Students in the Queen City will soon have an added resource to help them through remote learning.
“The biggest beneficiaries of this in the city of Buffalo will be students and families in Buffalo’s public and charter schools,” said Say Yes Buffalo Executive Director David Rust.
Come Monday, virtual learning support centers will start popping up across Buffalo in an effort to help students continue their education during the pandemic.
“These are places where kids can be supervised, be safe, be healthy, all that but it’s also about access to technology and healthy meals and all that kind of stuff too,” said Dan Cross-Viola, the director of extended learning and quality improvement at Say Yes Buffalo.
Funds from the CARES Act will help establish as many as 52 virtual learning centers in the city that will provide supervision for students during school days, allow them to participate in their remote instruction, have meals, have access to WiFi, and receive social-emotional support.
“They need to know that they can come somewhere that they feel emotionally safe, physically safe, so that they can also learn,” said Kate Hillman, the executive director of West Side Community Services.
Students in kindergarten through 8th grade will be eligible to enroll in this program, which will be offered at no cost to families with an income at or under 85% of the New York State Median Income. If your family’s income is higher than that, you may be charged a participation fee.
Buffalo Public Schools and Say Yes Buffalo announced the formation of the program outside West Side Community Services, which will host one of the learning centers.
Hillman said, “We have two janitorial staff on throughout the morning as well as in the afternoon to be doing constant disinfection, sanitizing, cleanup, as well as doing that throughout the day, staff will be doing that throughout the day.”
Each site will have capacity requirements due to COVID-19 and other safety protocols in place like health checks at arrival and dismissal. The learning centers will be in operation from October 5 to the end of December.
“We have at our disposal now options for children to engage in their education which is guaranteed to them as a fundamental tenet of our democracy,” said Erie County Deputy Executive Maria Whyte.
To find out what locations will be learning centers and how you can register, visit the Say Yes Buffalo website.