YMCA of Frederick County launches education program to support virtual learning


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FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Students in Frederick County, Maryland won’t be returning to the classroom this fall. Now, the local YMCA is launching an educational program to help kids and parents through virtual learning

“We started with some of the feedback that we’ve gotten from parents with the fear that there’s going to be a gap in the learning, with a fear that how do they do this for their children while they’re trying to work,” explained childcare director with the YMCA of Frederick County, Angela Dudek.

And that feedback propelled the creation of the Learn Y | Y Cares educational child care program.

Dudek says planning for the program began in the spring as organizers predicted students would continue with distance learning amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

As Frederick County Public School (FCPS) classrooms are closed for the upcoming fall semester, the new program is open for elementary school students.

“It’s a little bit of a substitute for sure,” said Dudek, “We can’t do the same job FCPS can do if they were on-site, but we’re working very closely with them intentionally so we can mirror what they need.”

Dudek says feedback from parents and the school system show that some of the biggest obstacles include engaging students to participate online and completing their assignments.

The program will be offered three to five days a week. Students ages five and up will be required to wear masks, Dudek says. They’ll be in cohorts of no more than 14 and instructors will help guide them through their individual virtual learning lessons and homework.

“It may not be the exact same situation they’re used to and it’s different, but it’s still a lot of fun,” Dudek said. 

The program will be hosted at six different sites throughout the county, including four different elementary schools and Frederick Community College. 

Organizers say the focus is also on other types of enrichment.

“We’re going to get those kids out and exercising, get them sun. Just some outdoor time where they can explore and still be a kid,” Dudek said. 

Currently, the program can accommodate about 200 students. Dudek says that could change if there’s a greater demand from parents.

For more information, visit the local YMCA website.

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