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Published September 30th, 2020
The REC Club - distance learning with a twist
Lillian Dillon enjoys the "back to school" atmosphere. Photo Jasmine Bateson

Moraga's Department of Parks and Recreation has found yet another way to keep the Hacienda de las Flores humming with activity during the coronavirus countywide health mandates.
The Remote Learning, Enrichment & Childcare Club was developed to help with distance learning for students grades K-8. The program, launched on Aug. 17, was created to provide children of the town's essential workers a place to study while their parents were called back to work, once it became evident that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction in the fall.
According to Recreation Supervisor Jasmine Bateson, after an informal survey of local parents' thoughts on the feasibility of the idea, the REC Club was born. Due to popular demand and room for only 24 students a lottery was used to fill the available spaces with a wait list for the rest.
"The virtual classrooms are set up in the Casita and La Sala buildings where the proctor/student ratio is two supervisors for every 12 students," Bateson explained. "The proctors are either college graduates or students from Saint Mary's College and California State University East Bay who provide the kids with technical assistance, schedule management, and monitoring completion of work. They do not act as a teacher or help the students in any way with their school work." Classes are in session from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Once the schoolwork has been completed, the REC Club converts to a recreation-based program with various activities such as science experiments, individualized arts and crafts, sports and more. The idea is to provide the students an environment much like the one they would have had if district schools were in session. Besides laptops, school books and other supplies, students must bring their own snacks, lunches, medications and masks.
The REC Club follows a strict health protocol during the day which begins with a COVID-19 screening procedure during each morning's check-in.
Parental feedback has been positive, and many students are enjoying the experience so much that they have asked their parents for later pickup times. Megan Dillon whose children, fourth-grader Lillian and second-grader William, attend REC Club had high praise. "They did a quick turnaround and answered to the crisis quicker than the schools did. Their COVID precautions are strictly followed. It's been invaluable to our family."
For more information visit www.moragarec.com.

William Dillon during a virtual class at the REC Club. Photo Jasmine Bateson

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