MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Starting Monday, Aug. 31, the YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South will provide childcare at 70 virtual learning academies across Shelby County. These will be safe places for children of essential workers who need support in their child’s virtual learning experience. COVID-19 protocols approved by the Shelby County Health Department will be in place.
“So, we are preparing for 5000 kids,” the Y’s Brian McLaughlin told WMC Action News 5, “and we have protocols like smaller group sizes and no mixing of groups. Social distancing will be observed at all times. Even our drop off procedures where parents don’t enter the facility, they stay in the car until it’s their child’s turn to go into the building.”
Masks are also required for all students and staff.
The YMCA and Shelby County Schools have also teamed up to make sure no child goes hungry during the school year. The SCS Nutrition Center will make grab-and-go meals available for all 95,000 virtual learners in the district. Breakfast, lunch, a snack, and dinner will be available 7 days a week at community sites.
“As we start the new school year,” superintendent Dr. Joris Ray said, “child nutrition is a critical part of education to make sure students are fueled to learn and succeed.”
The YMCA virtual learning academies will be open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.
School lessons will be taught from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parents must provide their own transportation. Daycare is free for children of essential workers and CARES funding is available to offset fees for families who qualify based on income and need.
“You know,” McLaughlin said, “Kids can come to the Y and be a kid and learn how to keep themselves safe. But at the same time, they still have fun and still get support for their learning, which we know is critical.”
Registration for child care starts at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, August 26th. To register, go to www.ymcamemphis.org/virtuallearning.
The YMCA plans to open more virtual learning academy locations and is currently hiring. For more information visit www.ymcamemphis.org/workinchildcare.
And to see a list of meal distribution sites or to become a host site for meal service, go to www.ymcamemphis.org/food.