CHICAGO (CBS) — Demand for childcare is skyrocketing across the city as working parents struggle with remote schooling.  Some parents have been sending their kids to childcare sites where they can take their classes online under an adult’s supervision; masked and socially distanced.

To see how it works, CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas took a tour of one such facility that’s opening on Tuesday.

Temperature checks, hand sanitizer, daily deep cleaning; those are just a few of the tools needed to create the supervised e-learning center.

Addie Goodman leads the Jewish Community Center of Chicago, the nonprofit behind the J at School program.

“I can’t find my Zoom link, or I suddenly can’t hear them; all the troubleshooting parents would be burdened with at home, we’re gonna take care of that here,” Goodman said.

How does it work?

Goodman said everyone will have their own work station. Kids in the program will go about their respective school days remotely in classrooms under the supervision of JCC staff members. No more than 14 kids and one or two supervisors are allowed in each room.

“Every student who attends will be receiving a complimentary sort of starter pack,” Goodman said.

Whenever students are in the building, they will be required to social distance and wear a mask, except when they’re eating.

About 30 kids have signed up at the location near Halsted and Clybourn, and staff said they can take about 40 more.

“As registration continues to build over the coming weeks, we’ll open our other locations,” Goodman said.

Chicago Public Schools launched six of their own supervision sites for students in poverty or challenging living situations. Those are free, but there’s only about 240 spots open for now, and many families were denied.

The JCC program charges $65 per day. Goodman said, in some cases, they can offer scholarships or financial aid.

For parents who might be struggling financially, and can’t afford the cost of the program, Goodman said, “Please let us know what your needs are, and what you’re able to pay from a financial perspective.”

Meanwhile, CPS officials said they plan to open more supervision sites in the weeks ahead. No word yet on how many, or who will qualify.

JCC Chicago said they’re confident they can keep kids distanced and masked, because they’ve already been doing that during their summer programs. They said hundreds of kids participated, with no known COVID cases.


Tim McNicholas