MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When school resumes in a few weeks, kitchen tables will once again turn in to classrooms as most South Florida students begin the school year virtually.

For some working parents, trying to juggle a job and facilitating online learning has them calling in reinforcements.

Aliette Carolan is a busy, single, working mom of two. When COVID hit, she moved her thriving law practice to her house, alongside her daughters’ “virtual classrooms.”

“It was incredibly challenging because my work didn’t stop just because my kids were now home from school,” she said.

So Carolan turned to Power Plus Tutoring for help and she plans to work with them again when classes resume later this month.

“You call them and say this is my child and say what the needs are and they match you with somebody who fits with the characteristics of your child’s learning style,” she said.

“Now that we know students are going to be online at least through October, we’ve really pivoted our model to kind of help the varying needs of all of these families that we’re seeing,” said Lizzie Schaull with Power Plus Tutoring.

Schaull and Raquel Catalano are both moms and the team behind Power Plus Tutoring. They recognized the need for learning reinforcement and adjusted their tutoring business to help bridge the gap between virtual learning and in-person instruction.

“What we’re seeing is kind of a revival of what’s called micro-schools that can be anywhere and provide a similar academic environment that you would find at any other school,” said Catalano.

Some parents are forming “learning pods,” groups of students who will do their assigned course work with the help of a tutor or under the supervision of a caregiver.

Some businesses saw an opportunity to fill a void.

“We’re going to have tables set up in our studios, we have really big spaces, so we’re able to distance everybody, keep them all apart,” said Sofia Arencibia, the Director of Artistic Dance at the Artistic Dance Center in Doral.

The center provides socially distanced dance classes, and soon, will open their studio to students who need a safe, supervised place to do their virtual schooling while their parents work.

“Why don’t we maximize this space during the daytime. Why don’t we offer this space for the students to come in and have a desk where they can work safely and do their work and their parents know and trust where they’re sending their kids,” said Arencibia.

Prices vary for these services and many parents are hoping the need will be temporary depending on when students will be allowed to return to school.

For now, Carolan says, it’s well worth the cost.

“I am very grateful to companies like Power Plus Tutoring because they provide me with the assistance that I need so my children don’t fall behind,” she said.

The “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” might also help some parents trying to navigate this challenging time. It allows eligible employees to take up to 10 weeks of paid leave at two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay if they can’t work in order to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Lauren Pastrana

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