Daycare expands into volleyball courts to meet demand on ‘virtual learning’ days


WEST SENECA, NY (WIVB) A Williamsville based daycare company may double its capacity in the next month to prepare for some of the families who cannot completely back to school.

The West Seneca Central School district has announced that Phase One of the school year will involve all 6,000 kids at home getting virtual instruction possibly right through Thanksgiving, according to superintendent Matthew Bystrak. He said Wednesday the district found it challenging to meet recent state guidelines about distancing in class and offering at home instruction to which ever families may choose it. “Our fear was that if we brought back in even at half speed, half of our population, it would be difficult to make adjustments on the fly.”

Maryvale Schools also plan to start all virtual and then reassess before October 2nd. Maryvale High School senior, Erin Hayes had mixed feelings about the news. “The only problem is with the high school is the social part of it because it’s harder to be like social and interact with people on line, but for like the school work part, you could do it at home, it just doesn’t really benefit the younger people.”

Buffalo schools haven’t decided yet whether to bring students back into the classroom or start instruction virtually in four weeks. “We’re looking to start September 8 as our calendar indicates. How to start is up to the parents, caregivers, teachers. We’re getting feedback from all of our stakeholder groups on the ‘how to start,” said Dr. Darren Brown-Hall, chief of staff for Buffalo Schools.

In an attempt to meet all the demand, a Williamsville based daycare called LE3 Academy is looking to double it’s capacity, even reaching an agreement to use the Niagara Frontier Sports Complex volleyball courts in West Seneca to house another 125 kids, even if they need to do virtual learning for school while at the daycare.

“There’s a space on an upper deck where the children will have normal size tables to do their work. We’ll have games available, Covid friendly games. We can wipe down for them. Obviously on the volleyball courts we’ll split up on the courts make sure that they can do actual sports,” said Ellie Poleon, owner of LE3 Academy.

By bringing in more kids, they also need to hire more staff and some of the applicants they’ve been interviewing have either lost their jobs at smaller daycare centers which have closed or they are school aides who are not getting as much work with in class instruction.

“I listen really closely to my managers and my staff to hear what they need and what’ll make them more comfortable, so we’re never in a situation where we don;t have enough supplies or things like that,” said Poleon. “If they need it, we find it.”

Through the summer, the company has watched 175 kids with not one testing positive for Covid.

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