Columbia after-school program plans for the delayed start date of the school year

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COLUMBIA - After school programs have to make adjustments because of the Columbia school board’s vote to delay the start of the 2020-2021 school year. 

The school year now beings on September 8th.

This affects some after-school programs like Moving Ahead. 

Moving Ahead’s assistant program coordinator, Morgan Buscher, said that it has received a large demand in child care during this time.

The program usually has 150 kids enrolled. 

However, because of COVID-19 the state’s licensing standards only allows 50 children to be enrolled, according to Buscher. 

“When COVID struck state licensing changed the ratio standards that used to be one to 16. And now with one to 10. So we have one teacher in a classroom you can only have 10 kids, whereas before COVID hit we wouldn't be able to have up to 16. So we're going to have to maintain that capacity— that 50 kids capacity into the school year as well, unless the state licensing representatives tell us to operate differently.”

Moving Ahead said it chose the 50 kids through a first come, first serve basis. 

Buscher said Moving Ahead extended its summer program by two weeks after the program received the news about the CPS’ start date delay. 

“We had a feeling that they were going to push back the start of the school year.  So we went ahead and extended our summer to kind of help parents out and give them two more weeks where they could go to work—their kids have a normal routine, stuff like that. We just wanted to help parents out.”

Buscher explained that Moving Ahead will alternate groups of kids and what days they will come to control COVID-19 rates. 

The after school program will also have children assigned to one class room by age group, instead of having kids switch classrooms. 

According to Buscher, Moving Ahead will continue to practice safety measures from the summer into the school year.

These safety practices includes: 

  • Checking temperatures 
  • Children 10 and over are wearing masks 
  • Sanitizing frequently touched surfaces 
  • Sanitizing toys 
  • Students using their own school supplies 
  • And much more 

Moving forward, Moving Ahead is finalizing its enrollment, finding ways to tutor kids online and gearing up to start the school year.