KidzToPros on-site summer camps offer essential back-to-school lessons on how to avoid COVID-19 outbreaks in the classroom
FREMONT, Calif – As KidzToPros wrapped up its final day of on-site summer camps at 10 Bay Area schools on Friday, campers and instructors celebrated a groundbreaking achievement: None of the 3,045 registered campers or the 253 staff tested positive for COVID-19 during the two-month run of the camps.
“At KidzToPros, we believe that enrichment programming provides the essential building blocks that children need to succeed in school and beyond,” Co-Founder and CEO Pooja Shah said. “COVID-19 continues to take so much from our lives, but we were determined to not let the virus steal these important educational opportunities from Bay Area children.”
When schools began to shutter in March as cases surged across the country, KidzToPros designed a series of Live Online programs that allowed more than 3,500 students to participate in real-time instruction that provided a balance of learning, enrichment and fun. That framework continued into Live Online Summer Camps (which will continue to be offered through Sept. 4), but KidzToPros leaders realized that virtual programming was not meeting the needs of all families.
As a parent herself, Shah also realized the importance of in-person summer programming for families in need of respite or those worried about the effects of isolation on their child’s behavior.
A recent study from the American Psychological Association revealed that 71 percent of U.S. parents were worried about the impact the pandemic has had on their child’s social development and 60 percent of parents said they had no idea how they would keep their child occupied all summer long.
The KidzToPros team worked closely with each of the 10 host schools and health officials to craft guidelines that would guarantee the safety of campers, staff and their families. Because the schools were spread across the Bay Area, KidzToPros tracked the constantly evolving health guidelines from four separate counties to create the protocols.
The health guidelines were provided to all parents ahead of the first day of camp and were based on three-week sessions with “stable cohorts” of campers comprising 12 or fewer children. Campers and instructors were not permitted to change cohorts or interact with individuals from other cohorts, and social distancing was practiced within each cohort.
KidzToPros staff was trained extensively on protocols and provided PPE gear, CDC-approved cleaning and sanitizing products and non-contact forehead thermometers.
“Our instructors always play a critical role in creating a positive learning experience for our students,” Shah said. “Between igniting curiosity and sharing their passions with students, our instructors were asked to take on a monumental new task of ensuring the health and safety of all camp participants. We could not have successfully offered these on-site summer camps without their support.”
Among the other protocols in place at KidzToPros on-site summer camps: All participants were required to wear masks while indoors and outdoors; temperatures were checked daily; handwashing was required at least 6 times per day; Instructors and campers were screened for COVID-19 symptoms; all equipment was cleaned regularly; drop-off and pick-up times were staggered; sports camps were focused on individual skill-based activities rather than scrimmages; campers were required to bring their own food and were not permitted to share.
KidzToPros can now be looked at as an example as schools across the country grapple with how to safely bring students back into the classroom. Campers, parents and instructors agreed that the safety precautions were well worth the in-person experience and personal interaction.
“My first grader had a great time at Wonder Robotics this summer,” one parent said. “He loved learning how to program robots, but says his favorite part of camp was eating lunch and having conversations with other kids. As a parent, the temperature checks, consistent hand-washing, mask wearing, small groups, and social distancing practices made me feel safe.”
KidzToPros has released its safety protocols for staff and students to its partner schools and school districts on what they have learned about offering in-person education and enrichment.
ABOUT KIDZTOPROS: KidzToPros is an educational enrichment provider that was built on the idea that kids learn best when they’re happy, healthy and active. Since it was founded in 2016 by Pooja Shah and Shane Fernandes, KidzToPros has helped more than 25,000 children explore interests ranging from coding to art skills. KidzToPros now provides after-school programming, summer camps and homeschooling support through partnerships with more than 350 schools and more than a dozen parks and recreation departments across the country. For more information, visit kidztopros.com.
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