ORLANDO, Fla. – The city of Orlando opened several learning pod locations on Monday as the school year began virtually for all students at Orange County Public Schools.
The idea behind the learning pod concept is to gather a group of a few students together and their parents pay for a tutor who will teach the children in the pod exclusively through the semester.
Orlando's program includes two nine-student pods at six of the city's community centers.
The pods provide students with a place to access electronics and Wi-Fi as they complete their LaunchEd assignments.
Children will not interact with other groups and they will be kept with the same students throughout the duration of the program. City staff will be available to supervise them and provide additional academic support.
At the Engelwood Neighborhood Center on Monday, students were seen wearing masks and spaced several feet apart while a staff member was on-hand to assist and answer any questions.
According to city officials, additional safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The protocols include increasing cleaning and disinfecting efforts, conducting drop off and pick up procedures outside the center and requiring health screenings and temperature checks before students and staff are allowed inside.
The cost to participate is $5 per day. Students who are eligible for the community support program can participate for free.
The learning pod program is available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m., when drop off begins, to 3 p.m. Parents have the option to enroll one day at a time or enroll for multiple days on a first-come, first-served basis.
Parents can enroll by contacting their nearest participating community center:
Engelwood Neighborhood Center, 6123 La Costa Dr.
Northwest Neighborhood Center, 3955 WD Judge Dr.
John H. Jackson Neighborhood Center, 1002 West Carter St.
Downtown Recreation Complex, 363 North Parramore Ave.
Dr. James R. Smith Neighborhood Center, 1723 Bruton Boulevard
Rosemont Neighborhood Center, 4872 Rose Bay Dr.