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Guilford County Schools will not operate ACES program for elementary students during 9 weeks of remote learning

District leaders say After-School Care Enrichment Services will not be held until at least mid-October, but will start back up when in-person learning resumes.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — This week, the Guilford County Board of Education voted to start the school year with remote learning for the first nine weeks of class. 

While they did not settle on any reopening scenario for in-person learning, school leaders did announce that After-School Enrichment Services, or ACES, will not operate during this time.

Of course, this isn't a typical year. 

But GCS says, in a typical year, up to 4,000 students participate in ACES, which is roughly 12 percent of all elementary school students.

That leaves thousands of Guilford County families forced to find another option since this service will not be offered.

"I know it's super hard, especially for some of the parents - single-parent homes, or where both parents work - trying to find a way to make the remote learning work for them and for their students, and trying to find a place for their students to be that's affordable during the school day," said Thomas Beerbower, an ACES site coordinator at Triangle Lake Montessori Elementary School in High Point.

He says for many of his families, ACES is the best, and sometimes, the only option for childcare when the school day ends. 

"During the regular school year, we are consistency for the students, we are support to the students, and some of them get more help at ACES really then they might even during the regular school day," Beerbower said. 

Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras says once in-person learning begins, GCS will restart the program, likely at a higher cost - due to sanitizing, social distancing, and more staff needed per number of students. 

"In the meantime, for parents who need to return to work and need childcare, we are beginning to work with some of our partners, the YMCA and others to provide support for families," she said Wednesday, "We are going to be working with our parent academy to make sure the parents know about available, affordable childcare in this community."

Beerbower tells WFMY News 2 he hasn't heard a final word on how or if the district will place him - or any of the other ACES employees - in another role until after school program starts back up.