~ Partnership works to provide low-cost day programs for students 12 and under impacted by COVID-19 ~
Roanoke County Public Schools has created a task force with the YMCA, The United Way of Roanoke Valley, Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Virginia, Prevention Council of Roanoke County and area churches to establish new day programs for parents impacted by alternative school schedules created by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the current schedule we have to adopt due to the pandemic, we recognize that parents are facing some significant challenges when it comes to childcare,” said Dr. Ken Nicely, superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools. “This is a challenge facing our entire community and we’ve brought together many community partners to help find and develop opportunities for families who need strong academic support programs for students, especially those in third to sixth grade, who otherwise might be home alone on days not in school.”
“We are taking the further step of working to devote some of the funding provided by the CARES Act to help offset some of the costs for parents, especially low-income families,” Nicely added.
Said Tom McCracken, pastor of CommUNITY Church in Salem, “We’ve heard from several churches that are ready to host programs. What we need right now is help from our community to make this happen. We need people to work in these programs, we need donations to help keep these costs low and offer scholarships for students.”
Added Abby Hamilton, President and CEO of United Way of Roanoke Valley, “We are excited to partner with Roanoke County Public Schools, our area out-of-school time providers and others in the community to create a feasible solution for students and families in Roanoke County as schools start. We are committed to work together to ensure that programs adhere to the same level of safety, security and health guidelines from the CDC and Virginia Department of Health”
As new day programs are established, they will be added to the current United Way Smart2Start program, which provides a single-source online option for parents to apply for day programs at www.smart2start.org.
“We plan to launch several new program sites to meet the needs of our community, and we need qualified staff immediately,” said Michelle Davis, CEO with Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Virginia. “Both organizations are currently hiring for school year programming across the region. Both part-time and full-time positions are available and will need to be filled for new sites to open.”
- Submitted by Chuck Lionberger, Community Relations Specialist