More parents turn to tutors, ‘pod learning’ to supplement online offerings

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WEST CHESTER, Pa. – Schools have been making big changes because of the pandemic — and so have parents.



a person sitting on a chair in front of a computer: As some schools plan to keep classes online in the fall, some parents are splitting private tutors and forming small groups of kids called ‘pods’ to supplement online learning.


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As some schools plan to keep classes online in the fall, some parents are splitting private tutors and forming small groups of kids called ‘pods’ to supplement online learning.

As many of the country’s largest school districts plan to keep classes online in the fall, some parents are splitting the cost of a tutor and forming small groups of children dubbed ‘pods’ to supplement online learning.

More parents turn to tutors, ‘pod learning’ to supplement online offerings

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Kristin Austin is a mom from a Philadelphia suburb who also happens to work in higher education. She’s among many parents trying it out.

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“Our plan is to pod learn with two to three other families, five to six kids total,” said

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parents turn to private schooling amid coronavirus

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<span>Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

Elyssa Katz, a Santa Monica mother of three, is growing a matchmaking service to connect families with tutors, or “Zutors”, as she calls them – a word she’s in the process of trademarking.

“The role of a Zutor is a tutor, a nanny, and an angel for a parent,” Katz told the Guardian, someone who can take over parental demands, help children with online homework and take them outside when it’s time for “recess”.

Katz’ clients range from the rich and famous, to everyday people who need childcare because they can’t look after their children while they have to work. Katz said she’s gotten calls from parents as far away as the Hamptons.

For a matchmaking fee that can range from $700 to $1,000 (£549 to £785), Katz and her team will interview tutor candidates, run background and reference checks, then match them to the right

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Parents rush to hire tutors and create learning pods. But not everyone has options

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Luna Tringale, 6, sister Anaya Tringale, 5, father Rolando Tringale and mother Kamren Curiel are preparing for school to resume next month. <span class="copyright">(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Luna Tringale, 6, sister Anaya Tringale, 5, father Rolando Tringale and mother Kamren Curiel are preparing for school to resume next month. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The advertisements started popping up on social media almost immediately after Los Angeles Unified School District said campuses would remain closed for the start of the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re looking for a TA/College student to help with LAUSD’s virtual learning for the new school year. Parents are WFH. Kids are 5th, 3rd and potentially K. We’re starting a learning pod with another family. Any TA’s on the westside … looking for work?”

“ISO: Teacher/Tutor for 2nd grader and a little Kinder if possible. Would be open to hosting a very small pod in our back yard.”

“I am looking for a TA or tutor to help facilitate remote learning with my twin 1st graders and my 5th

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Day cares welcome mask-wearing toddlers as parents struggle to ‘make best decision’ in COVID-19 world

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Sam DeRoze is almost 4 years old. After years of nanny care, he’s supposed to dive into his first organized school experience this fall. But the coronavirus pandemic has his mother mulling.

“I’ll need to see the plan from his preschool before I decide,” says Dianne DeRoze, a business consultant in Leesburg, Virginia. “If it’s safe and a positive experience, that’s valuable. What I don’t want is for him to have a knee-jerk reaction that school is this scary place you get dumped.”

DeRoze is among the millions of parents grappling with sending their children to preschool and babies to day care as cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, spike nationally.

The debate continues to rage among politicians and school officials on fall reopening plans. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the city would be providing day care for 100,000 children to help

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Daycares welcome mask-wearing toddlers as parents struggle to ‘make best decision’ in COVID-19 world

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Sam DeRoze is almost 4 years old. After years of nanny care, he’s supposed to dive into his first organized school experience this fall. But the coronavirus pandemic has his mother mulling.

“I’ll need to see the plan from his pre-school before I decide,” says Dianne DeRoze, a business consultant in Leesburg, Virginia. “If it’s safe and a positive experience, that’s valuable. What I don’t want is for him to have a knee-jerk reaction that school is this scary place you get dumped.”

DeRoze is among millions of parents grappling with the pros and cons of sending their children to preschool and babies to day care as cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, spike nationally.

The debate continues to rage between politicians and school officials on fall re-opening plans, while New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the city would be providing day care

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Amid school reopening uncertainty, affluent parents hire private tutors

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Sara Elahi isn’t waiting to find out whether her children’s schools will reopen in the coming months.

After an extensive interview process of several candidates, she found a private educator who will be going to her home to professionally home-school her two children during the first semester.

