Spokane’s Northeast Youth Center prepares for an influx of children with remote learning

HILLYARD, Wash. — With Spokane Schools staying closed, many parents have to find child care or quit their jobs. Some families can’t afford those options and rely on places like the Northeast Community Center. 

Staff are preparing to take in up to 100 kids who will attend class virtually. While the center has plenty of space for social distancing, they don’t have enough internet capability. 

“This is going to be a whole new animal of having the kids all day long,” said Executive Director Kate Green. 

She says 55 parents have already reached out for help. 

“They need to be able to continue to work and provide for their kids and they’re not going to be able to do that by having to stay at home,” said Green. 

Green expects more families will sign up for continued child care. 

“We might have 70, we might have 100 kids, we’re just not sure,” she said. 

SPS is giving each student a laptop for virtual learning. Green says students had issues connecting last spring when schools first closed. 

That was with several laptops using the wifi. This September, there could be 100. 

SPS has roughly 200 hotspots that use cellular data. Parents can check them out. 

Green is asking parents who use the center to grab them while they can. Boosting internet would be expensive. 

“I was looking at Comcast and it’s an extra $500 a month just to add it to be able to handle 50 to 60 users,” said Green. 

In addition to handling out hotspot, Green is hoping SPS can do more to help the center, which serves families from nine different schools. 

The youth center is asking for donations. They’re having to hire more staff. Green says they also need school supplies. They are accepting donations HERE.