Say Yes Guilford, a program that helps graduates of Guilford County Schools get into college and helps pay for their college education, has – like everyone else in the pandemic – had to make major changes in the way it conducts business.

In a Wednesday, Sept. 2 message to Say Yes students, families and supporters, Say Yes CEO Wendy Poteat let it be known that the group would still be helping students this school year – albeit with a lot of changes in place.

For instance, the organization will now feature a free, online tutoring program. The service, which begins next week, will pair community volunteers with students in Guilford County schools who need help with reading, math, science or social studies.

High schoolers in Guilford who volunteer to tutor fellow students can earn service-learning hours by tutoring in the program.

Say Yes will also offer free SAT and ACT classes this fall, and it’s seeking alliances with people and organizations in the community for other projects. Poteat also said that, at this time, community collaboration is more important than ever. She said that those in the community who wish to support Say Yes should reach out to the group.

Of course, the organization is also implementing guidelines for the new school year meant to increase the safety of staff, volunteers and students during interactions in the pandemic.

“This was not how we planned the first day of school,” Poteat stated in her message to the Say Yes community. “None of us wanted to start the school year with remote classes for K-12 students. We hoped every college student could remain on campus longer than the first few weeks. We hoped this pandemic would be a memory. We had to adjust our expectations.”

Poteat stated that the changes precipitated by the pandemic had caused Say Yes to respond to “the inequities that are so clearly defined in this crisis.”

She also stated that the group now had an opportunity to address obstacles to learning that exist in schools and the community, and she added that right now is the time for action.