At the New Rochelle YMCA, County Executive George Latimer announced $1.27 million in CARES Act funding awarded to remote learning centers throughout Westchester.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Latimer has recognized the critical need for children to have a safe place to learn and be cared for, with many school districts transitioning to online learning and parents returning to work. Westchester County was able to create a program using federal funding through the CARES Act, at no cost to County taxpayers, which allows students to continue their education at remote learning centers throughout Westchester.
Latimer said: “As we continue to manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, our children, and their education, will always remain a top priority. Students need to be able to continue their schooling whether it be in person or remote, and parents need to be able to return to work to maintain essential services, and help our local economy bounce back. I want to thank our federal delegation partners for understanding the importance of programs like these, to help the County get back on its feet again.”
Senator Chuck Schumer said: “The COVID crisis has instituted remote learning and widened the digital divide that holds back far too many students from reaching their full potential. That is why I’m proud to announce Westchester is using $1.27 million of the $168 million I secured for the county in the CARES Act to create Remote Learning Centers and improve Westchester students’ access to education regardless of their socioeconomic status.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the child care crisis and put students already at risk of falling behind in an even more precarious position. These remote learning centers provide a safe place for children to learn as their parents and other essential workers continue to fight for our communities on the frontline. This funding will ensure that remote centers in Westchester County have the resources needed to provide remote learning and reliable broadband connectivity, to purchase PPE, and to implement safety protocols that will keep children safe while receiving high-quality education and care.”
Congresswoman Nita Lowey said: “As Chairwoman of House Appropriations, I fought to secure direct CARES Act funding for Westchester County. As part of the nationwide COVID Relief Fund, I am thrilled to see that County Executive George Latimer is using this critical support to establish remote learning centers throughout Westchester. The centers will provide much-needed structure and stability for students and families who have had to adapt to an ever-changing situation. Our community has faced so much difficulty and uncertainty due to COVID-19, but the resilience and resourcefulness of our local heroes assures me that we will get through this together. I will keep fighting to bring home more federal funding that goes directly to our children, families, and community.”
Congressman Eliot Engel said: “We fought hard in the federal delegation to procure CARES Act funding for New Yorkers struggling through the COVID pandemic. I am pleased to see County Executive Latimer is utilizing this money effectively to help our educators and students through the difficult process of remote learning, which is extremely critical to ensuring the health and wellbeing of children and families across the County.”
Liaison for Education and Childcare for the County Executive Rosie Finizio said: “I want to thank County Executive George Latimer for focusing on the smallest of County residents, and knowing that they need special attention during this difficult time. We were able to use what worked to help various organizations and municipalities to implement their own programs that are geared towards their communities. All the programs funded by the County comply with health and safety requirements, have sufficient connectivity for remote learning, and strong staff to student ratios. It is in this way that we can support Westchester essential workers and provide some piece of mind during this challenging time.”
CEO of the New Rochelle YMCA Jennifer Ryan Safsel said: “The New Rochelle YMCA is honored to be partnering with the Westchester County Executive George Latimer and his team to ensure that our essential workers’ children have a safe place to be for remote learning while their parents are supporting our community.”
President of the Healthy Kids Extended Care Program Steve Dwek said: “I would like to thank the County Executive for stepping up in such a big way to subsidize quality childcare for working families, especially during these very difficult times. Finding a safe, supportive and affordable place for children when they’re not in school, while trying to juggle work schedules, is one of the greatest challenges facing families right now. This grant provides funding that will allow Healthy Kids to run either no-cost or low-cost full day programs for school age children who need our help more than ever.”
Mother Ama Sakyi, who is a registered nurse and uses the center for her 9 year old daughter Amanda, said: “As an essential worker the program initiated by Westchester County has been a blessing to me and my daughter. Taking care of patients with COVID was stressful enough, so the peace of mind this program gave me was immeasurable. My child is happy with the program, and she enjoys the interactions with other kids in the program. The teachers on site also support the kids with their school work. This program has given me the opportunity to continue to work to take care of my family.”
The federal funding was awarded based on applications that were submitted, and the online learning centers are affiliated with either a school district, municipality or non-profit. The funding will last through the end of 2020, with the hope that additional federal legislation will be enacted to continue these programs into 2021.
The agencies that received a portion of the $1.27 million in CARES Act funding are as follows:
- Family Services of Westchester, Inc. – White Plains
- Town of Greenburgh Department of Community Resources/ TDYCC – Greenburgh
- The Guidance Center of Westchester, Inc. – New Rochelle
- New Rochelle YMCA – New Rochelle
- Hudson River Museum of Westchester – Yonkers
- YMCA of Yonkers, Inc. – Yonkers
- YMCA of Central and Northern Westchester – White Plains
- YMCA of Central and Northern Westchester (Camp Combe) – Ossining, Somers, Yorktown
- Lakeland Children’s Center – Yorktown Heights
- Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester – Mount Kisco
- Healthy Kids Extended Day Program, Inc. – Harrison, Peekskill, Yonkers
- Young Men’s Christian Association of Rye, Rye YMCA – Rye
- Ossining Union Free School District – Ossining
- Danielle’s Helping Hands – Pelham
- Town of Lewisboro Parks and Recreation Department – Lewisboro
Westchester County has ensured that each program meets the required health and safety protocols, sufficient staffing ratios, and adequate connectivity for effective online learning. The programs have been tailored to meet the needs of each local community.
Watch the full News Conference.