Boys & Girls Club to offer childcare with virtual learning support

Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News | August 17, 2020

BELOIT — The Stateline Boys & Girls Club, 1851 Moore St., Beloit, will be offering essential full-time childcare with virtual learning support starting on Aug. 31.

The decision was made in response to the School District of Beloit moving to online-only schooling for the first nine weeks of this school year and some parents needing help with their children’s learning while they are at work. The School District of Beloit begins its virtual schooling on Sept. 8.

“We are doing anything we can to support the needs of the community and the school district,” said Boys & Girls Club CEO Mark Rand. “If the little bit we can do can help, then that’s what we are going to do.”

“Our mission is to support those who need it most,” said Boys & Girls Club Director of School-age Programs Emily Peterson.

There are 30 total openings for the program, and 16 were filled as of Monday.

“We expect to be full by midweek,” Peterson said.

The program is only for children with parents or caregivers who are working or having a reason which bars them from caring for their children during the day.

Two weeks ago the Boys & Girls Club met with the School District of Beloit, Community Action and the Stateline Family YMCA and offered to help by providing a distance learning support center for kids.

The Boys and Girls Club’s new program will run from 7:30 a.m.—3 p.m. daily. Children in the program would then be eligible to transition into the after school program from 3—6:30 p.m. if necessary.

Reliable internet and computer devices will be offered if the children do not have access to them. Staff will be trained to support the online learning of small groups of five to 10 children similar to a tutoring session.

“Our staff will be trained to support each child with learning, whether maintaining a schedule, getting to their Zoom meetings, contacting their teachers and helping with assignments. They aren’t teaching, but are supporting students and ensuring the work gets done,” Peterson said.

The children and staff will be socially distanced, wearing masks, doing bi-hourly hand washings and undergoing health screenings as the facility gets additional cleaning and sanitizing.

The Boys and Girls Club also will be providing shuttles out to schools in the Turner School District this year to pick up kids for its after-school programs. Teen programming also will be offered from 6—8 p.m. for ages 13 and up.

All children in attendance in the after school program will get a full dinner at 5:30 p.m.

The Boys & Girls Club closed down on March 16 due to COVID-19, but reopened in South Beloit on June 1 and in Beloit on June 8 with its new safety plans. There are 38 staff members between the two sites. So far, there have been no cases of COVID-19 among staff or students.

This summer the Club ran programming with three groups of no more than 15 students which include science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities, art and other academic programming as well as lots of outdoor play and some nature field trips.

Currently the space limit is 60 for after school programs, although there is potential to increase it as Wisconsin moves forward with reopening.

The South Beloit Club will be open as usual for after school hours with the limitation of 50 kids. The South Beloit site is already full with Aug. 19 being the first day of school in the South Beloit School District.