Even in the midst of the COVID-19 shutdown, the White Bear Lake Area Schools Community Services and Recreation Department has continued to serve and offer safe programming options for learners of all ages.

When Gov. Walz closed schools last spring, the Community Services and Recreation staff provided essential childcare for children of critical workers. Additionally, staff members created take-home enrichment options for students, developed virtual programming and continued to operate important programs such as Meals on Wheels for our senior community.

We have been able to safely operate by implementing important safety measures across all programs in accordance with state guidelines. As we continue to learn more about the virus and receive updated guidance from the state, we continue to adapt as needed to provide the safest environments possible.

We have learned many lessons as we navigated through the spring, summer and fall. We learned our team is resilient, passionate and dedicated to do what is necessary to provide quality programming in safe environments district-wide for our community. We have also learned that our community continues to rely on our efforts to serve.

Our Early Childhood Program has continued to provide in-person and distance learning options for three and four year-old preschool students, Early Childhood Family Education classes for our birth to two year-olds and parents, and screening opportunities. 

No matter the learning model, our students have had access to programs such as school-age care and Tier 1 childcare for eligible families. Delivered in person or virtually as appropriate, youth enrichment classes, sports and other school activities have also provided the necessary support for families and students as well as healthy outlets for our students’ mental health and social-emotional well being. 

Adult Enrichment programs have continued to offer online and in-person enrichment programs in areas of fitness, finance, arts, health and wellness, and more. The Senior Center provides vital services such as Meals on Wheels, in-person foot care and safe driving classes. The

Craft Corner remains open, and as it is safe to do so, we look forward to bringing our senior wood carving, coloring, sewing, card clubs, and other groups back in person.

We are thankful for the community’s continued support, and we are proud of the programs and services we are able to provide to help district residents learn and explore their interests. In this new year, we look forward to seeing you in our programs as we work hard to provide safe programming options to meet your interests. 

Our Winter Programs are available online now! A digital copy of our Winter Catalog can be found on our website at communityservices.isd624.org/about/news, and the hard copy is set to be in mailboxes the week of Jan. 11. Believe it or not, summer programs are right around the corner and we’ll have more details to share in March. 

We know that in order to meet your needs we need to hear from you. Please reach out to us via email at community-services@isd624.org or by phone at 651-407-7501 to provide feedback and information that will help us ensure our programming is responsive to the needs in our community. 

We look forward to seeing you soon and wish you the happiest start to 2021! Go Bears!

 

Tim Maurer is the Director of Community Services and Recreation at White Bear Lake Area Schools.

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