“Education is the most important thing to our family,” she said. “My kids need to have in-person instruction to really learn and absorb material, and, by no fault of their own, I can’t rely on the school to provide that.”

Elahi, a consultant in the Baltimore area, said that although the costs were high, she and her husband, a pharmacist, were willing to dip into their savings to provide their children with an “undisrupted education.”

“In our minds, it will be a long-term investment for our kids,” she said. “If they fall too behind in all the shuffle, they’ll be playing catch-up forever.”

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Are you worried about your elderly parents? 8 tips to help seniors stay mentally acute in isolation

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Fitness coordinator Janet Hollander leads session of Balcony Boogie from outside Willamette Oaks in Eugene, Ore. for residents isolated in apartments during pandemic, April 21, 2020.
Fitness coordinator Janet Hollander leads session of Balcony Boogie from outside Willamette Oaks in Eugene, Ore. for residents isolated in apartments during pandemic, April 21, 2020.

Just what we need: Another reason to fear and loathe COVID-19.

If your loved ones are old, ill and confined to an assisted living or senior care home, you already know they are especially vulnerable to the killer virus, as the devastating death statistics in nursing homes attest. 

But you might not realize the efforts to protect them by isolating them has potentially dangerous consequences, too.

This became alarmingly obvious to Mary Ann Sternberg after her longtime partner, Ron, a retired psychologist who has Parkinson’s disease, was confined to the grounds along with the rest of the residents of his high-quality assisted living community in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after they all went into lockdown in March. 

The residents couldn’t go out and their relatives

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Online school? In-person? How parents are making their own fall 2020 decisions as COVID-19 squabbles continue

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As officials play political football with K-12 school re-openings, parents such as Johanne Davis are formulating their own game plans for the fall.

“To exercise an abundance of caution, I’d like to keep my kids home with me where they’ll study online,” says Davis, a mother of three from Indian Land, South Carolina, one of countless states where COVID-19 cases have spiked in recent weeks.

“Health is the issue, not just for my children, but also school workers,” says Davis. “Teachers shouldn’t have to be frontline soldiers in this pandemic.”

Families across the nation are busy making their own calculations about whether to send children back to school. While Davis seems resolved, many parents are still mulling.

Johanne Davis, left, in a photo with her three children. Davis and her husband say they're both fortunate enough to work from home and can manage the children if they have to spend a lot of next year studying remotely. But she acknowledges that hers is a privileged position not afforded to lower-income parents grappling with child care in order to go off to work.
Johanne Davis, left, in a photo with her three children. Davis and her husband say they’re both fortunate enough to work from home and can manage the children if they have to spend
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Aunt of boy, 11, who died in ATV accident warns parents: ‘It was horrifying’

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For many families, Fourth of July means enjoying outdoor activities together, and even though it’s a time to celebrate, taking precautions to protect your kids is still paramount.

That’s why Kristen Almer, whose 11-year-old nephew died in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident in 2013, is calling on parents this weekend — and year round — to teach their kids about power sports safety.

According to a Consumer Federation of America report from 2018, July is the month with the most fatalities due to off-highway vehicles (OHVs), and the date with the highest number of fatalities is July 4.

Logan Almer’s story

On May 24, 2013, heading into Memorial Day weekend, Logan Almer, who lived with his father, mother and older brother in Minong, Wisconsin, got on his dad’s ATV when no adults were around, Almer told TODAY. He wasn’t wearing a helmet or other protective gear and drove the vehicle

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An economist who collected coronavirus data from 841 childcare centers explains how parents should decide whether to send kids back to school

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reopening schools
reopening schools

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  • As cities start opening up, parents face the tough decision of whether to send children who’ve been stuck at home for months to daycare, or school. 

  • To help parents with that decision, Emily Oster, an economist, collected coronavirus data from childcare centers that have stayed open during the pandemic. 

  • The data pointed to low transmission rates among both children and staff.

  • Still, Oster acknowledged that the childcare decision is a personal one and that there are “no easy answers.”

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Since the pandemic hit, Emily Oster — an economist who’s authored two books on parenting and pregnancy— has been using available data to respond to families’ pressing concerns about the coronavirus. She’s touched on topics like how to safely visit grandparents and the risks the virus poses in pregnant women.

Lately, Oster’s received an outpouring of questions from parents about whether to

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