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Ross Twp. approves waiver, day care facility to add temporary classroom trailer

Deborah Karpinsky was relieved and ecstatic when Ross Township supervisors approved her land development waiver at their monthly meeting Monday evening.

“These are tears of joy,” she said when the meeting adjourned.

Since 1997, she and husband Robert have owned Playtime Learning Center along Route 115 in Saylorsburg. Her father, the late Lawrence Solimine, built it.

“I need more classroom space this year. More kids will be there all day long,” she told the supervisors.

The building is licensed for 54 children. An additional 15 kids, ranging in age from 6 to 12, will be there full days instead of just for a short time before and after school.

“I had one mom cry because she might have to quit her job if my facility cannot accommodate all these kids,” she said.

The influx is due to Pleasant Valley School District’s hybrid teaching format - where students will be in a PV building two days a week and then at home or at a day care facility three days to complete online lessons.

Many school districts are choosing the hybrid model as COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise around the country.

“We would like to put a temporary trailer that is 60 feet long by 10 feet wide where some parking spaces are currently,” Robert Karpinsky said.

While his wife dedicates her time and talents to teaching the children and building relationships with the families and staff members, he does more of the behind the scenes work with their business.

This includes figuring out how to gain more space without adding onto the current building.

He has been researching trailers, looking at the property’s blueprints and learning a lot more about setbacks, he said.

Although the trailer will take up some of the parking area, the Karpinskys say this will not be a problem.

“Parents are spending less time to park. It is more of a drop-off and leave process. We check the kids’ temperature before the parent leaves,” said Deborah Karpinsky.

Inside the trailer, there will be a row of desks with partitions on the side, linoleum flooring with area rugs, air conditioning, heat and beanbag chairs.

“We found out those are really easy to disinfect and keep clean,” he said.

The older children will do their schoolwork on laptops supplied either by their parents or the school.

The trailer does not have a bathroom, so these children will have to go into the building, where the preschool-aged children will be.

“We will have them wear masks when in there to use the bathroom,” he said.

Otherwise, just the staff wear masks all day.

After the discussion, Supervisor James Zahoroiko motioned that “we waive the land development request as long as the temporary trailer is removed by June 30, 2021, and the trailer has met the setback specifications.”

He and Chairwoman Tina Drake voted in favor; Vice Chairman David Shay voted against it.

“I like what you do there. I support the kids,” Shay told the Karpinskys.

Shay explained that he voted no because he does not want to establish a precedent for waiving land development requests.

Earlier in the meeting, he also voted no when the other two supervisors voted in favor of a land development waiver for a property seeking to increase hall space and upgrade bathrooms.

“I’m so happy for a solution. We need this classroom trailer. I have had some of these kids since they were infants,” Deborah Karpinsky said.

For more information about their center, https://www.playtimelc.com.

Deborah and Robert Karpinsky have owned and operated Playtime Learning Center along Route 115 in Saylorsburg since 1997. Ross Township Supervisors approved a land development waiver request on Monday night, allowing the Karpinskys to put a temporary classroom trailer across from the building to accommodate school-age children who will be there full days doing online schoolwork. STACI L. GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS