BY ANGIE ANGERS
It’s been a problem for parents ever since school went virtual in the spring — how can parents go to work if their students are home all day?
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County created a remote learning support program to try to take some of that pressure off of parents who are not ready to send their children back to school.
The club contact the School District of Manatee County before the 2020-2021 school year kicked off to ask what it was families needed. The club’s president, Dawn Stanhope, said a big concern for parents was what to do with their middle and high school students.
“Many of them fell behind in that last quarter of the school year and they’re struggling to get caught back up,” Stanhope explained.
Instead of leaving children home alone, parents now have the option to bring them to The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. There, they have just 9 students assigned to each room with desks distanced more than 6 feet apart. Students are screened and temperature checked daily.
“They stay with the same group each day and we’re very mindful of all the CDC guidelines,” Stanhope said.
Roosevelt Dunbar and his wife chose to keep their 15-year-old on a virtual learning model for the year. Dunbar says he works nearly 20 minutes from home and didn’t like the idea of leaving his teenager alone all day.
“It was convenient and safe, I know where he’s at,” he explained. “I didn’t want to put it on him to manage the house if there were issues at the house.”
At The Boys & Girls Club, counselors keep an eye on students as they complete their eLearning tasks.
“We are not trying to take the place of what the teachers provide, that’s not our job, but we’re great cheerleaders for our kids,” Dunbar said.
Counselors can assist students in getting the help they need and also serve as a second set of eyes of parents who may be concerned that their child is falling behind.
That’s one of the reasons Dunbar chose the program instead of leaving his teen on his own.
“It would help close the academic gap with him coming here, being able to learn, being able to stay consistent with his studies,” he said.
For more information on how to enroll in the free program, visit https://www.bgcmanatee.org/