youth Leadership Academy and following CCSD guidance.
Brown explained, "For us, we're being very, very careful. Our families are on the front lines. They're essential workers. We have a large elderly population so we must look at data."
Brown said even online from home, people in the community can help their kids.
“We’re looking for more partnerships virtually,” she said.”There’s a way to mentor virtually and help with reading and literacy.”
They’re collecting masks, sanitizer and cleaning supplies - preparing to follow CCSD guidance for reopening after-school programs in person. Interested families should email Brown directly at Stacy@pushingforward.org as soon as possible to enroll and visit the Metanoia website for more information. You can also follow @metanoiaSC on social media sites.
Reopening plan describes extended day / wrap-around care for grades K-5.
The face to face program is until 6pm.
There's also a hybrid option for 3 days a week.
150 students max at each elementary school.
Reopening guidelines say before and after school programs will operate when school is open.
It is for students opting into the traditional learning models.
They will also have some STEP program opportunities for gifted and talented artistic children.
The district's after-school Kaleidoscope program is currently suspended.
News and Announcements on the website say that's until "they receive decisions from higher levels about COVID 19."