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Remote Learning Centers Open For Students Who Can't Study From Home

Nine-year-old Journey checks into her school from a remote learning center. [The Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio]
Nine-year-old Journey checks into her school from a remote learning center.

For many kids, going to school this year means an unusually short trip: from the bedroom to the living room. But for kids without internet or a computer at home, remote learning isn’t that simple.

Now, several area organizations have come up with a solution.  

They’re called Remote Learning Centers - places that students can go to access computers and wifi for free. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohiois opening 15 ClubSmart remote learning centers around the region this month where up to 1,000 students will be able to check in to their schools. Students do not need to be members of the Boys and Girls Clubs to sign up. 

Jeff Scott, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, told ideastream that they heard from a lot of the clubs’ members that their kids don’t have a safe space to study during the day, access to a computer or high speed internet. 

“We really think that this is critical and it’s part of solving the digital divide,” Scott said. “It’s not just about getting kids computers and hot spots and hoping that they’ll be able to complete their digital learning curriculum, we think they need a safe place to operate, access to food and they need adult proctoring to help make sure they can get through the curriculum.”

The Breakthrough Charter School network will also be opening remote learning centers from inside their closed school buildings to help ensure that students can keep up with their education. 

Friends of Breakthrough President John Zitzner said they had initially provided students with Chromebooks and hotspots, but many parents said they can’t afford to take time off work to stay home with their kids, bringing about the idea of opening the schools back up to some students for remote learning. 

“It’s a place where parents can bring their kids, they do the remote learning with their teachers online as though they were home, and they do it in a safe, supervised, structured way with breakfast and lunch provided while their parents are at work,” he said. 

Their current plan will be able to accommodate roughly 500 kids. Zitzner said students will be spaced apart to observe social distancing, and will have their temperature taken upon entering the building. A nurse will also be on staff at all times. They’ve hired about 50 people to staff the remote learning centers while their usual faculty teach online. 

Zitzner said that since almost 80 percent of their students come from low-income families, demand for the service has been high.