In the midst of the current pandemic, children in NOC’s summer program at Parkview in downtown Beaufort, and at ONYX and Avalon Shores in Bluffton have continued to study diligently, building their skills in math and reading. NOC started its summer program on June 8.
Since mid-March, many of these high-risk children did not participate actively in remote learning. Many of them lost contact with their local schools and teachers because they did not have access to personal computers and the internet, and they had limited support at home. NOC estimates that many of these children lost 50% to 75% of what they had learned over the past 12 months.
NOC has instituted strict safety and health standards at each center, following CDC and DHEC safety guidelines. This has been challenging for students, teachers, and NOC field staff. The children and staff wear masks and practice social distancing. Temperatures are taken as children arrive at the center. Children wash their hands hourly and they use hand sanitizers frequently. Materials are not shared by the children. During the two-hour session, children spend a brief period outside, engaged in exercise and activities following social distancing. At each center, the children receive healthy snacks and lunch is provided by the Beaufort County school system. Each center is cleaned thoroughly every day, following CDC guidelines.
It is wonderful to see these children in action and observe how they have adapted to a new setting and learning culture. They are cheerful and eager to learn, determined to forge ahead academically. This is special when local schools are closed and opportunities are limited. These children will continue to need help, given the uncertainty in schooling in the Fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic.