A program providing for children of low-income families to receive both child care and education at 50 learning centers sited at parks across Los Angeles while their parents return to work formally began Thursday.
The Los Angeles City Council last week approved a plan by Council President Nury Martinez to provide $30 million in free childcare relief for low-income working mothers during the pandemic — the “Safer at Parks Alternative Learning Centers” and “RAPS After School Program.”
The $10 million Alternative Learning Sites program was introduced Thursday morning in Van Nuys.
Martinez and the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks collaborated to create 50 Alternative Learning Centers functioning as educational child care centers at city parks in order to ease the burden on working mothers during COVID-19 and provide a place for children with limited internet access or space at home to effectively do their school work, according to Martinez.
The Alternative Learning Centers are operating weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Martinez said.
The centers provide supervised learning spaces, free internet, breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack, recreational activities and more, Martinez said. Registration is open at laparks.org.
The Alternative Learning Centers are designed to ensure that students have access to resources so that they are able to reach their academic goals in a safe and supportive environment, Martinez said.
All learning centers follow safety protocols, including daily screenings of youth and staff on arrival, face-covering requirement, work to be conducted by small groups, sanitizing breaks, frequent hand washing, rotation to outdoor space, with all activities to be adapted for physical distancing and no direct contact permitted, according to Martinez.
“During COVID-19, securing childcare is an enormous burden and concern for all working women, but for working-poor mothers it is utterly impossible to navigate without sacrificing food and rent or the health and safety of their families,” Martinez said.
“These Alternative Learning Sites provide a solution, while allowing our students, many who do not have Wi-Fi or the space to effectively study at home, a place to get fed, do their schoolwork and stay active in a socially distanced environment.”
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