In response to COVID-19, school districts across the country are conducting classes fully or partially on-line during the 2020-2021 school year. Many families with resources have paid instructors to supervise their children in “pods”, while parents with flexible jobs can supervise children themselves. However, children whose parents do not have the resources or flexibility for these options – including disproportionately large numbers of minority students – cannot equally benefit from virtual schooling. Educators believe the different learning outcomes that will result from different access to technology and adult supervision during remote learning will exacerbate existing education gaps.
When it became clear that many districts would require some amount of virtual schooling in the fall, Partners for Sacred Places and project partner LoftySpot, began contacting sacred places to find sites that have the physical capacity to safely host groups of children for remote learning. Both parties realized that the underutilized space in sacred places could be a solution to the problem of providing safe learning environments during social distancing. We call this program Community Learning Hubs in Sacred Places.
All Hubs must adhere to current CDC safety guidelines, including:
- Social distancing
- Consistent cohorts
- Hand hygiene
- Face coverings for all children and staff except during meal times
- Disinfection of frequently touched surfaces
Partners for Sacred Places and Loftyspot are currently seeking funds to open additional Hubs. While sacred places have shown themselves to be incredibly generous, opening their sites to the larger community, it will take a coordinated effort between sacred places, philanthropy, government, and the private sector to address this need. News will be added to this site as Hubs are opened.