YMCA hoping to help parents after Springfield School District announces virtual component

Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 11:57 AM CDT
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Springfield Public Schools families learned options for the fall semester will be entirely virtual or a two-day in-the-classroom option. The decision leaves working parents looking for care for the other three days of the week.

The YMCA offered emergency care in March and April and their usual summer day camps and programs before and after SPS summer school in July. Now, it is trying to figure out what daily operations will look like this fall. They found out about the plan for the coming semester at SPS the same day as everyone else, last Thursday. They don’t even know yet if they’ll be able to offer full day care.

YMCA administrators know many families will have a hard time paying for child care, and they do offer financial assistance. But some extra funding would help the YMCA. They are hoping to apply for a new grant funding opportunity through Community Foundation of the Ozarks. CFO announced it’s offering $100,000 from its COVID-19 response and recovery fund to organizations providing supportive virtual learning environments for SPS students. The grant application process opened up Monday.

Kelley Keim, Ozarks Regional YMCA School Age Services District Director, says the YMCA first has to figure out if the state will give them a license for all day child care, and what spaces they’ll have available to offer care.

“We’re not really sure yet,” said Keim. “We don’t know if that would be care here at the Y or if it would be care at the school, or if it’s something that we’ll even be able to do at all. But that is something that we want to be able to address for the community.”

The YMCA hopes to know more by later this week. Boys and Girls Clubs of Springfield and the Discovery Center also say they are looking at options to help SPS families.

Community Foundation of the Ozarks says, since it established its COVID-19 Fund in March, generous donors have contributed more than $686,000 to support grant’s like the one to support virtual learning environments.

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