MARS, Pa. (KDKA) — As the new school year quickly approaches, parents are turning to alternate learning options to help themselves and their children this fall.
“So after two or three weeks, the girls were like you are a bad teacher. You are awful and I want to go back to school,” said Urmi Batavia who has two daughters that attend Seneca Valley School District.
Batavia owns a music and art studio in Mars called Batavia Studios while managing her role as a mom, but said she needed a new solution for her kids remote learning for the next semester.
“Parents needed a place to go drop their kids, but in a safe place and with a teacher,” Batavia said.
With this thought, an idea formed and Batavia connected with Robert Michaels on social media. Michaels has been teaching for the last five years, but made the decision not to return to his district this fall because of COVID-19.
“My biggest fear was my family at home. Just the exposure that you are going to bring to my wife who’s pregnant at the moment with our first child,” Michaels said.
So he’s taking his skills combined with Batavia’s empty studio and the two are creating their own mini school.
“It gives the kids the opportunity to feel like they are in a school environment and the learning environment is half the battle,” Michaels said.
Batavia has extra empty rooms in the studio so families will have individual space for their kids. The only catch is that the kids must be doing full remote learning, no hybrid schedules.
She told KDKA masks will be required and CDC guidelines will be followed.
“We are trying to help the parents and the parents will definitely get the benefit of being able to work a full day and knowing that their kid is safe,” Batavia said.
At minimum, the group will have five families, but if there is more interest, they have another space to use. Extracurricular activities will include music and art.
The first day of school will be Aug. 31st.