COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Students of striking Columbus school teachers can set up their laptops for remote learning at locations across the city.

With Columbus families in limbo after the 4,500-member Columbus Education Association went out on strike, community leaders dedicated a handful of spots where students can get free homework help and an internet connection. Classes remain scheduled to begin Wednesday but are set to be taught by substitutes or administrators and with students not at school.

“We’re committed to supporting our children, the families in this uncertain time – and this is an uncertain time, I think – for all of us,” said Bernita Reese, director of Columbus’ Recreation and Parks Department.

Columbus Metropolitan Library

After a summer hiatus, the Columbus Metropolitan Library reopened School Help Centers at 22 of its 23 locations Monday and will open its doors to students throughout the day.

The School Help Centers, formerly known as Homework Help Centers, provide children with computers, printers, digital resource tools, access to the library’s catalog, and a friendly face to personally assist students, according to library spokesperson Ben Zenitsky.

Although Zenitsky said the library expects more footsteps to shuffle into its School Help Centers, visitor traffic is poised to jump throughout the day as Columbus students seek a place to log into class via video conferencing.

“We anticipate seeing a steady flow throughout the school day, and our staff are prepared for it and look forward to connecting with students,” Zenitsky said.

The library’s main branch in downtown Columbus is the only location that will not have a School Help Center, Zenitsky said, but students can still access online lessons and complete schoolwork. Hours of operation for the 22 School Help Center locations are below:

Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.

  • Franklinton
  • Hilltop
  • New Albany
  • Northside
  • Parsons
  • Whitehall

Monday through Thursday, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.

  • Barnett
  • Canal Winchester
  • Driving Park
  • Dublin
  • Gahanna
  • Linden
  • Marion-Franklin
  • Martin Luther King
  • Northern Lights
  • Shepard
  • South High
  • Whetstone

Monday through Thursday, 4 to 7 p.m. and Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.

  • Hilliard
  • Karl
  • Reynoldsburg
  • Southeast

The library remains “well-positioned” to offer a slew of virtual programs launched at the start of the coronavirus pandemic for students whose teachers are on strike, Zenitsky said. From 2 to 11 p.m. on weekdays, students can meet one-on-one with virtual tutors provided through the library’s HelpNow program.

Younger students from kindergarten to third grade can get extra reading practice with Virtual Reading Buddies, library staff members who remotely provide one-on-one reading help, according to Zenitsky.

Columbus Recreation and Parks Department

Reese said nine community centers will offer Student Support Centers to welcome students for three additional hours during the school day this week.

“We want to ensure that all children have a safe place to go to,” Reese said.

From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday this week, Reese said students can complete their school work and get help at the following community centers:

West Side

  • Glenwood Community Center
  • Sullivant Gardens Community Center

East Side

  • Barnett Community Center
  • Blackburn Community Center
  • Driving Park Community Center

South Side

  • Barack Community Center
  • Schiller Community Center

North Side

  • Linden Community Center
  • Howard Community Center

The remaining community centers across Columbus will continue to open at 10 a.m., Reese said.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Ohio

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Ohio is expanding its hours at three locations to accommodate Columbus students who are left without a classroom.

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Friday this week, three club locations — Milo-Grogan, J. Ashburn Jr., and South Side — will serve as a makeshift classroom and support center for Columbus students, CEO Doug Wolf said.

Beginning Monday, Wolf said those three locations will open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. “for as long as the teacher strike is in place.”

The clubs will offer quiet learning spaces, meals, free Wi-Fi access, tutors, and computers, Wolf said.

“This is a time for our community to come together and do all we can to support students and families,” Wolf said. “Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Ohio is proud to be a resource to help ensure learning continuity. Additionally, students will be able to remain amongst their peers, which we know supports their social and emotional wellbeing.”

Visit its website to find the nearest Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Ohio location.

YMCA of Central Ohio

Four YMCA of Central Ohio locations will open their community spaces to students of striking Columbus teachers.

The support spaces, where students can access online lessons and complete schoolwork, will be monitored by staff and volunteers but will not provide child care services, according to a news release from the YMCA of Central Ohio.

From 7 to 8 a.m., the four community spaces are open to high school and middle school students only. Beginning at 8 a.m. and until 3:30 p.m., the three Columbus locations are open to all grade levels, the YMCA of Central Ohio said.

  • Eldon & Elsie Ward YMCA, located at 130 Woodland Ave. in Columbus
  • Hilltop YMCA, located at 2879 Valleyview Dr. in Columbus
  • YMCA North Branch, located at 1640 Sandalwood Place in Columbus

The fourth center in Canal Winchester will adhere to a similar schedule but closes at 3 p.m., a half-hour earlier than the YMCA’s Columbus branches.

  • Jerry L. Garver YMCA, located at 6767 Refugee Rd. in Canal Winchester

Star House

A 24-hour drop-in center for students experiencing homelessness, the Star House will also provide services to Columbus students during the strike.

Homeless youth ages 14 and up can drop in at the center, located at 1220 Corrugated Way in the Milo-Grogan neighborhood, for a variety of resources including free Wi-Fi, a computer lab and basic needs like food, clothing and hygiene items, according to the center’s website.