Bucks County gives homeless kids a space to learn remotely during pandemic

Kids at Bucks County's Learning Lab
Kids at Bucks County's Learning Lab Photo credit Kim Glovas/KYW Newsradio
By KYW Newsradio 1060

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Being homeless is not compatible with learning remotely. But homeless advocates in Lower Bucks County have found a way to make it easier for homeless students to get the job done.

Julie Dees, acting chief executive officer at Family Service Association of Bucks County, said $76,000 in CARES Act funding is being used for what they’re calling the Learning Lab, which has been created for kids at the Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter.

“As we know, with school going virtual and especially trying to think about a virtual learning environment in a homeless shelter, we just knew that was going to be really difficult,” she explained.

The Learning Lab is at the Oxford Valley Mall, at the Teen Center, an exterior entrance between Macy’s and JCPenney.

Students from elementary through high school can use the facility.

Dees said the learning centers are “socially distanced, staffed with teachers, aides,” and they “provide kids with lunches and snacks, materials.”

“Not only does it provide a better environment for kids to try and have some quiet to learn,” she added, “but it also provides somewhat of a sense of normalcy.”

In addition to helping the kids, it also allows parents to focus on their own goals, she said, like finding housing, going to work and having a little stress and more downtime away from their children.

The Learning Lab opened in September. Dees said the number of people needing shelter has gone up during the coronavirus pandemic, and remote learning for kids has only added to the chaos.

Students who live in the shelter are transported to the Learning Lab each virtual school day, and Dees said it will continue to operate until the pandemic is over.