County considers ‘learning hubs’ to help employees with children do distance learning

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 24: Doral Academy Red Rock Elementary School fourth grader Reaghan Keeler, 9, raises her hand as she takes an online reading class from her bedroom on her first day of distance learning amid the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on August 24, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clark County School District, the fifth-largest school district in the United States with more than 315,000 students, decided to start the school year with a full-time distance education instructional model as part of its Reopening Our Schools Plan due to health and safety concerns over the pandemic. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County will consider options for a child care/education program to help employees who have school-age children with distance learning, a supervisor’s spokesperson said Wednesday.

Supervisor Kristin Gaspar has proposed “learning hubs,” that would “use city-owned spaces to provide community learning in partnership with community-based providers,” according to her office.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to direct Helen Robbins-Meyer, chief administrative officer, to report back over the next few months with options for a learning hubs program. The county has nearly 18,000 employees.

San Diego County schools recently were given the green light to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. The county’s largest school district, San Diego Unified, started its new year online due to safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have an immediate opportunity to build upon this enterprise-wide effort and explore opportunities for on-site childcare,” Gaspar said in a statement.

Three weeks into distance learning have shown that technology struggles and slow WiFi systems “are just a few of the challenges I’ve heard from parents,” said Gaspar, who is the mother of three school-age children.

According to Gaspar’s office, possible learning hub locations would include county campuses, 33 library branches, Live Well centers, and Parks and Recreation facilities.

All library branches are equipped with the necessary technology and broadband or WiFi capacity to provide students “with the tools to be successful with online learning,” Gaspar said.

Learning hubs are being used in the city of San Francisco and address a lack of available child care and reliable technology, Gaspar told her colleagues during the Tuesday board meeting.

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