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Virtual and socially distant classes give Taekwondo studio new hope during pandemic

A Plus Taekwondo offers virtual or one-on-one instruction ,while staying six feet apart, to students stuck at home during coronavirus shutdown.

GERMANTOWN, Md. — For students at A Plus Taekwondo in Maryland, instruction is now one-on-one and six feet apart or virtual. 

"They are happy to see us," Yoon Lee, owner of A Plus Taekwondo Studios, said "[And] we are happy to see them." 

Lee and her husband, commonly referred to by students and strangers as "Master Jay," were forced to shut down their studios in March due to the spread of coronavirus. An executive order signed by Gov. Larry Hogan required all non-essential businesses to close in response to the pandemic.  

'We were so stressed," Lee said. "This is the only way we could do it [safely]." 

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Credit: A Plus Taekwondo

More than two months after the initial order, parts of the state have begun reopening, with the exception of Montgomery, Prince George's, Charles and Baltimore counties. Montgomery and Prince George's counties have the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state. The extended closure has forced Lee and her husband to get creative, in order to keep their business alive and their family fed. 

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"Maybe we are getting 10%....less than 10% of our earnings," Master Jay said when describing the financial impact his business has suffered because of the mandatory shutdown. "So, if we were making $20,000 a month, we're barely making less than $2,000.00 dollars." 

Some of the families with students that attend A Plus Taekwondo continue to pay tuition in full. Others are doing what they can. Lee is flexible given the majority of her clients have been impacted by the health crisis. 

When looking into the future, however, it isn't clear when things will get back to normal. Virtual and one-on-one instruction will be the new normal, at least until a vaccine is developed.   

"As long as there is no vaccination," Master Jay said, "there is no [going back to a more normal way.]

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