By Kristine Sorensen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In Pennsylvania, 40 percent of brick and mortar childcare facilities are expected to shut down by the time we’re out of the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s why the local company Flexable came up with virtual childcare, and it’s catching on.

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Without summer camps and daycare, parents often have to resort to screens. Wendy Gilch, a mom from Franklin Park, said, “I don’t think anyone’s in a position right now where they’re doing anything great, your job, your parenting.”

Flexable created small-group mini-camps and one-to-one virtual childcare. They’re 30- or 60-minute online sessions with topics like art, Black history, math and magic.

Angela Ferguson, from Mt. Lebanon, said of her children’s experience with the sessions, “There’s two-way communication, so every kid gets a chance to hear their name and gets to participate on their own, and it’s really engaging.”

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Priya Amin, Flexable CEO and co-founder, says the sessions cost from $15 to $45 dollars. The kids talk, move and interact with the teacher. She learned from what didn’t work with her own kids in other online programs.

“Oftentimes, it was a one-way conversation from the host or the teacher’s perspective so that my kids didn’t really get a chance to interact, and they hung up,” Amin said.

Flexable is working with companies that want to offer this to their employees to help with working at home, and they’re also working with schools and municipalities as they consider the possibility of kids being at home at least some of the time in the fall.

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Kristine Sorensen