Riverside School District 96 students are attending classes in-person only a couple of hours each day, but there are some students who won’t be going home for the remote-learning portion of the day.
Riverside Parks and Recreation is expanding the before and aftercare services it has provided to District 96 since 2017 in order to accommodate those families who need child care throughout the school day.
Last month, both the village and the school district inked an intergovernmental agreement for Riverside Parks and Rec to provide those services. The school district, for now, has decided against a similar agreement with the Brookfield Recreation Department to provide services to students at Hollywood School. Riverside’s program will include all of the district’s schools.
“This has been an ongoing conversation since March,” said Riverside Recreation Director Ron Malchiodi. “We knew people were going to have to go back to work. And even when you’re working from home and the kids are doing remote learning, it’s difficult to do both [as a parent].”
To serve families who have chosen the hybrid learning model and where both parents work, Riverside Parks and Rec staff will handle supervision of the remote-learning portion of the day, whether that’s the morning session, from 8:15 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. or the afternoon session, from 10:55 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We’ll facilitate the e-learning and provide homework assistance,” Malchiodi said.
Initially, the plan was to provide those services at each school, but with only 17 students signed up as the school year gets under way, kids will be transported by Riverside Parks and rec to either the Scout Cabin or the recreation offices at 10 Pine Ave. for remote learning.
Riverside Parks and Rec will also continue to provide before and aftercare services for families who need it, through the Early Risers Club, which meets from 7 to 8:15 a.m., and the Afternoon Fun Club, which runs from 3 to 4:15 p.m.
Malchiodi said the enrollment in the extended day program fell short of expectations, but that was also the case for the department’s summer camps.
“We’ve had to temper our expectations,” Malchiodi said. “There’s still a lot of hesitancy. I’d expect enrollment to pick up as confidence builds.”
Families will be able to enroll in the recreation department’s remote learning supervision service on an ongoing basis.
Riverside OKs tents outside schools
In another nod to the reality of operating schools during a pandemic, the Riverside Village Board of Trustees last month approved allowing all District 96 schools within the village as well as St. Mary School to erect and maintain tents outside of their buildings throughout the school year.
Village board action was necessary to allow the tents, since they are considered a special use in Riverside’s residential districts, where schools are located.
St. Mary School made a request to erect four 20-by-30-foot tents outside entrances where students would be screened daily before being allowed inside school. The tents, which are not fully enclosed, are also seen as potential spaces to hold outdoor classes or serve as outdoor lunch rooms.
The tents at St. Mary’s are up, but to date have gone unused due to the parish’s buildings being shut down after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 the day before full-day, in-person classes were to begin.
Riverside School District 96 requested approval for two tents for Ames School and one each for Blythe Park School, Central School and Hauser Junior High. The tents at Blythe Park and Central will be located behind the schools. Those at Hauser and Ames will be in front.
Some village trustees voiced concern about the tents being allowed to remain up throughout the school year, given the uncertainty of a full year’s worth of in-person learning.
In the end, trustees OK’d the tents but conditioned that approval on the tents being taken down if a school’s doors are closed for more than 30 days. Trustees also required furniture to be removed from the tents daily when school is not in session.