As school year begins, Hermitage Learning Center worries COVID-19 losses could cause closure

Hermitage Learning Center
Posted at 5:45 PM, Aug 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-16 06:55:50-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Hermitage tutoring business is asking the community for help, after owners say COVID-19 has put it on the brink of closing.

Owner Mary Beth Scott said the Hermitage Learning Center has been offering one-on-one tutoring and test prep to students across the community since 1999.

"It will be 21 years in November," Scott said.

But now she worries that time could be coming to an early end.

"COVID-19 has literally devastated us. I probably would've been out of business two or three months ago had our landlord not given us a break," Scott said.

COVID-19 shuttered the center at the start of the pandemic, and early school closures in the spring were another blow. College entrance exams like the ACT and SAT also postponed test dates, with many schools saying they weren't requiring exams this year, creating another obstacle for the learning center.

"And of course if parents don't have money right now from their jobs and staying home, you know, I can't expect them to pay me," Scott added.

Scott and the team of tutors received a PPP loan, but she says the $5,000 boost wasn't enough to last through the pandemic. Now she worries she won't be able to renew her lease and will have to close the center's doors for good.

"This center needs to be here. It just truly needs to be here," Scott said.

She said the possible closure comes at a time where the learning center could be needed most. Thousands of mid-state students are heading back to school, with many of them going to class virtually for the first time.

"Now that the schools are coming back in, this past week I had some phone calls that were parents beginning to say 'Oh my,'" Scott said.

Scott is now reaching out to the community for help. She's started a fundraiser to help make up expenses and try to get the center through the pandemic.

"I need some financial help so we can keep the academic goals going and so kids can succeed more," she said.

You can donate to the Hermitage Learning Center through its online fundraiser.