Parents that work out of the home have a real challenge as all three Huntsville area school systems resort to virtual learning for (at least) the first part of the year thanks to Madison County’s high Covid-19 contagion rate. Several local businesses have expanded their services to provide support for these new virtual students, be it for the first term, the first semester, or all year.
Big thanks to the Huntsville Madison County Chamber for their help putting this list together and their work with area employers on their Childcare Taskforce. We’ll keep adding to this list as we learn about new options, so be sure to check back often – if you know of a business we missed, leave a comment below and we’ll get it added!
NOTE: the businesses listed below are those that have added to existing programs or have created new ones specifically for the required virtual school this Fall. You can find our complete list of local childcare providers in our Child Care Directory.
Huntsville Organizations Offering Additional Childcare During Virtual Learning
Huntsville STEAM Works – this new distance learning support program is for kids in grades K-12 and includes a supervised learning environment in which they can participate in their virtual classrooms and receive individualized assistance as they complete assignments. Full-day, half-day, and partial week options are available.
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center – This program offers a safe place for virtual learners and is designed to support local families with a solution for working parents in our community. In addition to study periods for work on school assignments, reading, puzzles, or other quiet work, Day Campers enjoy fun physical education activities, science and STEM hands-on activities, movies, and every so often a visit to the INTUITIVE® Planetarium. A light breakfast and lunch are also provided. $249/week; Register online
Huntsville Botanical Garden –
The Boys & Girls Club of North AL – Club Academy is an all-day classroom setting at local clubs for youth who need guided learning options. Adult school support, STEAM learning labs, wi-fi, meals, and even PE classes are available to BGCNA members. Call 256-534-6060 for details about how to join, or to donate to a club program.
Premier Preschool – offering a school-aged day program for kids ages 5-12 at both the Research Park and Madison campuses. Care available from 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM. Weekly rate is $200 for 5 days and $125 for 3 days.
The Matrix Gym Virtual School Day Camp – K-6th grade with two options: 8:00am-3:00pm OR 8:00am-5:00pm. Beginning Monday, August 17, The Matrix is excited to provide an option for students who thrive on a daily schedule and for families who need a childcare option for the first 9 weeks of school, or possibly longer. They include dedicated daily study time led by UAH Graduate student, daily quiet time, snacks, and a PE or gymnastics class. Register online or call 256-533-5599.
UAH Early Learning Center/RISE Program
This beloved UAH program is now also accepting 5 and 6 year olds for Fall due to local schools closing for virtual learning. Call 256-824-4760 for more information or to inquire about enrollment.
Hope Community Church Ministries – Offering an Onsite Learning Program for students in grades K-6. The hours of operation are 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday beginning Aug 17-Oct 29. If you are interested call 256 534-8780 or complete the online registration form.
Kollide – a local business offering help for families needing childcare and academic support during the temporary virtual school. Team members are background checked, insured, and trained to work in an educational environment. Space is limited.
Impulse Performing Arts School Day Camp -Available for those looking for K-6th grade childcare during school/work hours, this program is for families who need a childcare option for the first 9 weeks of school, or possibly longer. Program Highlights: Dedicated daily study time led by adults and instructors; dedicated daily quiet/reading time; weekly price includes 2 daily snacks, performing arts activities, and dance fitness for kids. Tuition 5 Days a week: $135 | Daily Drop-In: $35/day.
Arsenal BJJ Learning Pods
offering learning pods for the first 9 weeks of school to support virtual learning and homeschool families with students ages 9-14. The 3-hour pods are offered twice a day, for one to two times a week and will be a combination of unconventional study hall with physical activity, student presentations and the occasional dance parties. Cost is $25-50 per week. Register online or call 256-384-5715.
Ashlee Grove & Associates – this local business is offering three tiers of support for families who choose to “pod up” with 3-6 other students for five to ten months. Cost ranges from $250 – $550 and includes virtual and in-person assistance from a professional for both homeschooling and schooling-at-home scenarios.
Summer Sitters Club – Initially a summer service, this group of Huntsville substitute teachers and childcare providers have joined forces for families in Huntsville City Schools to provide academic services for students doing virtual schooling. The best part? You know these teachers have already been vetted and background checked by HCS. Click the link to see their Google forms or call Erin at 256-631-8383 for questions.
Other Resources for Work-Outside-the-Home Parents
These Facebook Support Groups
No matter what school option your family is doing, there’s a support group for that! These local groups are a wealth of information, and you might even find a new family to add to your Corona Pod or Quarantine Bubble the next few months! Some of them also are connecting retired and substitute teachers with family groups to provide some hands-on IRL help.
Background Checks for Pods
Speaking of pods… If you are considering “podding up” with other families, now is a great time to go ahead and get a background check via Secure Volunteer ID. Not only would it provide a level of peace of mind for families in your Virtual Learning pod, this also allows parents to volunteer inside the school for one year, and includes a pretty thorough background check for $16. (This must be renewed every year.)
It’s easy and online but it does take a few weeks to process.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Signed into law last March, this allows for up to 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave when an employee is unable to work “due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.”
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