RPAC 'pods' offered as alternative student learning spaces

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Rochester students work in one of RPAC's pods. (Courtesy photo)

ROCHESTER - Though the stage at Rochester Opera House may be taking a pause on their performance series for the end of 2020, their educational programming is ramping up for the winter months.

Their education space at Rochester Performance and Arts Center is launching a new program - RPAC PODS - to assist school age youth/teens and their families experiencing virtual and hybrid learning schedules.

Education Director Jenry Towle shared how the program was inspired. "Speaking with parents of our summer campers, I heard anxiety and fear about their children returning to school, and how they would support them if they went back to a hybrid or online schedule," Towle said. "Many said they would not have appropriate care for their children for the day, couldn't take off work or afford to hire someone to help their child with schoolwork."

RPAC has transformed their space into a safe and distanced learning space. Each "pod" allows students to have their own personal space with a good internet connection to complete learning requirements of their school. Laptops with front facing cameras, desktops, and printers are available as well. The program is staffed with qualified educators who are available to aid students with their online school work and homework. Half day and full day packages are available, and sessions are structured to two week sessions to ensure students do not come into contact with continually different people and spaces.

"We want to be as much of an ally and support as we can to the younger people in our community," Towle shared. "Each day there will be interactive and team building activities (indoors and outdoors) to continue to build and grow communication skills - a skill that I think is super important now."

RPAC is seeking funding for the program through grants and private donations, and so far has received funding from TD Charitable Foundation and the City Block Development Grant (CBDG). They are accepting registrations through January 2021. Financial assistance is available. For more information, please contact RPAC, or register online at

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