KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — Despite a number of schools reopening for in-person learning on both sides of the state line, some students and teachers are embracing the virtual learning.

On Friday, KCTV5’s Greg Payne took a look inside what one metro teacher calls her “pandemic pod.”

Right in the middle of one Kansas City neighborhood is a home that, Monday through Friday, looks a little bit different on the inside than many of the others.

Inside, you’ll find everything you would expect in a home; couches, pictures, and televisions.

However, what’s different isn’t what is in the house but who.

It’s called Penny’s Pandemic Pod.

Penny Thomas is a certified teacher who decided to convert her basement into a school and work with four students in the neighborhood, ranging from 2nd grade to 4th grade.

It’s an idea Thomas credits her friends for.

“Last spring, when school let out, all of us substitute teachers didn’t get a paycheck because we are not full-time employees,” Thomas said.

Thanks to the pod, it’s a win, win, win situation. Thomas stays employed and, for the parents, it is a major help.

“Most of the parents that we have, they are working full-time,” said Thomas. “So, if they are working from home, they are not able to oversee the math lesson or answer questions about this all the time the kids are going to need it.”

The students still take part in their usual school Zoom calls, but have the luxury of face to face guidance just steps away and a chance to interact with some familiar faces.

“We get to eat pizza on Fridays and she gives us like a 30-minute time to read,” said Avery Juarez, a 4th Grader at Pathfinder Elementary.

“It really hasn’t changed for me because I still do the Zoom meetings and I like to read a lot, so I read,” said her classmate Manha Mohamed.

Thomas said she looks forward to the day the kids will be able to go back to school in-person, in a normal environment. She said that, for now, she plans to keep the pod up and running until the end of the year.

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