When classes resume in Springfield Public Schools August 24, students will only go in-person two days a week because of the pandemic. And some parents have opted to go to all virtual learning. A local healthcare system is going to offer its employees a place where their kids can continue to learn while they go to work.
CoxHealth’s Meyer Center will close its doors at the end of the business day Wednesday, August 12. And, when it reopens, it will be as a student care program for children of Cox employees.
"It becomes a tough thing when, a couple days a week, they may have some younger kids and not necessarily have backup child care options for them," said Andy Hedgpeth, vice-president of human resources at CoxHealth. "So, what we wanted to make sure is that our employees didn't have to choose between coming to work or not coming to work to stay home with their kids."
The student care program will feature a structured environment where students can attend classes virtually and be supervised by adults who can help with questions and offer support, according to CoxHealth. Cox is working with OTC, Drury and Evangel to provide tutors for students.
"Our number one priority is to make sure that our employees feel safe and secure coming to work and knowing that their kids as well are as safe and secure as possible, whether that's through a seated option in class or through our learning center facility that we're setting up," said Hedgpeth.
The program will run from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and is open to grades K through six. Parents are asked to preregister their kids by August 11. Daily fees for students will be based on their parents' hourly wages and will include meals.
Hedgpeth said many of the employees at the Meyer Center will work in the student care program.
He said they're looking at additional Cox facilities, including one near Cox North, to expand the program.
All memberships at the fitness center at the Meyer Center will automatically be canceled effective the closing date, according to CoxHealth. Those with a membership to the fitness center can transfer that membership to another CoxHealth fitness center.