Back-to-school partnerships: Helping families find quality, affordable child care

We know that some families will encounter new child care concerns with the predominantly virtual learning model HCPS will use to start the school year. HCPS is working with its established partners to help families who need daily child care find quality, affordable programming. While this is a new initiative, brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s consistent with the efforts we make during “normal” school years to connect families to quality, affordable after-school programming. 

To address these new concerns, we are working with three HCPS partners who are already licensed to provide care in HCPS schools. The YMCA of Greater Richmond, the Henrico Education Foundation and Henrico PAL (Police Athletic League) have reimagined their traditional “after-school” models as “full-day” programs to meet the community needs posed by a virtual school day. These three providers currently operate after-school programs in many of our school buildings. 

The small programs can prioritize safety in ways that are not possible at this time for a general school population. They will be limited in scale to conform to CDC guidelines, and will serve far fewer children. Students will be in the same small groups all day, in dedicated areas of the school, including a dedicated classroom or instructional space for each group. These areas will undergo frequent intensive cleaning. Transportation will be provided by families, avoiding the risks associated with transporting large groups of students together using HCPS’ bus fleet.

These partners will provide their own staffing models and determine the capacity for their programs, within the guidelines of the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Department of Education, the CDC and HCPS. The typical ratio of students to adults in the child care setting is 10-to-one.

While some HCPS teachers will be working in their classrooms, conducting virtual classes and offering limited in-person instruction for students, plans for in-school child care programs will take this capacity into account and won’t detract from “regular” HCPS programming or safety. The in-school child care programs also won’t interfere with any plans to incorporate more in-person student attendance, as conditions allow.

Please do not contact the host schools for information. Contact the child care providers directly for specific details.

Henrico PAL

Henrico PAL, in partnership with HCPS, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, is planning a full-time child care program, Monday-Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Transportation will not be provided for this program, and parents must drop off and pick up children at curbside (late pickup fees will apply). Programming will consist of support for HCPS virtual learning, as well as Henrico PAL programs such as STEAM sconcepts, chess, dance, art and financial literacy. While the new program is operating, PAL’s regular after-school program will not be offered. The program is open to children in kindergarten through fifth grade. The cost of the program is $100 per week per child. 

Henrico PAL sites:

  • Laburnum Elementary School
  • John Rolfe Middle School
  • Dumbarton Elementary School

For more information, go to Henrico PAL’s child-care information page.

Henrico Education Foundation

This program will operate from 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Students will participate in virtual learning activities during the school day, and after-school recreational activities each afternoon. Staff will work closely with HCPS to support classroom teachers’ facilitation of virtual learning. Children will be provided with two snacks each day and lunch will be available for a fee. The Fair Oaks, Greenwood and Wilder sites will serve Henrico County children in kindergarten through fifth grade, while the Quioccasin site will serve children of HCPS employees who fall into the same age group. The cost of the program is $100 per week per child. Program sites are:

  • Fair Oaks Elementary School. 
  • Greenwood Elementary School.
  • L. Douglas Wilder Middle School.
  • Quioccasin Middle School (For children of HCPS staff members. Employees received an email about how to register.)

For more information and to register, go to HEF’s school enrichment program page or contact HEF’s Scott Williams at scott@henricogives.org.

YMCA of Greater Richmond

The YMCA is planning programming options across the Richmond area to accommodate school systems using a predominantly virtual format. The program in HCPS facilities will be open for essential employees (including teachers) and working families who need support during the virtual school day. The program will operate Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m.-6 p.m., and will be adaptable to meet students’ virtual classroom schedules. The later portion of the day will include enrichment opportunities such as STEAM concepts, drumming, dance, computer coding, cooking, poetry and a variety of other activities. The program is for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. The cost of the program is $100 per week per child. 

YMCA program sites:

  • Deep Run High School.
  • Glen Allen High School.
  • Mills Godwin High School.
  • Henrico High School.
  • Hermitage High School.
  • Varina High School.

For more information, go to the YMCA’s HCPS Student Success Centers page.

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