SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — As gyms, daycares and after-school programs remain closed due to coronavirus restrictions, one local martial arts studio has gone virtual.
Mary Tons owns MPower Youth Sports in Dillonvale, and she's using online video conferencing to help her students keep up with their practice. The gym also served as an after-school program for several local districts.
"We just started doing things, I call it, the new-school way, through Zoom," Tons said. Zoom is a free video-conferencing tool that has become central to many industries' adaptation to working remotely and to social distancing recommendations.
Reagan Stouder has studied martial arts at MPower for the last five years. She's embraced the new virtual approach.
"I love it. It's very fun, because every week she chooses a different green screen to do, and she bases that off of the classes," Stouder said.
Mansi Prasad has two children, Ahan and Vivaan, in Tons' classes. Now that the classes are virtual, they can happen at different times of day, and they've become a way to break up the children's school day.
"Normally I would do my (karate) classes late at night when I'm tired and wanting to go to bed," said Ahan Prasad. "The middle of the day, I'm awake."
Tons has even expanded the types of classes she offers virtually, adding a reading program and a "Fun-Day Friday" every week filled with online activities.
"Just to see their faces and the interaction... This is such awesome one-on-one time with them," Tons said.