The JCC of Greater Baltimore may have the answer for families struggling with the pandemic’s impact on schools.
The JCC is launching a new program, J Kids All Day, which seeks to provide a safe place where local children can virtually learn while physically outside of their homes.
“J Kids All Day program is a program that supports students ages K through eight,” said Bradley Kerxton, senior director of J Kids Baltimore and special projects at the JCC. “These students are in virtual learning because their schools are not in session. We are a program that provides support for these kids, but also provides them opportunities to be with other children in a social environment.”
The program’s initial four-week session is set to begin Sept. 8, according to the JCC website, with later sessions currently slated to begin on Oct. 5 and Nov. 2. The program will run from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
Upon arrival at the JCC’s Owings Mills facility, each child will be given a screening and a temperature check, and children 6 and above will be required to wear a mask at all times.
After the screening, they will be directed to their assigned “pod,” with each pod having a specified classroom where students can do their virtual learning while being supervised by staff members, Kerxton said. Each pod will have a maximum of eight to 10 children and two staff members, one of whom will be a childcare educator. Each pod will be kept separate from the other pods. The children will be expected to arrive with their own computers and assignments to complete, and with their own lunches, though the JCC will be providing them with Wi-Fi access.
The cost for a full member of the JCC to enroll their child in the program is $990, while the cost to nonmembers is $1,190.
The program was created in collaboration with other JCCs around the country, many of whom are faced with similar pandemic-related challenges, Kerxton said.
On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, the final hour of the day, 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m., students will participate in special enrichment activities that allow for increased social interaction with other members of their pod, Kerxton said. These activities will include athletics, dance, science, arts and crafts, nature, swimming, and music. On Wednesdays, when students generally have lighter schedules, the entire day will be devoted to these enrichment activities.
Kerxton added that the JCC is very excited about the J Kids All Day program, and encouraged anyone interested in it to contact him directly.
“We saw that there was a need in the community,” he said. “We realized that we had an opportunity to provide a service.”