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First Coast YMCAs offer place for virtual students to learn away from home

It may be time to give parents a break as some juggle working from home and watching their kid as they learn from home. Local YMCAs have a program to help.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Juggling working from home and helping your kids do virtual school at home is difficult to say the least. We are just a few weeks in to the school year and First Coast YMCA is trying to help parents out. 

Their new program is called Learning Labs. Think of it as in between a day care and a school. Families who chose to do virtual maybe chose so because they didn’t want to be around a large group of students. 

Learning Labs is a small classroom-type environment where students do their virtual school and stay focused, but they are at the YMCA. This allows parents working from home space to get their work done. 

First Coast News checked out the set up for the Learning Lab at Ponte Vedra YMCA.

“A lot of parents might have the option of working from home right now and realizing that it is difficult to manage that and their student’s education at the same time," said after-school executive for the First Coast Y Chuck Steinfurth.

He created the program. It’s a slow start with one two students coming a few times a week at the Ponte Vedra location. The room is stocked with supplies and has wifi. While students are mainly here to focus on their individual online classes, instructors also do STEM based activities to break up the day.

“It’s a much more controlled environment. It’s a much smaller environment. Again elementary schools specifically have hundreds of kids at them every day and our classrooms have 12 (maximum)," Steinfurth said. 

“If parents are starting to realize that maybe a home setting is not working out as well as they wanted it to, we want to be there to help them throughout this process," he said.

Steinfurth says costs vary, but across the first coast the base weekly rate for learning labs is around 130 to 190 dollars. There are discounts for members and for people in need of financial assistance. 

Safety protocols are in place including temperature checks, required face coverings, and disinfecting common areas often.You can learn more about Learning Labs and how to register here.

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