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LIST: Local groups launching programs to help parents, kids manage upcoming school year

Posted at 6:55 AM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 18:25:41-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — As Hillsborough County Schools announced they would be going to virtual learning for all students for four weeks, we know that can be a struggle for parents and students.

Many kids we spoke with during our virtual roundtables said E-learning was a challenge for them.

We're compiling a list of organizations that are creating new programs to help parents with childcare options, manage a switch to virtual learning during this unusual time, and to help kids make sure they get the education help they need.


  • Camp Doublemint and Doublemint Sitting are hosting options for kids to help with their virtual learning.
    • The owners tell us both programs have different options to help parents with childcare during the pandemic for the upcoming school year.
    • Camp Doublemint is for children ages one to six, Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    • It fills up after 10 children, so you have to register to save a spot.
    • Doublemint Sitting is a referral-based babysitting agency.
    • Sitters can offer families help with schoolwork.

“If a family is looking for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. help, we can offer our babysitter to go and help and do schoolwork. Some families are just asking from the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. time frame, so they’ll do the school work with the children then they need to do some of their work,” said Synthia Fairman, CoFounder of Doublemint Sitting and Camp Doublemint.

  • Sky Zone Tampa is hosting a Study Zone, available in all-day or half-day options


  • Little Explorers Palm Harbor is opening a new "Explore More" program for kids ages four to seven.
    • The virtual Explore More program is an online VPK opportunity led by a certified teacher with interactive lessons.
    • It will be with eight families, twice a week, for 45 minutes.
    • The in-person Explore More program will be for kids ages four to seven once a week with the same families.
    • It’s math, science, and literacy-focused.

“Our space is from the get-go a place where you can find community. I know that the pandemic has shown that that’s what we’re missing. The lack of socialization has created that need of community,” said Little Explorers Founder Caroline Sakla.

  • The City of Largo is launching the Virtual Learners Child Care Program for kids.
    • The program will be at both Highland and Southwest Recreation complexes.
    • There will be one staff member for every 10 children in a classroom setting.
    • The staff member is there to keep students on task, answer simple questions, and help with technical difficulties.
    • It starts August 24 and is for Pinellas County students enrolled in MyPCS Online.
    • The program is open to students grades kindergarten and up, but children have to be able to work independently.

“This is one other thing that’s there to be able to give them that reassurance and allow parents to get back to work and have a state life again,” said Krista Pincince, Assistant Director of Recreation, Parks & Arts for the City of Largo.

This story will be updated as we learn more, check back for updates