RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) – As kids go back to school remotely or through a hybrid model, parents are wondering where they will find child care. We heard the state announce its solutions Tuesday– 73 new hubs and expanded home care. But some communities and businesses are already stepping up to help parents. Our Olivia Lyons shows you how the Rutland community is pulling together to help out.
During the beginning of the pandemic, the Rutland Recreation Department sprung into action offering child care for essential workers. This continued into the summer.
But now, the need for child care is even greater. So other area nonprofits are extending their hours to assist working families.
“Every child care agency that wanted to help out or could help out was contacting us to see what they could do to keep the community going,” said Robert Bliss, the assistant superintendent of Rutland City Public Schools.
Rutland families are scrambling to find last-minute child care before school begins.
“School districts are operating in different ways. Our faculty and staff, people at Rutland Hospital, G.E., other places found that they have a lot of employees that need support,” Bliss said.
At the Boys and Girls Club in Rutland, they have extended their hours. The club was an after-school program beginning at 3 p.m., but will now begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m.
David Woolpy, the executive director, says the club will pick students up at Meadow Street Park and Rutland Intermediate School in the morning.
“It may seem odd that we would be picking up at a school that’s open. But we are providing that service because we know a lot of teachers in that school live in other districts where they have only remote learning, so they may need all day care for their children,” Woolpy explained.
The club has internet access, computers and adults to assist kids while they complete their school work. They also give kids three meals and a snack each day.
At the Barstow Memorial School Boys and Girls location, the club will open at noon, when students in kindergarten through second grade get out of in-person classes. Any students who are fully remote in grades three through six are welcome to join at that time.
Around the corner from the Merchants Row Boys and Girls Club is Wonderfeet Kids Museum.
“We had already predicted there was going to be a need and luckily for us, the Rutland Rec was willing to collaborate with us, so we could fill that gap,” said Danielle Monroe of Wonderfeet.
The museum is providing child care for 15-20 students in grades K-6 on Wednesdays for eight weeks. Kids will arrive in the morning, eat lunch, do their school work, explore the museum and then go to one of the recreation department facilities in the afternoon.
The Rutland Recreation Department is also offering an eight-week-long school day camp.
“That’s what Rutland does. We work together to try to solve problems and keep our community happy, healthy and safe,” Bliss said. “That’s who we are.”
The Boys and Girls Clubs are accepting student registration now. Their program will cost $20 a day for anyone who doesn’t qualify for sponsorship through the state.
Families can sign up for the Wonderfeet Kids Museum’s program through the Rutland Rec Department along with the city’s other programs.
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