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Boys and Girls Club launches learning labs to help Houston students with online schooling

BGC Blue (Learning) Labs are popping up all over the Houston area and give virtual students academic learning support all day.

HOUSTON — Teachers, parents and students are doing their best to deal with the challenges that come along with virtual learning, and some organization are stepping up to help.

For example, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston.

This local branch of the global nonprofit group saw a need and created a new program to serve kids whose parents need to go back to work. 

The Blue (Learning) Labs popping up all over the Houston area give virtual students academic learning support all day.

"There’s that opportunity for socialization and contact with other people, having mentors, having a safe place to go to. But it’s also very much controlled as well," President and CEO Kevin Hattery of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston said.

Parents have to drop kids off; they can't walk them in. There are temperature checks and screening questions. When kids get inside, they are put in age-specific pods and maintain social distance.

"We have a promise to the community to serve as many kids as possible in the best way possible," Hattery said. "Our first priority with that is safety."

That also means non-stop cleaning and a constant supply of personal protective equipment. Combined with the extension from after-school to all-day programming, the costs add up.

"We’ve had a 10 percent increase in just the occupancy line, that’s where that would go, because it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars," says Hattery.

It's a price worth paying, though, so students can have a better learning experience and parents have a little less to worry about.

"You’re not going to have economic recovery without quality out-of-school time and after-school care," Hattery points out.

If you want to chip in, you can donate here.