With a new school year approaching and many districts making the decision to modify instruction settings starting out, a community effort in Fort Worth aimed to better prepare families.
Six Road to Readiness Drive-Up Carnival events were held across the city on Saturday. It was hosted by the Best Place for Kids initiative and Read Fort Worth.
Elisa Rios is an event coordinator with United Community Centers.
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“Our main goal here is to provide families with resources or things to prepare them for this unprecedented times,” Rios said. “We have letters in curriculum bags that have information for students from kindergarten through third grade. We have books that we’re handing out also and Fort Worth ISD has given us flyers. It has information on how to access additional help for whenever they start doing their online protocols and things like that.”
Earlier this week, Fort Worth ISD officials announced they would be delaying the start of the school year until Sept. 8. The first four weeks will be held online and board leaders would have the option to extend virtual learning for an additional four weeks, if needed.
Venus Lyday is the parent of a Fort Worth ISD student. The ever-changing landscape of plans has been not been easy, she said.
“It’s just real frustrating, because we just don’t know, you know? It’s just frustrating like, ‘how are we going to do things?’ and ‘what we’re going to do?’ It’s a lot different than when I went to school or just last year,” Lyday said. “Change is like every month, every week. You kind of have to work with what you have.”
Lyday said in her family, childcare is not as large of an issue right now because of the work schedules between herself and her husband. However, that is not the case for some families.
Kara Waddell, CEO of Child Care Associates in Fort Worth, said they work with nearly 1,000 childcare programs across Tarrant County, along with 20 campuses of their own.
“I don’t know a single parent who doesn’t feel kind of overwhelmed. Am I going back to work? Am I working from home? And then you add in the needs of our children,” Waddell said. “Now that families know what’s happening at schools a little bit, they’re beginning to have to make their childcare choices for what they need for their school-age children and what they need for their younger children.”
One option Waddell suggested is through their website, which can help connect families with childcare programs that still have space available. The organization also just launched a survey for Tarrant County families.
Waddell said it will be available through Tuesday, Aug. 4.
“Having all families in Tarrant just fill that out will give us and school leaders and community leaders a great chance to know what families need,” she said.
According to event organizers Saturday, an estimated 3,000 students were assisted through the six “drive up carnivals”.