The Guilford County Board of Commissioners has approved allocating $500,000 of emergency federal COVID-19 relief funds – from the now well-known CARES Act – to non-profit agencies so that those agencies can open extended learning centers for area elementary school children.

According to a Monday, Aug. 31 press release from the county, the learning centers, which will provide education and supervision, are being designated as “safe spaces for qualified working families with children in grades K-5 that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for remote learning resulting from county school closures.”

The program will provide up to eight weeks of full day care to children who currently aren’t benefiting from subsidy vouchers and who would be enrolled in an after-school program if not for the pandemic.

The commissioners approved the move unanimously at a work session last week after some discussion on exactly which kids would qualify and which ones wouldn’t.

There was also some concern among commissioners as to how the applicants would be vetted since, in many cases, it will be difficult if not impossible to demonstrate that a child would have been enrolled in a program if not for the pandemic.

Those interested in applying can do so by filling out an online form at the Guilford County website at

Those who want to find out more about the program and the criteria for participating should call the Guilford County Department of Social Services at 336-641-3000.

Earlier this summer the federal CARES act provided $93.7 million to Guilford County to address the damage caused by the virus and to prevent its spread. That’s a lot of money but in recent months the commissioners have been absolutely burning through those funds because that money has to be returned if it isn’t spent by the end of the year.