When Worcester Public Schools (WPS) suspended in-person learning due to the pandemic, early education and care providers and youth service agencies answered the call.
The Boys & Girls Club of Worcester, the YWCA of Central Massachusetts, and eight other organizations—convened by Edward Street in partnership with the City of Worcester and the United Way of Central MA—are now serving approximately 1,200 virtual learning students at 92 classrooms across 19 sites. (See the full list of remote learning sites below.)
Yet, it’s not enough. WPS recently identified an additional 1,500 students in need of remote classroom support through the end of the school year. Here’s why these remote learning sites are so important.
Learning and development continues moving forward
Students get the help they need accessing their school’s curriculum at remote learning sites. Plus, staff facilitate positive social interactions, support children’s emotional health, and set developmentally appropriate expectations and goals.
Nutrition and physical play are also key. Remote learning sites maintain dietary health for young children who, pre-pandemic, often enjoyed breakfast, lunch, and snacks at childcare programs across the city.
Remote learning sites prop up families and businesses
Virtual learning takes time. Parents and caregivers, who also have job responsibilities, often have to choose between supporting their children’s educational future and working to put food on the table today.
Businesses are also affected when employees’ attention is divided. Perhaps that’s why the Massachusetts Business Roundtable recently announced the creation of the Massachusetts Business Coalition for Early Childhood Education. The group aims to improve the access, affordability and quality of early childhood education in the state.
More classroom space and funds are needed
As Worcester moves towards hybrid learning this March, an additional 1,500 students need remote support, according to WPS outreach. Each classroom space needs furniture, technology, WiFi bandwidth, and staff, and meals and snacks have to be accounted for as well—an estimated $2.5 million in operating costs through the remainder of the school year.
The good news is, you can help build and sustain the necessary remote classrooms. The Worcester Together Central Mass COVID-19 Fund is now accepting contributions, and every little bit helps.
Thank you for making young children a priority!
A special thank you to the United Way of Central Massachusetts for integral funding and support, and to the following organizations for hosting remote learning classrooms:
- Boys & Girls Club of Worcester
- YWCA of Central Massachusetts
- Creative Hub Worcester
- Friendly House
- Girls Inc. of Worcester
- Guild of St. Agnes Early Education and Child Care
- Worcester JCC
- Rainbow Child Development Center
- Worcester Comprehensive Education and Care
- YMCA of Central Massachusetts