Controversy over non-profit using closed Colonial School District schools to help students with virtual classes

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- There is controversy surrounding a Montgomery County school district that, despite deciding to go all-virtual for the start of the school year, is allowing some students to attend their virtual classes from inside school buildings.

A non-profit before-school and after-school program called Wonderspring was already under contract with the Colonial School District.

But Wonderspring's CEO, Zakiyyah Boone, says once the district decided to begin the school year entirely virtual, her company expanded its services to help working families, by offering day-long support and supervision for young students as they attend classes online.

"Same as if a family were going to hire a babysitter or if they were going to leave their child at another childcare program in that center. They would be paying an adult, a responsible adult, to supervise their child," Boone said.

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But some parents within the district have gone to social media to vent their discontent over this development.

Some are unhappy that the availability is limited to only a few dozen students.

Others have a problem with the children who are enrolled spending their school day inside the very building that was shuttered because of the pandemic.

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Colonial School District officials sent Action News a statement reading in part:

"Our intent was to help families and maintain safety. Wonderspring is required to clean the space on a daily basis. Colonial joins with several other school districts around the region that have opened their schools at no profit to child care providers to accommodate families in need."

Boone admits it's not a perfect solution, but her organization is dedicated to helping as many families as they can, as safely as possible.

She says, "We don't take it for granted that it's a struggle for families out here. We just want to keep the children safe and keep them engaged in learning."

Meanwhile, as of this week, there is still a handful of spots open for Wonderspring's program.

The service costing as much as $225 a week.
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