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YMCA In New Jersey Offering Program To Help Working Parents With Children Taking Online Classes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Back to school is right around the corner, but for some students that means staying home, which can be tough on working parents.

There's now a program in New Jersey designed to help parents work while students learn, CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reported.

"It's difficult to be a teacher right now and it's difficult to be a parent right now, and it's really difficult to be both," said Patty Wieder of Bridgewater.

Wieder is a high school music teacher in Jersey City and has two children.

She's preparing for all virtual learning for her students and her son, James, a first grader at Crim Primary School.

MORE: Gov. Murphy: Most Schools In New Jersey Planning Hybrid Start To Year

"It's just impossible. I cannot teach my students and help or watch my kids at the same time," she said.

Wieder was relieved to find a place where she believes James can get the attention he needs.

"He needs somebody to be sitting there, making sure he's paying attention, making sure he's logging into the right place, doing his work," she said.


James will be going to Somerville YMCA's School Age Child Care Program Virtual Learning Center.

"We will give them an opportunity to have access to Wi-Fi and desks in a safe and hygienic format with counselors that will be able to help them with their schoolwork," said Edward Norgard, director of membership and programs at Somerville YMCA.

Nogard is getting the program up and running.

The virtual learning center is split into quadrants. Each will have a plastic partition to keep the kids socially distance and confined to their own pod.

"Within that pod, it's never more than 10 children and one counselor," said Norgard.

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Norgard said the YMCA is working with three school districts: Somerville, Manville and Bridgewater-Raritan. It will expand the program based on need, he said.

The cost depends on the district, but teachers do get a discount. Prices average around $40-$50 per day.

Scheduling is tailored to each student and family.

LINK: CLICK HERE for more information about Somerville YMCA's School Age Child Care programs and to register for care.

"Knowing everyone is in a different situation, we want to make it work for them. We want to be able to be the catalyst that helps families get back to work and moving again," said Norgard.

All branches within Greater Somerset YMCA are running a similar program.

"I felt nervous at first, but then I got better," said James Wieder.

"My hope, anyway, is that it will be almost as good as being physically in school," Patty said.

Norgard said the counselors are young adults, some pursuing degrees in early education and social work.

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