City proposes daytime programs aimed at helping families with school-aged kids

When the Edmonds School District announced distance learning for fall 2020, many parents sat down to do some hard thinking: How would they work and manage kids at home simultaneously.

The Edmonds City Council next Tuesday, Aug. 25 is set to consider a proposal from the City of Edmonds Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Department to approve staff for a new program called LEAP – Learning Enhancement & Activity Program. The goal of the program, which the city says has been under development for the past month, is to provide a safe and affordable, on-site recreation program that supports academic efforts for local, school-aged youth while Edmonds School District maintains distance learning.

The program repurposes the Frances Anderson Center (FAC) to support children entering second through sixth grade.

“The city can be a steward of our community and we saw this as an innovative way to redirect our community-owned facilities and staff to support our families, including those most in need, during this very challenging time,” said Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson. “Plus, I know our recreation staff really misses that daily community engagement as much as our community does.”

The program will operate Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and provide day camp activities while supporting Edmonds School District distance learning. It will group similar grade-level kids and staff into “weekly pods” in the FAC classrooms.

Children can be dropped off/picked up any time of the day with emphasis on pod room scheduling of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Room capacity varies from 10 to 24 and each room will have at least two staff members to provide a 1:10 staff/child ratio minimum. This ratio allows better safety practices, facilitation of distance learning support and will provide the ability to keep pods isolated from one another as much as possible to reduce potential COVID exposure. It also helps contain any potential outbreak to just one pod.

Supplemental programming would come from the city’s environmental education and cultural arts divisions as well as community partners like Sno-King Youth Club  to provide additional day camp programming.

Weekly registration is $300 or $345 for non-residents, with need-based full scholarships availability for a minimum of 20% of the participants. Program capacity is 100 participants.

On Tuesday, Aug. 25, the city will ask the council to approve two new positions that will allow the city to move forward with recruiting, hiring and training staff. The program is revenue neutral, the city said.

  1. I am absolutely against this. There is already a private and registered preschool/kindergarten as well as a daycare and dance classes in this building- now the City wants to have 100 grade age students and their families/staff circulating the tiny halls of the FAC? I will be addressing this with my son’s school who has been a long term tenant of the FAC. I do not feel comfortable sending him back if it’s going to basically have the same population as a mini school. Also “income neutral” is not a term – that would be NON PROFIT. At 300$ + a week per student, I highly doubt this is a Non-Profit venture. Not sure whose brilliant idea it was to pack an additional 100+ people at all hours of the day into this tiny little building, but appalled the families who already send their kids to school there were not even consulted.

  2. I support the city in this innovative use of our resources. Our families are in desperate need during this crisis– particularly our lowest income families.

  3. We already paid for a daytime program for parents with school aged kids. We call it SCHOOL. Let’s reopen the schools.

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