MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The decision is a life changer. And it’s all because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
For single parents in Memphis, life just got even more difficult.
Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris says, “Either they go to work and have to figure out where the kids will go, or they stay home and they miss their abilities to earn a living and take care of the family,” he says.
Once Shelby County Schools announced they would, at least, start the school year with virtual (computer) classes, the door to poverty opened wider.
This is why Mayor Harris and others in his administration started, what he calls, Virtual Learning Academy. It’s for the 5 to 10-year-old children of Shelby County employees.
“We know that a lot of folks need childcare. Shelby County Government is one of the largest employers in town. We’re doing our part to provide some solutions for our employees.”
There will be two locations to be determined. Maybe two dozen children will be in each academy. They’ll be given masks, kept socially distant, and there will be someone there to help.
They are really aiming at the 5 to 10-year-olds. “Of course, over 10 is a different dynamic. Under 5 is a different dynamic too, because those kids are normally not at school.”
The Mayor says the YMCA in Shelby County is planning for virtual learning academies. He doesn’t think it will end there.
“We think there are other large employers that are going to build up their virtual academies over the next couple of weeks. And, of course, the YMCA is building several virtual academies for the community at large.”
They are still working on finalizing plans.