Tutoring center prepares to help students during unique school year

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Summer brain drain is very typical after a normal summer break, but this year, students will be returning to school after nearly five months out of the classroom. Many others will continue learning from home or online.

“Lately we’re seeing a lot of parents coming to us, especially as their kids go back to school,” Sioux Falls Sylvan Learning director Colleen Halbur said. “So to go back to school again after what I would call a really long slow summer break, where are they at right now?”

Sylvan Learning helps support students from kindergarten all the way through their senior year of high school with math, writing, reading, homework and test prep. In March, they made some major changes to their tutoring center in response to the pandemic.

“Making sure that our kids and our teachers know they can wear a face mask, installing sneeze guards, continuing to clean and wipe down and do what we can to give them the support that they need but also in a safe environment as well,” Halbur said.

Those same precautions have been in place all summer and will continue this fall, providing a safe space for students, especially those who won’t be seeing other teachers in person this year.

“To be kind of a support for families who are choosing the virtual academy, especially for students who are doing higher level math and higher level sciences, so we can be a place for their students to come and work with a teacher one-on-one to help them through some of that material as well,” Halbur said.

Halbur says her center has already seen an increase in interest from parents hoping to help their kids get a refresher before the school year starts, but she isn’t sure what this year’s unique learning system will mean for enrollment numbers at the tutoring facility.

“I don’t know, I think that a lot of parents don’t know either, because a lot of it is trying to get back into a routine and then seeing where we end up,” Halbur said.

Sylvan says they usually see their biggest boost in numbers after the first quarter reports come out, helping parents better gauge if their students might need a little extra help outside the classroom or computer.

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