Wake County schools offering virtual learning program for 2021-22 school year

Wake County News

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — In efforts to accommodate families who aren’t comfortable with returning to in-person learning, Wake County Public Schools will provide a Virtual Academy program for grades K-12 during the 2021-22 school year.

The 2021-22 school year is set to begin in July and August.

“We acknowledge, however, that some families may not be comfortable with in-person instruction as we begin the 2021-22 school year in July and August. This is one reason why WCPSS will provide a Virtual Academy program for grades K-12, along with a virtual option for Pre-K, for next school year, pending final approval by the school board,” the county wrote in a letter to families.

The registration window for next year’s Virtual Academy will be open for approximately 10 days and will begin no sooner than April 22. The county says it will notify families of the specific dates in the coming days.

The county says there will be a few changes for next school year:

Students must commit to attending the Virtual Academy for the entire school year.

  • A one-year commitment is necessary to avoid students having to change teachers, whether in the Virtual Academy or in person, during the year.
  • This will also reduce or eliminate sharing teachers with those attending in-person classes.
  • The district will reassess this requirement if vaccination programs are expanded to include children of all ages. The district will also re-evaluate registration in Virtual Academy if the COVID-19 pandemic surges again.

Virtual Academy families must agree to a Statement of Understanding that outlines student expectations involving attendance and engagement. 

Details will be provided prior to the opening of the registration window. A school may recommend that a child return to in-person instruction if the student is unwilling or unable to meet the stated expectations for the Virtual Academy.

The county will provide Virtual Academy students access to all core curriculum classes and select elective courses. 

  • A list of offerings will be provided prior to the opening of the registration period. 
  • The offering of each course will be subject to sufficient minimum student registration and adequate staffing and other resources in an effort to eliminate teachers having to teach both virtual and in-person students at the same time. 
  • Some courses and classes are dependent on the hands-on learning experiences that are provided through the in-person learning experience and therefore can not be offered in a virtual environment at this time. 

The Virtual Academy will not be offered in the district’s Early Colleges, Leadership Academies, Alternative Schools, Crossroads Flex High School, and SCORE Academy.

  • Special circumstances at these schools make it difficult to match the programmatic intent of each school with the goal of the Virtual Academy. 
  • The school district is currently exploring potential alternative options for these schools that will support and meet the needs of students and families.
  • The schools are: Mount Vernon Middle School, River Oaks Middle School, SCORE Academy, Connections Academy, Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy, North Wake College and Career Academy, Wake STEM Early College High School, Vernon Malone College and Career Academy, Wake Early College of Health and Sciences, Mary Phillips High School, Longview School, Crossroads FLEX High School, Bridges Program

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