Camp counselors at EVJCC's Camp Rimon wearing face guards this summer.

In light of a large spike in COVID-19 infections in Arizona, schools are pushing back their reopening schedules. Local Jewish community centers responded by instituting new options for working parents.

East Valley Jewish Community Center opens a new program August 3 focused on remote learning, and Martin Pear Jewish Community Center begins an extension of its existing afterschool program August 4 that will run the entire day.

The possible delays being discussed by area school boards, as well as the Arizona governor’s suggestion that the previously planned start date of August 17 will be reviewed, are behind the decision of both JCCs to create programming aimed at helping parents who find themselves suddenly needing a place for their children to go.

EVJCC’s program will be a place for kids in first through eighth grades to learn remotely while their parents are at work. The EVJCC is making space available for kids to work in small groups — complete with social distancing measures — and tutors available to help with schoolwork. The space is limited, and the registration deadline is July 13.

Along with its Camp Rimon two-week extension, this is a way “the EVJCC is working to help the East Valley families during this COVID-19 crisis,” said Rabbi Michael Beyo, EVJCC CEO.

MPJCC’s ‘Club J All Day’ also started in response to the delays for in-person school and will assist children with online learning. “This is a solid opportunity for the Martin Pear JCC to show its support for parents and K-8 children during this time and long after the pandemic ends,” read a press release introducing the program. The release also stated the program is an effort at job creation for education professionals who were affected by COVID-19.

“This program allows us to not only serve our community in providing high quality child supervision and online learning support, but it also gives us the ability to hire educators and other individuals who were impacted by the pandemic,” said Kim Subrin, MPJCC’s chief operating officer. JN

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