Remote learning has left some parents unsure of how to juggle their child’s education and go to work.
Places around the community are offering child care and tutoring assistance.
The Manhattan-Ogden school district has a page on its website, usd383.org/community/child-care-options, with a list of businesses and non-profit organizations that offer a variety of assistance in child care and tutoring.
The list includes Adio Fitness where owner Bayo Adio said they have space and staff members to help families. The staff includes interns who are education majors at K-State and working on their bachelor’s and master’s degrees, he said.
He decided to open for the students because he knows many parents must work and have few options for ensuring their children are able to keep up with their school work.
When the students arrive, it’s not playtime.
“They have a schedule, they have to complete their schoolwork,” Adio said. “Everything is all laid out. In addition to that, they also get a workout. They get their P.E., and they get their academic help and support that they need, and they also get a place to socialize with other kids in a safe manner.”
There is a cost for children who go to Adio Fitness, but in Ogden, The House, a non-profit coffeeshop, which also has a teen center, is offering tutoring in morning and afternoon sessions at no charge.
Owner Chris Jacobs, said The House had started after-school tutoring last year, so it already had laptops, printers and other school supplies.
“When (COVID-19) happened, it just came down to ‘Can we find adults who’d be willing to basically sit in there and make sure that kids worked … and help keep them focused?” he said. “People within the community stepped up.”
The center, which isn’t listed on the school district’s website, can accommodate up to 13 students in grades five through 12, while maintaining physical distancing. However, it is dependent on volunteers, like Kirk Crabtree who said he lives in Ogden and both of his children went to Ogden Elementary School.
“We were very involved with the school,” the retired 1st sergeant in the U.S. Army said. “My mother was a teacher and my father, after he left the military, became a teacher. I’ve always been involved, and I understand the importance of education.”
When he saw what was happening in his community, he knew he could help. He said he started seeing parents express frustration.
“I think a lot of people are going to appreciate teachers a lot more really soon,” he said. “We’re right at the beginning of this school year. There’s normal hiccups and bugs … that causes frustration.”
Looking at the entirety of the remote learning, Crabtree said he is concerned that many children will fall behind academically, especially those in towns like Ogden, which has a large economically depressed population.
When he learned The House was looking for volunteers, he signed up. Parents can register their children for a morning or afternoon session. When the students arrive, they go through the COVID protocol, which includes having their temperature taken before getting down to the business of learning.
“A volunteer will see where they are in their syllabus,” he said. “We’ll make sure that they make their Zoom meetings. We sign off on their daily logs and make sure they do all their work. And then the house provides a lunch for the morning students.”
He said he believes it is important for people to step up and help, if they can. Some of the students are old enough to stay home without a parent there, but without someone monitoring their progress, they may not get their work done. Then there are the parents who are not able to fill the role of educator, he said.
“In my mind, the reckoning is coming,” he said. “Either next week or the following week, if we stay with this hybrid model, parents will start seeing where either their kids are missing work, or they’re not doing so well in their work.”
Other businesses and non-profits listed on the school district website include ieDiscoveries, Miss Emily’s Music School, Boys and Girls Club, Girls on the Run of the Flint Hills, Hope Lutheran Early Learning Center and Cool Care Club.
The district is only providing the information, and is not endorsing any of the programs or businesses.