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These 2 nonprofits are offering Gainesville students a place for online learning
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Julie Martin helps Watson Wheeler with a summer camp assignment at the J.A. Walters Family YMCA. From Monday, Aug. 17, to Friday, Sept. 4, the Georgia Mountains YMCA will offer schoolwork assistance to Gainesville students enrolled at its facilities. Photo courtesy Georgia Mountains YMCA.

Georgia Mountains YMCA and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier are opening their facilities Monday, Aug. 17, to lend Gainesville students a hand with virtual learning. 

Kaitlin Allman, the YMCA’s marketing and communications manager, said the idea to offer a “Learning Hub” sparked from the school system delaying its in-person start date to Tuesday, Sept. 8, and beginning the year with virtual learning. 

“We’re just trying to meet the needs of Gainesville City students,” Allman said. “We know there’s a lot of parents out there still working or single-parent households who still have to work and are looking for a place to put their child.” 

By paying per week — $110 for YMCA members and $135 for non-members — parents and guardians can bring their children to the J.A. Walters Family YMCA at 2455 YMCA Drive in Gainesville. Allman said kids will have around-the-clock assistance with their schoolwork from staff members, who will make sure they’re meeting the appropriate log-in times and completing their assignments. 

Enrolled children will be able to stay at the YMCA from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Allman said the organization will offer the weekly program to Gainesville City Schools students, from kindergarten to eighth grade, through Friday, Sept. 4. 

The YMCA asks parents to provide a printed weekly school schedule and label all their children’s supplies, including electronics and headphones. Kids are also required to bring lunch and an afternoon snack.  

Like the YMCA, the Boys & Girls Clubs also saw a huge need for Gainesville children with working parents, said Brenda Bohn, development and communications director. 

“We recognize that this has been a difficult time for kids,” she said. “There has been a significant learning loss from virtual learning, and we want to help keep kids on track.” 

The Boys & Girls Clubs will hold weekly tutoring and online learning assistance from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for students ages 6 to 18. The program will last from Aug. 17 to Sept. 4 and take place at three of the organization's Gainesville locations: the Downey Club at 1 Positive Place, the Teen Center at 5 Positive Place and the Joseph F. Walters Club at 2094 Memorial Park Drive

To register, kids must be a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs. The cost to attend is $50 a week per child. 

In addition to focusing on schoolwork, both organizations will provide enrichment activities throughout the week. Allman said students at the YMCA can participate in swimming, arts and crafts and social distancing group games. Those in the Boys & Girls Clubs’ program will be able to join in arts and crafts, music lessons and socially distanced outdoor and indoor games. 

To help protect staff, volunteers and students from COVID-19, both organizations have put in place various protocols.  

Bohn said the Boys & Girls Clubs normally serves over 1,000 kids but has lowered its capacity to 300 to  limit the spread of COVID-19. Kids will also be placed in small groups with a 1-to-9 or 1-to-15 staff-to-student ratio.  

Allman said the YMCA intends to check the temperatures of children who enter the facility with a contactless thermometer and ask them several questions about their health.  

“We will try to practice social distancing as much as we can,” she said. “If there was a kid that got sick throughout the day, we do have a sick room to isolate them from the rest.”  

Both Allman and Bohn said the nonprofits encourage all kids to wear masks; however, face coverings are required for all staff and volunteers.  

To register for the YMCA’s Learning Hub, visit gamountainsymca.org/ymca-learning-hub. People can sign up for the Boys & Girls Clubs’ program at boysgirlsclubs.com

Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier 

When: Monday, Aug. 17, through Friday, Sept. 4 

Where: Downey Club at 1 Positive Place, Teen Center at 5 Positive Place and Joseph F. Walters Club at 2094 Memorial Park Drive 

Who: Ages 6 to 18 

Schedule: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday 

How much: $50 per week for members only 

Register: boysgirlsclubs.com 

Learning Hub at J.A. Walters Family YMCA 

When: Monday, Aug. 17, through Friday, Sept. 4 

Where: 2455 YMCA Drive, Gainesville 

Who: Kindergarten through eighth grade 

Schedule: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday 

How much: $110 per week for YMCA members, $135 per week for non-members 

Register: gamountainsymca.org/ymca-learning-hub 

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