SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — In a normal school year, thousands of San Diego families rely on after-school programs to help with child care and tutoring.
But with schools going virtual this fall amid the pandemic, groups like the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Clubs plan to expand after-school programs into full-day operations to alleviate the burden on working families.
“It’s a whole new world for us. And it’s a whole new world for families,” said Greg Erickson of the YMCA of San Diego County. “There has never been a greater demand for these types of programs than right now and so the Y has to be ready, and we will.”
Beginning in August, the Y will ramp up staffing to offer full-day and half-day enrichment options for kids from kindergarten through middle school.
The goal is to have kids in supervised activities from about 8 am to 4:30 pm, with half the day set aside for games and social enrichment and the other half supporting distance learning.
“You can imagine a staff member with 10 kids in a classroom, each on a different Zoom call,” Erickson said. Staff members will not be credentialed teachers, he added, but the Y is interested in recruiting substitute teachers or college students studying education.
The location of these childcare programs will vary across the county: some will be offered at YMCA facilities, some will be at school sites, and others will be at third-party facilities like community centers and churches.
With demand for childcare expected to be high as long as school campuses are closed, the YMCA is actively scouting locations that can host enrichment programs for an indeterminate amount of time, Erickson said. The YMCA already serves about 15,000 kids in its after-school programs, said Association Director of Public Relations and Communications Courtney Pendleton.
The YMCA expects to announce more specifics about the program this week, Erickson said. The cost to families is still being determined and will hinge on whether the YMCA is permitted to use state grants to offset expenses, he said.
The Boys & Clubs of Greater San Diego said it planned to open select locations for all-day enrichment programs, “helping members with their distance learning activities in the morning and then transitioning to the traditional club programs in the afternoon,” said spokeswoman Ashley Schumacher.
“Once local schools are able to resume in-person operations, we’ll revert back to an after school program,” she said, adding that more information about the clubs that will reopen would be available in early August.