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MARICOPA — The city of Maricopa on Monday announced it is introducing a new after-school program to help Maricopa students returning to online learning with educational support and internet connection.

Afterschool Connect will be a free service that provides one hour of reserved time to work with a teacher for students and their families. The program, which kicked off Monday, is available for all students regardless of whether they attend an MUSD school and will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

“We are excited to serve our community in a new way while we all learn to navigate attending school during these challenging times,” Nathan Ullyot, Community Services Director for Maricopa, said in a press release. “We are currently recruiting teachers in the area who are willing and able to come and support Maricopa families who may be struggling with portal access or the classwork itself.”

The program will begin at Pima Butte Elementary, but the city plans to expand to Saddleback and Maricopa elementary schools by mid-August. According to the press release, the program will have two teachers at each location who will work with up to ten families an hour in individual classrooms to maintain social distancing guidelines. Onsite childcare will also be available for additional children ages 3 to 12 within that hour of reserved time.

The city plans to continue the program as long as distance learning is in place.

Parents can sign up for the program online at Activenet, the online portal for all city recreation programs in Maricopa and find out more information at maricopa-az.gov.

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Katie Sawyer covers Maricopa and the surrounding area for PinalCentral, including city, education, business, crime and more. She can be reached at ksawyer@pinalcentral.com.

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