The Flatbush YMCA has been selected as one of several city-wide locations to receive part of a $500,000 award that will allow the recreational center to offer in-person childcare to assist working families, as New York City public schools reopen.
While remote learning will continue as part of the school reopening plan, many parents are unable to work from home and lack access to affordable childcare. With the new funding, these select YMCA programs will provide in-person supervision for children during their remote learning periods between 8:00am and 3:00pm.
In addition, the program will offer project-based learning and other educational activities aimed to reduce screen time for the kids. There will also be a contact tracing program if necessary.
Sharon Greenberger, president & CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York, said that the organization is “thrilled to provide childcare for hundreds of families across New York City, and grateful to AT&T for supporting this critical program.”
The city’s reopening plan has been a topic of controversy for months now, with parents and teachers often split between wanting in-person schooling or remote learning.
With the first day set for Monday, September 21, the plan is to offer a “blended learning” model that will see students physically in school between one and three days a week, while the remaining days are online. According to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, “New York City students will be learning five days a week, whether it’s in person, or at home.”
In addition to the blended learning model, as many as 26 percent of NYC public school students opted for exclusively online learning back in early August. There is also the ever present threat of an outbreak forcing every student to work online only, making the need for reliable and affordable childcare immense.
While the city announced that its Learning Bridges program will provide care for 30,000 children during remote learning days, more help will be needed for the district’s 1.1 million students.
For Patricia Jacobs, president of AT&T Northern Region, this reality is precisely the reason for the company’s involvement in the YMCA program: “The pandemic has created a tremendous amount of uncertainty around the upcoming school year, presenting the greatest challenges for parents who do not have the option of working from home,” she said. “Together, AT&T and WarnerMedia are honored to support the YMCA so they can provide urgently-needed school day remote learning supervision.”
This comes after AT&T’s initial donation of $100,000 this summer helped support the YMCA’s new online platform, YMCA @ Home. That donation was part of $450,000 that was contributed by the company to supporting virtual STEM programs across the city.
“We hope our donation encourages others to invest in childcare solutions for even more families during this time of crisis,” said Jacobs.
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