What do you do when faculties shut their after-school applications? Town of Self-defense has a solution

While many families found it a relief to have their students learn in person again, some faced a new challenge.

Guilford County Schools has not opened its ACES after-school program for the 2020-2021 school year.

The district website said the decision was made due to concerns about COVID-19 exposure by students between grade levels while they were gathering for the program. It is also said that the schools will be thoroughly cleaned in the late afternoon, which would affect the functionality of the program.

The City of Self-defense is helping to fill the gap.

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“You know, we said, ‘We’re going to have afterschool. We will continue to offer afterschool. ‘We trained. We made sure we had extra staff and cleaning guidelines, and we made sure the park and recreational staff felt safe doing it, ”said Kristen Herndon.

Herndon is the director of facilities and watersports for Self-defense Parks and Recreation.

The city opened up this option to families when the first grades began personal learning again last fall.

Participating students are required to wear face masks and bring their own refillable water bottle and snack. They are also not allowed to share school supplies. The staff check the temperatures for each student every day.

“We also need to pick up and drop off outside of the building to follow CDC guidelines. We practice hand washing and disinfecting. We also keep participants who are in after school in small cohorts so that they only see the same people week after week. “Herndon explained.

She says the program has been a success so far, but it also means adapting as they learn what works.

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“Everything, to be honest, knocked on wood, went really smoothly. But I also think when we turn to this new normal, we pick up things that the Guilford County Schools do and look at the National Parks Association for some tips and tricks, and we just roll with me think everyone does. We’re safe, but we’re just rolling with our punches, ”said Herndon.

Last summer, the city of Self-defense virtually postponed most of its programs and canceled in-person events for students due to the pandemic. So it was a welcome change to be able to offer this service and to be with the children again.

“I think there is a bit of normalcy to parents, children and our employees. We missed them as much as they missed us. I think it helps to give parents the opportunity to work and when they are not working just give them the mental and physical break they need and we are happy to provide this for them, “said you.

The after-school programs are offered at the Lindley, Brown, Leonard, Lewis and Griffin Leisure Centers. Capacity is limited to about 15 students per location, and city officials expect more spots to be filled when middle school students are back in person. Children aged 5 to 12 are eligible. The program is open Monday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Visit the Self-defense Parks and Recreation website for more information.

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