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YMCA of Delaware opens Learning Support Centers for students

Delaware Public Media
First State schools starting the year online is an issue for many working parents. So, YMCA of Delaware is trying to help by opening Learning Support Centers where parents can send their children during the school day.

The YMCA of Delaware is offering help to working parents struggling with the return of remote learning as the new school year begins.

Many First State schools are operating virtually to start the year - creating a dilemma for parents who need to go to work.

So YMCA of Delaware president and CEO Deborah Bagatta-Bowles says they’ve created Learning Support Centers to give those parents a place to send their children during the school day.


“It’s just a way for us to step in and kind of switch gears as our normal before- and after-school operations, which typically take place in 45 schools will not be up and running immediately," said Bagatta-Bowles. "We want to support families during this time.”

And Bagatta-Bowles notes they plan to have centers available throughout the state.


“We are trying to set up a YMCA Learning Support Center in every school district so that parents can drop their kids off for a full day of activities," said Bagatta-Bowles. "And we’ll do our best to get all of their virtual homework and learning done while they're with us. But they’ll also have - kind of a school’s out kind of feeling in the afternoon.”


She says the YMCA already has COVID-19 safety protocols in place since most Y locations provided childcare for essential workers over the past five months - as well as three months of summer camp.


"We have a safety protocol that’s worked for us over the course of the early pandemic days and also through the summer months," said Bagatta-Bowles. "So we have curbside pickup and drop-off, temperature checks, a brief  health screening as the children come in. And then we are working with a small cohort model - so the groups are smaller, they stay together and they stay with the same counselors.”

Bagatta-Bowlessays Learning Support Centers work with children ages 5 through 12 and provide full-day care from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The cost will be $250 per week and financial assistance is available. Registation is available online.


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.