The Dance Connection of Hillsborough has created a place for students to learn and do their virtual schooling, while being in the presence of others their own age.
“The impending opening of schools, whether virtual or in person, has created a dilemma for many families across the state,” Dance Connection owner David Kieffer said in a prepared statement.
Kieffer is the creator of Kids Club, a safe place for children in first through sixth grades to do their virtual schooling, get their homework done and even have some fun during regular weekday hours.
“Many parents need to work, some are just worried about sending their kids to school; either way, our community needs a solution to this problem. That’s why we created Kids Club” Kieffer said in the statement. “Here, kids are safe and distanced but still get to be in the presence of other kids and have some interaction. This is a win/win for everyone.”
Open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, no more than 16 children will be allowed in the program, with a maximum of 10 children to a pod. Desks will be separated by at least 10 feet. Each student will have their own space to work and learn. Dance Connection staff is on site all day with the students to help out.
“We will make sure they are logged on, and make sure they are getting their schoolwork done,” Kieffer said in the statement. “If they have questions or need anything, we can help. If they are done with work, we will make sure they can play a game or have a book to read. We can even coordinate with their teacher if needed.”
In addition, if students have music class or other programs to work on, The Dance Connection has space in the lobby and the outer dressing room to spread out even more.
Students will be required to bring their own laptops with headphones to do their work. Parents should pack their children a lunch for the day.
“There will be designated spots to eat, or students can eat at their stations,” Kieffer said in the statement. “We have extra space in the studio if someone needs it. We just can’t have more than 10 kids in one pod.”
As for masks, Kieffer said they recommend students wear them whenever possible, but because the desks are so far apart students will be able to take them off for a break while they are at their work stations.
“We do want them to wear their masks if they can,” he said in the statement. “And they must wear masks when entering and exiting the building or when they are less than 6 feet apart.”
The program will open Sept. 3, and will be offered through at least December.
“If things change and they can go back to school, that’s great. But, as long as there is a demand for the program, we will keep it open for families,” Kieffer said in the statement.
There will be an open house to introduce local families to Kids Club from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 29 at the studio on Jill Court in Hillsborough. Those interested will get a chance to see the studio space and how the desks will be arranged, while also getting additional information about the program.
Kieffer said he is excited to provide this program for the community, as a positive solution for both his business, and for local families.
“All of us who own a business. … we want to survive. The pandemic has shown us all that we need to come together and do whatever we can for our community and make things work” he said in the statement. “As someone who runs a kids activities center, that’s my job, to make things better for my kids and their families, and this is just another way we are doing that, to help parents out who need to work and help kids who don’t want to be home alone, and I think it works out great for everyone.”
The program is $849 per month, and space is limited.
For more information, call the studio at 908-874-8800 or visit www.danceconnectionnj.com/kids-club/