The City of Los Angeles Thursday will formally launch a program providing for children of low-income families to receive both childcare and education at 50 learning centers sited at parks across the city while their parents return to work.
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 moms during the pandemic — the “Safer at Parks Alternative Learning Centers and RAPS After School Program. The component being introduced this morning in Van Nuys is the $10 million Alternative Learning Sites program.
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 to provide a place for children with limited internet access or space at home to effectively do their school work, according to a statement.
“The Alternative Learning Centers are now open and operating at 50 park facilities across the City for elementary and middle school students, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” a statement said. “Learning programs include supervised learning spaces, free internet, breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack, recreational activities and more. Registration is now 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,” the statement added.
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, the statement said, adding that the Department of Recreation and Parks in August concluded its summer youth camp program — Summer Play LA — where many of the same protocols were in effect.
“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 WiFi or the space to effectively study at home, a place to get fed, do their schoolwork and stay active in a socially distanced environment.”
Thursday morning, Martinez and Recreation & Parks Chief of Staff will hold a news conference at 9 a.m. at Delano Recreation Center at 15100 Erwin Street in Van Nuys, where parents will be dropping off children for the day.
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