PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The pandemic continues to impact many parts of our lives, including education.

When the chairs are tucked in, the books are back on the shelves, and the doors are locked for the summer, it may seem like the learning is over at Wilkes-Barre Area School District but really, it’s just beginning.

“Because of the pandemic, the students missed a lot of in-school learning. What we wanted to do is come up with something in the summer that students can kind of get reacclimated with academic skills, social skills, and get some physical activity in a fun and relaxing environment,” said Mike Corcoran, who is a Coordinator for Step Up With The Pack Summer Program.

The solution is Step-Up with the Pack Summer Program where 500 students and 50 teachers will take on learning in a different way.

“It’s a project-based learning where students come together to look at a real-world problem or issue and try to collaborate to come up with some solution to it. It could be in the design, building something, doing a little store, doing restaurants and all the things that come with that and working together to do that,” said Step Up With The Pack Summer Program Site Manager, Sandra Marinko

It’s not your typical classroom environment. They even incorporated yoga into the program.

“It’s scary being back in school. A lot of my kindergarteners are terrified. They’re having to wear these masks. They don’t like it and when they get to take them off, they were terrified. So teaching them different skills they can use to calm themselves down or deal with a big test–that’s what yoga did for them,” said Marinko.

The program is free for K through eight Wilkes-Barre Area School District students. It is provided by grant funding.

“During the summer, a lot of our kids might go without and it’s a lot to provide meals at home so our program Step Up With The Pack provides breakfast and lunch for all of our students every day of the program,” said Diane McFarlane who is a project manager.

The program begins July 11 and runs through August 4.