Union R-XI will eliminate virtual learning program | Covid19

The Union R-XI School District plans to eliminate its [email protected] virtual learning program for the 2022-23 school year.

The district has 59 students enrolled in [email protected], up from 200 when the program began with the 2020-21 school year, Director of Studies Kendra Fennessey wrote in a report to the Board of Education for its Feb. 15 meeting. The program provided an option for parents who were not ready for their children to return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are extremely grateful to our wonderful staff members who have gone above and beyond to meet the virtual learning needs of many of our students during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fennessey wrote.

At the board meeting, Fennessey said the district plans to communicate the changes to parents online in March and April.

“This program was born out of need for the number of virtual students we had during the heat of the pandemic,” Fennessey said. “Now that those numbers are dropping and many of our students are returning to class, we will not be continuing this program next year.”

On Monday, Superintendent Dr. Scott Hayes said the district can still review the situation if COVID-19 cases increase. “If cases increase, we will definitely come back and see what we have and see what options exist for specific cases,” he said.

And if an individual child is immunocompromised and has concerns, Hayes said the district can do things to help without changing the rules for everyone.

Hayes pointed out that the virtual learning program was only created for the pandemic.

“There are a lot of other districts that don’t do that anymore,” he said. “We’re one of the few still doing our own virtual style.”

Edgenuity, an Arizona company, provided software for the [email protected] program during the 2020-21 school year; the district then moved to Google Classroom for the 2021-22 school year. Fennessey wrote that the change was part of moving from virtual learning to in-person learning to ensure students would receive the same curriculum both ways.

Teachers who assisted [email protected] during the 2021-22 school year received an additional service allowance.

Ryan H. Bowman