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Distance learning camps in Vancouver to help working parents

Registration is now open for Vancouver residents.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — The City of Vancouver has come up with what its calling a "distance learning day camp" to help working parents. Registration opened on Tuesday for families living in Vancouver.

“We’re getting a lot of calls and we’re already getting registrations," said Angel Brosius, the Firstenburg Community Center director. "So I have a feeling we’re going to be filling up really fast."

Right now, Brosius said preparations are underway for the start of school.

"We have all the tables set up just like a classroom, social distanced, and also have the spaces to recreate and play," she said.

The Vancouver Parks and Recreation Department sent pictures from day camps that started earlier this month. Brosius said the success they’ve had with summer camps made it easy to consider transitioning to the distance learning day camps once school starts in September.

"The staff are already educated," she said. "The kids are already wearing their face coverings indoors and outdoors and they’re doing great."

Brosius said the community center is perfectly set up for kids with it being spacious with high ceilings. Windows let in daylight and can open up for fresh air. In addition, she said kids can play either in the gymnasium or outside.

Credit: Vancouver Parks & Recreation
Kids play in gym at community center during Vancouver Parks & Recreation summer camp

The Parks and Recreation Department is working closely with both Evergreen Public Schools as well as the Vancouver School District.

Starting September 8 working parents can drop off their kids in 1st-5th grades at either Firstenburg or Marshall Community Centers. Firstenburg camps will follow the Evergreen Public Schools learning schedule while Marshall camps will follow the Vancouver School District learning schedule. Each facility will take in 50 students from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Brosius said if there’s a lot of demand from parents, two more distance learning day camp sites could open up.

"They need to bring their own electronic devices and their chargers and pencils and paper, and of course we’re looking at purchasing all the backup chargers and things for kids when they miss them or forget them," she said.

She said kids will also need to bring their own lunch and snacks, though program officials are in talks with the school districts to see what can be done in the future. Brosius said high speed internet will be available and the two teachers in each classroom will help keep kids on track with their school work.  

Credit: Vancouver Parks & Recreation
Vancouver Parks & Recreation summer camp at community center

When it comes to safety, there will be 10 kids per classroom and everyone will have to wear masks both inside and when playing outside.

"When they come in we’re doing the health screening and the no-touch temperature check, using the sanitizer, then they’re going into very large classrooms with desks already spaced apart with their own supply cubby on their desk," Brosius said.

"We’re even asking the kids what school they go to so we can group school kids together from different elementary schools," she said. "We’re also grouping different family members."

Brosius said it’s obvious from running the summer camps that kids need the social and physical outlet.

“When they’re outside on the playground or in the gym, you just see all this pent up energy being released and they just need it,” she said.

Registration is week to week and as of Tuesday families living in Vancouver can register. Families not living in the city can register on Thursday.

The distance learning day camps will cost $190 per week for people living in Vancouver, while those living outside Vancouver will have to pay $219 per week.

Brosius said there are scholarships available for families in Vancouver who need help paying.

For more information, visit the City of Vancouver website.

You can also call 360-487-7001 for information between 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.