Virtual schooling options available at Lubbock gaming facility

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — Contender eSports in Lubbock said Wednesday it would share their resources with students in the community with an online school location for families who may not be ready to send their children back to a busy school just yet.

The business opened up in July as a video game facility. With the landscape of education quickly changing, management decided they could use their facility to help out the community.

“When we saw there might be a need in the community for virtual schooling locations, we immediately were like, yes, let’s jump in there and see what we can do to help,” said owner Rachel Kiwior.

Management explained the program could serve as a possible solution for parents who may not be ready to send their children back to a busy school who also may not have the necessary resources or time to keep them focused at home.

“If you’re a parent, maybe you’re working from home, it’s hard to do your work and teach your child throughout the day, ” said Kiwior. “We’ve got someone here to help all day. If they have any questions, we’ve got a dedicated person to help them with their schooling.”

The facility is available for students in grades three through 12 and would be open during regular school hours, but with flexible pick up and drop off times for parents.

The business would go about its regular business for gamers throughout the day and are currently flexible with how many students they would take in, the maximum being 45.

Students who have opted for virtual learning have been provided Chromebooks by their prospective school districts. Contender eSports said students would use those to do all of their school work but would have opportunities to use the desktop computers and gaming systems during breaks.

“We have a set structure, so they’re going to be doing school work, and we have worked in breaks during that time as well so that they can have a little bit of fun,” said Kiwior. “They will bring their Chromebooks here, they will connect to our Wi-Fi, it’s high speed, so they should have any connection problems.”

Lubbock ISD Assistant Superintended Misty Rieber said parents who opt for online learning should be aware of what it means to sign up for virtual school.

“They’re making a commitment to a full day of learning, ” Rieber said. “The full schedule, the rigor, the same grading system, the same grading as our students and the same face to face instruction.”

Contender eSports said they hope their program would help to fill the gap for parents who may not be ready to make that much of a commitment, even though, they are not ready to send their children to school.

“They’re going to be around the same people every day but at a safe distance, and we will make everything clean and safe for you,” said Kiwior. “We do have a policy that everyone should be wearing a mask, so we require all of our employees to have a mask on. We’re trying to keep a safe environment – we clean after every single customer everything is wiped down.”

As an employee at Texas Tech’s College of Engineering, Kiwior explained it is important for all customers to follow the governor’s orders and wear masks and maintain social distance.

In addition to having a tutor available, students would have the opportunity to learn other skills while they are attending the program.

“We have a program where they can learn to code, they can actually create their own app and their own game, so hopefully after this experience, they can take that with them,” said Kiwior.

The schedule would also be flexible. Parents could choose to send their children for five days a week, or three days (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) or two days (Tuesday and Thursday).

The price of the program is $30 a day per student, but management said they would work with each individual and hope to offer scholarships to make the program affordable for everyone.

For more information on how to sign up, visit their website.

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