LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Buses remained parked and school hallways were deserted, but learning resumed for Jefferson County Public Schools students Tuesday. Instruction is online for the start of the year. For some parents relying on the community for outside support of Non-Traditional Instruction, the return of classes did mean their kids left the house.
Places like Wesley House Community Services on Preston Highway are offering free support to families in need. Leaders of the non-profit said it only has limited spaces left. They add the first day of learning brought some of the same joys as seeing friends and going back to school in a normal year.
“You could just see the excitement,” Patricia Williams, Wesley House Community Services President, and CEO said. “I think they’re just like us. We’re pretty much over it. Now, even those who didn’t like being out in public and aren’t necessarily extroverts, I think we all want to get out and just hug everybody.”
The sanitizer and masks inside the classroom were a reminder though that hugs will have to wait and the struggles many families are facing are still in full force.
"Myself, being a single parent, the end of last year, trying to juggle being an employee, being a mom, being a teacher, It's difficult trying to find balance, especially where you're not really qualified to be a teacher," Williams said.
Williams adds that's why the nonprofit opened it's doors as a community learning hub – offering free NTI support four days a week, throughout the day, for parents in need.
"We're getting some calls this morning because some folks thought, I'd be fine and we could have them at home, and now they're like, can we bring our kids tomorrow," she said.
Williams said there have been some minor kinks on day one, like issues connecting to the classroom using JCPS chosen software. But she thinks those may be tied to more JCPS students being issued Chromebooks this fall and trying to all go online at once. These are problems Williams sees as being easily fixed and she said that students are doing just fine with the help of teachers that are going above and beyond.
"I have a new-found respect and appreciation for educators and what they do," she said.
The non-profit also served older students and adults by offering education, employment, and economic mobility services.