Daviess County Public Schools will be offering a virtual school option for families who do not feel comfortable sending their students back to in-person classes in August.
The virtual school option is still in its planning phases, according to DCPS Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Jana Beth Francis, but district officials want families to know this will be different than non-traditional instruction.
“The big thing is this would be completely virtual,” Francis said. “It wouldn’t be the type of thing where we would send packets home.”
There are still a lot of logistical items that need to be worked out, Francis said, and families who have an interest in this option need to make sure they have the technology supports to ensure students can learn without issue.
Francis said several districts across the commonwealth are proposing virtual learning options for families, and anywhere from 5-25% of families are saying they are going to opt for virtual.
While a lot of the planning still needs to be ironed out, Francis said, the idea is to not pile on extra work for teachers.
“What we don’t want is for teachers to have to have in-class lessons, and then also have a virtual lesson,” she said.
Potentially, she said, a teacher could have two in-person classes, and maybe one virtual class. The district really won’t know the details of this until they know how many families are interested in the virtual option.
How NTI fits into all of this is if a student is enrolled in traditional, in-person classes, they would then switch to NTI options in the event of an emergency. That could mean a mixture of virtual lessons or packets, similar to what took place at the end of the 2019-20 school year.
Students already enrolled in virtual school would see no changes if a decision is made to switch to NTI, Francis said.
The district will be sending out a survey sometime this week for families to fill out and return as soon as possible. The survey is intended to gauge parent concerns relating to COVID-19.
The survey will be sent electronically to families, according to DCPS Spokeswoman Lora Wimsatt.
“This is just to get a snapshot of what our parents are thinking,” Wimsatt said. “Our goal here is to see what our parents are thinking and what they want. We want to be as responsible to their concerns and needs as possible. Hopefully that survey will give us some good information. We certainly would encourage people to fill that out promptly, and we will give it our sincere and intentional focus.”
Owensboro Public Schools is also working on a virtual school plan. That plan will be made public Tuesday at the district’s 11 a.m. luncheon, according to OPS Superintendent Matthew Constant.
The OPS luncheon meeting will take place at the Owensboro Board of Education, 450 Griffith Avenue, in its large conference room upstairs.
Bobbie Hayse, firstname.lastname@example.org, 270-691-7315