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Boys and Girls Club of Palm Beach County helps students with online learning

2020-21 school year in Palm Beach County will likely start with distance learning
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Posted at 3:20 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 16:16:18-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Students in Palm Beach County will likely start the 2020-21 school year with distance learning.

It's not a done deal, but it's proven to be a challenge for families with no internet or computer.

The Boys and Girls Club of Palm Beach County has learned how to adapt to the virtual learning environment, and 10-year-old Amir Bienaime actually enjoys it.

"When you’re at home, it’s just you and your mom is able to help you and guide you through it for you to be able to do it," Bienaime said.

But for some younger students and others who don’t have that support at home, online learning can be a challenge.

"Some kids that aren’t as tech savvy or aren’t as used to technology, or even if their parents English isn’t their first language, it’s a lot harder for them," said Alivia Latimore.

Latimore will be a senior next year and is also an employee for the Boys and Girls Club.

The 17-year-old is a bit disappointed she will likely start school next month virtually from home.

"I feel like we’re not getting the same amount or the same quality of education. I feel like there’s gaps missing," Latimore said.

After a survey with parents, the School District of Palm Beach County found 19% of households in the county do not have a laptop or tablet for every child in the home for distance learning.

To help close the digital divide, the Boys and Girls Club now has 58 active teachers helping students.

"That will be providing academic enrichment and tutoring to our kids, not only on site but also virtually," said Lotus Holem with the Boys and Girls Club of Palm Beach County.

The district is also working to provide better WiFi options for some communities and is handing out 82,000 additional laptops.

The Boys and Girls Club is in conversations about whether to extend its summer hours into the fall or go back to traditional hours.

That announcement will likely come after the Palm Beach County School Board makes its final decision on July 15 about the format of the 2020-21 school year and submits that plan to the state.