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YMCA after-school programs adapt to pandemic

Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 5:17 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The South Dakota Department of Health reported 124 new cases of COVID-19 within K-12 schools on Monday. Soon Rapid City Schools will be starting, meaning so do after school programs, but with COVID-19, these programs are changing.

After school programs, which Executive Director of the YMCA Roger Gallimore says, are important.

“These programs are critically important I think study after study demonstrates the value of out of school time programs particularly in augmenting academic growth but also enrichment growth,” says Gallimore.

But with COVID-19, things are changing at the YMCA.

Typically, the Y’s summer programs end the week before school starts, but with school being pushed back, a new program had to be created.

“What we did was created a new program called ‘YEP,’ youth experience program, where kids get to experience all sorts of different types of activities for all-day programs up until Sept. 8 when school begins,” says Gallimore.

When it comes to masks, the YMCA worked with the district to have a three-level plan that matched.

The YMCA’s three-level plan for masks:

  • The district’s level one means Kids Stop and Sundowners work as usual.
  • Level two, when half the kids are in school, the other half will be at the Y, with everyone in their regular spots on Fridays.
  • Level three moves everyone to the Y.

“But as the program grows, we’re faced with a challenge, we’re working with partners in the community and other facilities to try to extend other areas where we can have kids go through the programming, so that’s underway,” says Gallimore.

The YMCA will incorporate e-learning into the programs with tutors to help kids grow academically.

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