Cheer, tumbling gym owner creates alternative day care-type facility with social distancing for working parents’ kids

Daycare owner on West Side plans to bring in tutors if state allows

SCHERTZ, Texas – A Schertz cheer and tumbling gyms is creating a space for students to be able to do virtual learning while parents work.

Rebecca Rios, owner of Stars Vipers Cheer and Tumbling Gym, is a working mother and former teacher. She wanted to find a way to help families whose kids are doing virtual learning for the first few weeks of school.

“What we’re really trying to do is to provide a service for these kids to be able to be monitored and to learn,” she said.

Rios says her 30,000 square feet gym can accommodate up to 60 kids with social distancing space to sit and do their virtual learning work while volunteers check off their to-do list.

Rios said there would not be any tutoring involved, but they will provide internet, supervision and possibly lunch for $125 a week. But the payment is not for the day care, it’s for the physical education-type camp that kids can take part in once their school work is done.

Rios said she has checked with agencies to ensure that what she’s doing is legal. All COVID-19 precautions and cleaning standards will be followed, she said.

“Right now, at least with all of the people we’ve seen at our gym, (parents') main concern with their kids is they’re just not having that scheduling that’s so important for kids to learn,” Rios said.

Going to a camp outside of home gives everyone a routine to follow, Rios said.

Jennifer Switaj, one of Rios’ clients, is a teacher. The working mother of three says her fifth grader is going to the camp for two reasons -- one is that her home internet cannot support three kids doing virtual learning at the same time, and also because she does not want her older children to feel responsible for looking after their younger sibling.

“The folks at Stars Vipers are giving us something that a lot of working parents need,” Switaj said.

On the West Side of San Antonio, Reach for the Stars day care owner Travonte Howard said he’s working on a plan to possibly include tutoring for first and second graders.

“We know how it is trying to teach, you know, it’s a full-time job. And having a full-time job and teaching, it is hard,” he said.

Howard said many parents are interested in the possibility of the program. However, he still has to clear it with the state inspector to see if that’s going to be possible for his business.

Both owners say the goal is to help working parents, but this would also help them bring in a little more income during difficult times.

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