With the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic still ongoing, the Franklin County School System is offering students an option to stay home and have school online.
CARNESVILLE – With the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic still ongoing, the Franklin County School System is offering students an option to stay home and have school online.
“Virtual learning is not going to look like it did in the spring,” Franklin County Schools Superintendent Chris Forrer said of the online school option. “In the spring, we had no opportunity to plan for virtual learning. We have spent the summer preparing for this and we are going to spend the school year preparing students and teachers for virtual learning if we have to shut down again.”
Four hundred fifty students have signed up to participate in the virtual learning option. That’s more than 12 percent of the 3,602 students who were enrolled in the school system in March.
Students participating in virtual learning will be using a variety of age-appropriate online instructional platforms such as, but not limited to, Google Classroom, Seesaw, Performance Matters IXL, USA Testprep, GradPoint and Edgenuity.
According to Forrer, each platform offers standards-based instruction each day and standards-based tests.
Students participating in the virtual learning option will have a combination of online instruction, required assignments, interaction with Franklin County teachers using digital format and academic expectations.
“The curriculum will be more of a factor for learning,” Forrer said. “Even though students will be doing virtual learning, they will still attend live online instruction provided by Franklin County teachers during traditional school hours.”
Instruction will be recorded for later review, if needed, but students will be required to take part a minimum of 4.5 hours a day.
Students will be required to use their assigned Franklin County Schools device for virtual learning.
“Unlike the spring, we are going to train students and parents on how to use the platforms and devices,” Forrer said. “Virtual learning won’t begin the same day as the first day of school. We want to get all of our virtual learning students and parents in for training before we begin. It’s going to take a few days to accomplish this with social distancing.”
Families choosing virtual learning for their students committed to the program for at least one semester.
“Because of the resources involved with in-person instruction, we have asked parents to commit to their child doing virtual learning for one semester,” Forrer said. “If there are parents whose students are doing in-person and for whatever reason they would like to change to virtual learning, that is easier to do than taking a student from virtual to in-person.”
While online learning will limit some services, like special education services, 504 accommodations and EIP/ESOL/Gifted services, students will be allowed to participate in other regular activities.
“Our virtual learning students are still a part of our family,” Forrer said. “They are still eligible to participate in school activities, such as clubs, counseling services and athletics.”
Parents who have chosen the virtual learning option are responsible for repair or replacement of assigned Franklin County property, participating in training for online platforms and online expectations, answering all emails and other modes of communication within 24 hours, providing school supplies as needed, picking up class assigned instructional resources as needed and participating in all meetings regarding student success, including 504 and IEP meetings.
During the Back to School Information Meeting held on Facebook Live, Forrer was asked if virtual learning was going to be comparable to in-person instruction.
“I’m going to be honest with you, nothing compares to in-person instruction, otherwise everyone would already be doing virtual learning,” he answered.
The superintendent asked parents for patience as the online program is put in place.
“As with every thing this year, we are trying to figure things out,” he said. “We may not have everything worked out at first, but we will try to get a handle on it. We just ask parents to be patient with us.”