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Options for Kenosha and Racine Parents Left in Lurch by Virtual Learning

July 30, 2020 4:15p

(WGTD)---Non-profits are stepping up to fill the void left by the decisions of both the Racine and Kenosha public school districts to begin the new school year online because of the pandemic.

According to its website, the Racine YMCA plans to offer "virtual learning centers" at its Sealed Air Branch in Mt. Pleasant and at the Bray Neighborhood Branch in Racine. It says details are expected soon.

The Boys & Girls Club in Kenosha is still in the process of working out logistics, financial and safety issues, according to Club Director Jake McGhee. "As soon as we saw the school decision to have it start out all virtual, it became pretty clear to us that we want to be part of the solution and hopefully help out some of the kids that may not have all the tools in place at home to allow them to succeed virtually," he said. 

The club is working with the Kenosha County Division of Health to make sure that students and staff will be reasonably safe. "We've been open since June," McGhee said. "We've seen about 50 kids every day coming in during the summer. We've been fortunate that we have good safety guidelines in place and a staff that's committed to them. So we haven't had any incidents yet."

The center is also working with Kenosha Unified on several levels, including whether the district will be able to provide meals. McGhee is also researching whether such a program should be targeted to school populations most in need. 

Cost is another factor. In addition to trying to come up with a plan, McGee has been fundraising in order to either eliminate or reduce the cost to parents.  

The club established a coronavirus relief fund several months ago. Contributions to help fund a virtual learning center are being taken online. 

Meanwhile, the Kenosha YMCA has rolled out full and half day programs for kids with costs ranging from $25 to $40 a day.