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'Our kids need a place to be': Where to send your kids if you have to go back to work

Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa expanded their hours so kids can attend all day and get help with virtual learning in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa look a little different these days. 

As with most places, they've increased health safety measures because of the COVID-19 pandemic and, instead of only being open after school, they're open all day long. 

"Our kids need a place to be," said Jodie Warth, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa. "They need a safe place to be where there are adults, caring and responsible role models, where they can eat, where they can be safe. There are a lot of children that will have a lot of unsupervised time." 

Just like K-12 schools, the Clubs adapted their programming to accommodate remote learning options. 

"We'll have a highly educated trained staff by your side able to help you get into campus," Warth said. "If you get stuck on a question, we'll be right there to help."

The Clubs will provide students with access to devices and reliable internet.

"We will send your children home completely homework free," Warth said. "You don't have to worry about how you're going to manage the internet or any kind of electronic device. We've got that covered for you." 

Click or tap here to enroll your child at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa.

And once the "school day" ends, the fun begins. 

"It's no longer school time at 2:30 or 3," Warth said. "It's time to play, it's time to engage. It is time to learn, but just learn differently." 

This expansion of services does come at a cost.

Younger kids will have to pay a fee if families don't qualify for childcare assistance.

A grant is funding the programming for middle and high school students.

Another option available for Des Moines Public School students is Metro Kids Care.

RELATED: Iowa DHS modifies rules for daycares amid pandemic

The program is available for K-5 students. 

"We will follow our schedule that we will roll out in 100% virtual elementary," said Allyson Vukovich, director of community schools at Des Moines Public Schools. "Kids sign on for school at eight o'clock and then our staff at Metro Kids will be there to help them with that. We're going to keep our day structured."   

For information on Metro Kids Care, click or tap here.

Planning for the upcoming year has been a challenge, but Vukovich said it's necessary to have these options available for families. 

"We're all in unchartered waters right now," Vukovich said. "We're in a global pandemic. I think that understanding that we all have to be creative. At the end of the day, we have to do everything we can to support our students and families."