Unalaska Community Center Plans For After-School Programs
Unalaska's Community Center is planning to open registration for after-school programs later this week, although officials say an exact date has not yet been finalized.
Albert Burnham, recreation manager with the Department of Parks, Culture, and Recreation said after much deliberation, consideration of health regulations in response to the coronavirus, and discussion with the city, he and PCR staff have decided to go ahead with modified programs that will take place at Eagle's View Elementary Achigaalux and Unalaska High School.
"The school has graciously agreed to let us use some space in those facilities," said Burnham. "Which is more space than we would be able to provide here at the Community Center for all of those kids."
Burnham said that their KinderCamp program—which held its registration last spring—will be held at the elementary school and for now, only 10 kindergarteners will be enrolled, as opposed to the usual 12. There will be a modified PCR360 program as well, which is for first through fourth grade, and 15 spots will be available. In the program at the high school, Burnham said they can enroll 20 students, grades five through eight. He said the programs for first through eighth grade will no longer be drop-in based, to ensure capacity is not exceeded. High school students can call ahead to make reservations in the teen room and other facilities at the Community Center as well.
Everything will be registration-based to ensure that staff and children can practice safe social distancing, according to Burnham. And eventually the PCR is hoping to expand upon these after-school programs and open registration for some youth sports as well, which Burnham said he considers a vital resource for children and the community.
"As we were looking at the numbers today, it's [going to be] difficult—just managing the number of students per staff," said Burnham. "And we do have a small staff, but we're going to do everything we can do to accommodate as many kids as possible, because we know how important this is to folks."
The PCR does plan to bring on an additional emergency-hire staff member using funding Burnham said will likely come through the city’s COVID-19 response funds, allotted through the CARES Act grant. Burnham did not say when the PCR plans to bring the new staff member on board.
As he and his staff figure out how to best safely provide after-school programs, Burnham asked that the community remain patient. He suggested keeping an eye on the PCR's Facebook page to find out when the registration process will begin, as well as to learn about other programming the PCR may begin offering.