South Bay day camp offers parents support with children's distance learning

The COVID era is bringing something new for children: fall day camp.

Distance learning was tough on many students, teachers, and parents.

Now in the South Bay, parents can pay someone else to watch after their child as the students learn online.
"I think this is going to be a lifesaver for working parents," said Sheena Comarsh, AVAC's Summer Camp Manager.
Almaden Valley Athletic Club, or AVAC, in San Jose already runs summer day camps.

Now the fitness center and swim school is converting its group workout room into four classrooms to host elementary school students this fall.

Starting next month, it will offer "Support for Online School Camps", also known as "S-O-S Camps."
"I hope we can just do something for the parents and help out the teachers, be their tech support and be able to have their passwords on hand so we can log back in and keep them focused," said Comarsh.
For up to three days a week, parents can pay $300 weekly to drop off their child and have camp counselors handle the distance learning for the first half of the school day.

AVAC's General Manager Jeff Griffith-Jones says after sending out an email about the new program, he got 60 responses immediately and many from parents with questions about the schedule and safety measures in place.

Griffith-Jones says the facility will continue following the current summer camp guidance.

The club has reached out to three local school districts, San Jose Unified, Cambrian and Union, to learn more about the still-evolving school schedule and plans to facilitate groups of 12 students through lunch.
"The kids will follow their own school schedule, log-in via Zoom or whatever platform they're using, then take recess, art projects, P.E. That's what we'll lead the kids through," said Griffith-Jones.
He says the fitness center is pivoting to both help working parents and to help his business' bottom line, saying since March revenue has been cut in half.
"We're a small local business. We've been here since 1976. We're just trying to stay in business. And because we have an indoor fitness facility, we're about last on the list that's able to open so this is just one other idea we had," said Griffith-Jones.

He notes there are two children all set to be enrolled: his 7-year-old and 9-year-old sons.