Challenges of juggling new kind of back to school schedules

Katherine Scott Image
Monday, August 17, 2020
Back To School: Challenges of juggling new schedules as school year begins.
Back To School: Challenges of juggling new schedules as school year begins.

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- With so many schools opening with remote or hybrid schedules, parents across our area have the challenge of finding care for their children while they are at work.

Some day cares are opening classrooms for older children who would normally be in elementary school, including The Goddard School of Newtown Square, which reopened in June with new safety protocols in place.

This fall, they are offering support for school age children, as they embark on their hybrid or remote schedules.

"Childcare is important to working families, not only those essential workers," explained owner Kavita Ghai.

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Ghai explained their school will dedicate a classroom to children up to second grade, so students can get necessary guidance and also take part in enrichment activities when their work is done.

That leaves parents the ability to focus on their jobs.

"The Zoom sessions or what children are learning is happening at the same time parents are working, sometimes there's a conflict of schedules happening at home," Ghai elaborated.

There are some school districts that are facilitating or suggesting supervision for students.

Downingtown Area School District is starting the year fully virtual.

"So it really comes down to the numbers," stated Jennifer Shealy, Director of Communications for the district.

She added that keeping the necessary distance would impossible with the district's 13,000 students.

"Even with half of that-6,500, we can't keep kids six feet apart and keep them safe," Shealy told 6abc.

Downingtown is among the Chester County districts, that worked with 'A Child's Place,' to offer supervision for children of essential workers and two working parents.

The goal was to keep the cost as low as possible, with the district not charging the organization rent, for example, to bring down the cost of care.

"'A Child's Place' is anticipating between 400-600 students," Shealy said.

She continued, "We have 16 buildings, spreading them out across all of those schools allows for that six foot space."

In Philadelphia, the city is working with the school district and partners to provide supervised, internet-connected spaces for students who can't safely stay at home during the school day. They are prioritizing children and families with the greatest need.

An announcement with more information on this effort is expected this week.

The city is urging families to ensure their contact information is up to date with their schools, as they aim to provide internet access to 35,000 K-12 student homes this fall.