As the pandemic prolongs at-home learning, parents and guardians across the region are left to juggle the demands of childcare and work. Many of those who can afford to have hired private tutors and nannies, while some nonprofit after-school providers are stepping up to fill in the gaps.
The program at Life Time is being marketed as a learning assistance camp. Geers said counselors will help kids with basic tasks such as logging onto computers, but she is careful to tell parents that her employees are not offering formal instruction. For an extra fee, the company will provide tutors.
The cost of the camp for a gym member is $200 per week or $220 for a nonmember. A week of half days (8 a.m.-noon or noon-6 p.m.) is $115 for members and $138 for nonmembers. The one-day cost for members is $48 or $58 for nonmembers. The cost for a tutor is around $40 per hour.
A regular membership at Life Time costs $70 per month. Accounts were frozen in mid-March when gyms were forced to close to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some of the clubs have reopened outdoor pools and parts of the facility for summer camps.
Geers said the learning camps are structured to resemble a typical day at school, complete with the social interaction and physical activity lost with remote learning. Students must bring their own computer devices and headphones. Life Time provides individual spaces at least 6 feet apart, as well as basic supplies such as pens, crayons and scissors.
“When they’re not doing the virtual learning, we’ve got the enrichment activities that we’ve already been known for as far as rock climbing, swimming, gym games and sports, so the kids can also get that active piece,” Geers said
All children and employees must wear masks, and temperatures will be taken twice daily, according to a news release. The gym said it has adopted enhanced safety and cleaning protocols.
Around a dozen distance learning camp counselors and supervisors, in addition to a handful of tutors, are being hired at the company’s six locations in Rochester Hills, Shelby Township, Commerce Township, Troy, Novi and Canton.
Employees who worked at those locations prior to the pandemic were placed on furlough.
Geers said the camp employees are trained to work with children and certified in CPR and first aid. She said many of them are retired or soon-to-be teachers.
The cap is around 40 students per location. Geers said around 10 students have registered at each location so far. The camps will continue to run if gyms are reopened, which the governor has hinted might happen soon.
Those interested in the camps can register online.
“We’ve had a lot of inquiries,” Geers said. “If all those inquiries come through, we’d probably be pretty close to capacity.”