RICHMOND, Va. -- Several Richmond non-profits are requesting additional funds and resources in order to expand childcare for public school students who need assistance with virtual learning.
Richmond Public School Chief of Staff Harry Hughes presented the latest attendance figures to the School Board during their meeting on Monday. The data revealed more elementary students are not logging on for classes compared to their middle school and high school counterparts.
“The lower attendance rate is heartbreaking,” Superintendent Jason Kamras said during a Zoom interview on Tuesday.
Out of necessity some K-5 students were supervised by older siblings who were RPS students themselves, Hughes told the board. He said many families were not opting to utilize the emergency childcare centers for fear of bringing the virus into their homes and infecting vulnerable family members.
But, transportation to those childcare centers was also an issue for some families.
Kamras said they are aiming to expand their emergency childcare centers located at the YMCA of Greater Richmond and Peter Paul Development Center, in addition to others.
“We are open to expanding whatever need that is,” he explained. “They would like to expand but they don’t have the staff at this point. That is really one of the biggest factors which is limiting partners’ ability to provide childcare.”
He urged anyone who could help staff these childcare centers to reach out to Richmond Public Schools or the non-profits separately.
Julia Warren, Executive Director of Celebrate RVA, has also requested donations to help expand her learning center on Oliver Hill Way.
Warren initially started her non-profit in the East End in 2013 to help underprivileged youth celebrate their birthdays.
“We quickly decided to pivot when we realized that kids needed a space to learn and they needed support,” Warren explained.
The Celebrate Virtual Learning School currently allows for 12 RPS students in Pre-K through 5. About 50 children are on a waitlist.
“We are hearing that’s what families need and what they want,” Warren said. “We have everything these children need for school and we are still seeing a lot of children struggling.”
The center is provided at no cost to families.
“As this program will run until at least February 2021, we are budgeting for approximately $35,000 in expenses to make it possible. From tutors, reading specialists, schools supplies, PPE, food, and learning materials, we need your support,” according to her website.
You can make a donation here.
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