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C.A.M.P. Offers Alternative to At-Home Virtual Learning

August 14, 2020

Parents face difficult choices as they balance their child(ren)’s need for a quality education with their family’s need for reliable income. According to the Brookings Institution (July 2020), 70% of parents with young children will be dependent on the reopening of childcare programs and schools to return to work. While this points to a vital national economic need, there is an even more urgent and ongoing issue as parents working in jobs defined as essential are required to be in person, making childcare critical to the fulfillment of those essential functions. 

Virtual learning also presents a major healthcare issue apart from the pandemic as the roles schools and childcare centers play in vaccination, feeding, family well-being and child safety programs cannot be adequately fulfilled apart from an in-person presence. And there are the focal points of education access and outcomes, that some children simply do not have the resources to utilize online learning portals and tools, while others are simply inclined to learn more productively in-person. 

As Frederick Co. plans for full-time online learning during at least the beginning of the 20-21 academic year, the new Claggett Academic Mentoring Program (C.A.M.P.) will serve an immediate need to offer childcare assistance for working families. C.A.M.P. engages elementary and middle school children (grades K-8) in physically distant, CDC compliant educational support activities Monday-Friday during school hours, with before and after care options. C.A.M.P.’s structure will synchronize with public school distant learning while offering supportive tutoring, mentorship and recreation in size-restricted small group formats. 

Program Director, Rita Yoe, offered, “ C.A.M.P. will also provide an outlet for children who greatly need increased levels of social and emotional support. C.A.M.P. offers peace of mind to parents so they can return to work knowing their children are in a safe and supportive learning environment.” 

C.A.M.P. has a COVID-restricted capacity to serve up to 72. The program is open to all, but with an expected high demand, priority is being given to children who meet one or more of the following criteria: enrolled in Frederick County Public Schools; with one or more parent employed in an essential job function (i.e., emergency services, healthcare, education, service industry, government employee); enrolled in a free or reduced lunch program.

There is a growing trend, among families with the financial means, to hire private tutors, or form “microschools” with like-households (“pandemic pods”) that combine resources to hire educators. These trends may exacerbate the already significant education and opportunity gap between wealthy and moderate-to-low-income families, a gap which disproportionately impacts people of color. Children from lower income households may, especially in the virtual learning environment, struggle for internet and computer access while their essential worker parents (or parents who are required to be present by employers) cannot devote time to their learning or hire assistance. Some of these children and families may be facing compounded stress through the loss of a job by one parent and/or physical/mental/behavioral needs amplified by the pandemic.

All of this amounts to virtual learning serving to only widen achievement gaps and socioeconomic and racial disparities among school age children. C.A.M.P. addresses this critical need by offering equitable access to education opportunities. To mirror the 27% of Frederick County school children who are enrolled in free or reduced meal programs, 27% of C.A.M.P. registration will be prioritized to provide tuition, meals, computers, WIFI access, and learning support for children qualifying for free or reduced lunch.

“C.A.M.P. provides a safe and equitable alternative to school during the pandemic that will help support traditional school community service functions while undergirding virtual learning with access, tools and in-person tutoring/mentoring,” shared Lisa Marie Ryder, Co-Executive Director.

C.A.M.P. is how hiring Tutors and Mentors. Registration will open between August 17-28, 2020. For more information, please visit or contact Programs Director, Rita Yoe at 301.874.5147 or

The Claggett Center is the camp, conference, and retreat center of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. Nestled in the rolling hills of Frederick County, MD yet only an hour's drive from three international airports in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, the Claggett Center is known for its convenient location, tranquil setting, outstanding facilities, and dynamic programs. Based on over 60+ years of experience offering summer camp and other leadership programs for children and youth, in addition to our 268-acre campus and 8+ buildings available for program use, Claggett is uniquely positioned to offer safe, physically distant programs that support school education and provide youth mentorship.