As kids learn virtually, Fairfax and Howard Counties launch programs to assist families during COVID-19.

Navigating COVID-19 has been tough, particularly for working families as schools transition to virtual learning for the new school year. But two counties in the DMV are offering special childcare options to alleviate the needs of working families struggling with the arduous task of balance.

In Maryland, Howard County is introducing RecZone to provide additional support to kids during distance learning. According to a news release, the program will be implemented at 16 public schools to "provide flexible, safe, childcare options for families." Open to children in grades K-5, groups of 15 including staff will convene to work on class assignments as well as physical activities and crafts.

The program offers two schedules for five days a week: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for $325 a week and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $259 a week. Registration has already begun for the month of September, but parents can register for the October–January session starting on August 21, at 8 a.m. For those who need it, financial aid is available.

Virginia's Fairfax County is stepping up for families with a program to benefit 37 public schools in the area. Called Supporting Return to School Program, it benefits children between kindergarten and 6th grade with a total of 10 students in each class. Staff members will assist kids with homework and engage with the curriculum The Great Outdoors: Road Trips Through the Americas. The program runs Monday–Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. For income-eligible families, sliding scale fees are offered.

As virtual learning becomes the norm, other counties are likely to follow suit with similar programming—Loudoun County in Virginia is floating the idea of additional childcare with a recent survey for families with kids in grades K–6.

Both programs begin on September 8, but spots are quite limited so we recommend applying ASAP if these opportunities are of interest!

Anyone enrolling their children in these programs? Do they seem feasible for working parents? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments!