Glendale city leaders recognized the need for child care and took action. Its Department of Community Services and Parks extended its summer program, inviting students to take their virtual classes, while maintaining social distancing, at five city sites with working Wi-Fi.
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"If you want the city to remain economically vibrant and active, people need to go to work and if they need to go to work, child care is the No. 1 concern," said Sevag Garabetian, Glendale Community Services and Parks.
Garabetian oversees Glendale's "education connection," a program offering not only child care but also assistance with online academics and afternoon recreation
"We got six weeks of experience running this type of program and activity, so it was only natural for us to say OK, we have the ability to do this," said Garabetian.
The program current has 120 students, kinder through 8th grade, enrolled in the 18-week program, and there's a waiting list.
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"We have a lot of kids that are going to school for the first time, so imagine a 5-year-old in kindergarten or first grade who has never been behind a computer for this amount of time?" Garabetian said.
Students are kept in the same learning pods of 10-12 with two supervising adults. Desks are spaced out; kids and staff have to wear masks, and hand-washing is expected throughout the day. Temperatures are taken when they arrive, and the only time students are allowed to lower their masks is when they are in an outdoor space. In the afternoon, there's rec time: table tennis, pickle ball and freeze dance, are just a few of the activities. Parents say the program is the lifeline they needed to return to work.
"I think it's a godsend that they have something like this," said Talin Torossian.
"it's a good opportunity for our daughter to come and be able to safely distance learn and still get the social interaction that she would have gotten if she was in school," said Tamika Fuller.
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For the latest news on back to school and educational resources, visit abc7.com/backtoschool.