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County Explores ‘Learning Hubs’ As Option For Distance Learning Program

A student participating in a distance learning virtual class during the COVID...

Photo by Ross D. Franklin / AP

Above: A student participating in a distance learning virtual class during the COVID-19 pandemic in this file photo taken Sept. 2, 2020.

San Diego County will consider options for a child care/education program to help employees who have school-age children with distance learning, a supervisor's spokesperson said Wednesday.

Supervisor Kristin Gaspar has proposed "learning hubs," that would "use city-owned spaces to provide community learning in partnership with community-based providers," according to her office.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to direct Helen Robbins-Meyer, chief administrative officer, to report back over the next few months with options for a learning hubs program. The county has nearly 18,000 employees.

San Diego County schools were recently given the green light to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. The county's largest school district, San Diego Unified, started its new year online due to safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have an immediate opportunity to build upon this enterprise-wide effort and explore opportunities for on-site childcare," Gaspar said in a statement.

Three weeks into distance learning have shown that technology struggles and slow WiFi systems "are just a few of the challenges I've heard from parents," said Gaspar, who is the mother of three school-age children.

According to Gaspar's office, possible learning hub locations would include county campuses, 33 library branches, Live Well centers, and Parks and Recreation facilities.

All library branches are equipped with the necessary technology and broadband or WiFi capacity to provide students "with the tools to be successful with online learning," Gaspar said.

Learning hubs are being used in the city of San Francisco and address a lack of available child care and reliable technology, Gaspar told her colleagues during the Tuesday board meeting.

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