Pittsburgh Gets Real

Local group stepping up to help students fill void left by virtual learning

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — With so many children learning remotely right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, working parents don’t know where to turn for extra help.

Some students are noticing a difference between having a teacher in-person versus online learning, but some local groups are stepping up to fill that void.

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Jostin Lopez, a third grade student in Moon Township, is one of more than a dozen kids who attend the Mooncrest Neighborhood Center since the pandemic hit.

They get extra help with their studies while going to school virtually.

“I think we’ve adapted well. It has been a little bit of a challenge to rearrange staff, and our staff is great. They changed their lives and their plans to accommodate the different schedule," said program director Theresa Long.

Long told Channel 11 her seven-person team switched its afterschool program to daytime hours after the district went online. Students come in and leave at staggered times.

They are fed breakfast and lunch and have recess before returning to class online and head home.

The service is filling a gap for the parents who can’t afford to leave their children at home or stay home while their kids go to school virtually.

“They need to sort of provide for their families, so they can’t necessarily not work in order to do that,” Long said. “And we have a number of immigrant families who weren’t necessarily in a position to support their students either.”

The program also helps adults with medical checkups and paying bills while also teaching GED and English classes to those in need.

Through the community’s financial support, Mooncrest has become a safe haven for those who need a hand.

Staff there said they plan to switch their hours once the elementary students go back to school for in-person learning in Moon Township.