Scranton performing arts academy plans for virtual school semester

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Whether or not students will be able to return to in-person classes in the fall is still a big unknown but a performing arts academy in Scranton is working to give parents some peace of mind.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, online learning has become an integral part of the curriculum for many school and college students but it has also left parents working from home or looking for daycare. Half a year later districts are weighing their options in the fall but if cyber learning is the safest option, the Creative and Performing Arts Academy or CaPPA wants to help by offering a different way.

“We are certainly ready to bring those kids in a safe environment from these families who need to work. Where the kids can do their cyber learning here,” Sheri Melcher, CaPPA’s Owner and Director told Eyewitness News.

Melcher says the academy is looking for students to attend CaPPA’s tuition-based cyber campus beginning August 31. Students will have to be enrolled in any district’s cyber school or an accredited Pennsylvania cyber school.

“They will be here for a full day and, you know, we can spread out amongst the building, the theater, our studios, there is a variety of places we can work,” Melcher said.

The cyber campus will be a pilot to a much bigger performing arts cyber hybrid school, called Poli Institute.

“We’re looking at some top cyber schools because for us, academics are as important as the performing arts,” Alissa Swats, Chairperson at Poli Institute Saks. “We know that’s what students and parents are looking for.”

Sears says the institute won’t be rolled out until September 2021 but planning started five years ago. The COVID-19 outbreak actually helped speed up the process as online learning is growing and arts programs in public schools are being slashed from the curriculum.

“They need the opportunity to study in a pre-professional environment. So that’s really where we can from when forming this institute,” Swarts said

CaPPA’s cyber campus starts August 31st and will run Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The 40 students work in a six to eight-person pod.

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