Families consider ‘tutoring pods’ with uncertainty around schools reopening in the fall

BOSTON — The uncertainty of the reopening of schools this fall has left parents scrambling to find a backup plan to make sure their children get the best education no matter what happens.

“[These are] such unprecedented times that we are just trying to figure out how to make this work best for our kids,” said Kimberly Paster, a mother of three.

Paster, who lives in Dover, is trying to figure out what the school year will be like for her kids this fall.

She and her husband both work full time, and she says they can’t repeat what happened this spring when schools suddenly shut down for the pandemic.

“We were trying to tag team and take turns trying to help with our youngest with his Zoom meetings and help him with his schoolwork and try to work, so it was not easy,” said Paster.

Paster says it’s possible schools will reopen in a hybrid schedule with students going into school just two days a week while learning virtually at home the other days.

“On the days they’re not in school we could see if they could see a tutor for a couple hours just to get some more reading, writing, math, basics and then have social interaction,” said Paster.

That social interaction would come with a tutoring ‘pod.’

Paster says she may join with one or two other families to have a tutor teach their small group of kids together.

Many families are looking into similar scenarios.

“We’re prepared to handle the demand,” said Kim Haven, owner of Club Z! Tutoring in Northborough.

Haven says they’re swamped with calls from parents right now who are interested in both one-on-one and group tutoring.

“The parents biggest concern is those two or three days the kids are home and how are they going to support them in their learning,” said Haven. “They were able to get through it for a few months at the end of last year, but now they feel like they need more support. They’re trying to work from home, they’re not trained educators, so that’s understandable.”

Her company is offering both virtual and in person tutoring, whether it’s one-on-one or working with a few students at a time, to fill the gap they may experience this fall.

“Especially in these times, flexibility is the name of the game,” said Haven. “So we’re helping parents put together plans for what we think it’s going to look like right now, but knowing full well that most likely we’re going to need to make changes just like everyone is these days.”

Paster agrees flexibility is key right now.

“Even if we do put a plan in place, I think we have to be very flexible about it because we don’t know, things could change at the drop of a hat,” said Paster.

Club Z! Tutoring has other locations across Mass., which you can find by going to their website here.

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