by KATE EVANS
Morgan County Schools is offering a K-12 virtual school option along with an in-school option for students for the 2020-2021 school year due to health concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Families that aren’t comfortable sending their children to in-person school can choose the virtual school option.
Registration for the Morgan County Virtual Academy is due by Monday, August 3 and can be completed online on the Morgan County Schools website.
Registering a child for the virtual school commits them to that learning format for the full first semester. Families who have multiple children in the school system must register each child separately.
Students can withdraw from the virtual academy within 14 days of the semester’s beginning without penalty, according to the Morgan County Virtual Academy Handbook.
Those students will be transitioned back to traditional day school.
The virtual academy handbook can be found on the Morgan County Schools website as well as answers to frequently asked questions about virtual school.
The school website link is www.morganschools.net.
Curriculum for the Morgan County Virtual Academy will be similar to traditional curriculum that students receive in school.
All subjects will be taught online for in the virtual school. Some electives may have limited availability.
Advanced Placement and Career Technical Education courses may be offered. Daily schedules will be set by the schools/teachers.
Virtual Academy students can still participate in James Rumsey Technical Institute and Blue Ridge Community and Technical College courses.
All Morgan County teachers and students will use the Schoology platform in the virtual academy. Classes will be taught by Morgan County teachers using state Department of Education standards.
According to Virtual School FAQs, classwork, grades, parent communication and curriculum will be provided through the Schoology platform. Instruction will include live virtual meetings in real time and recorded lessons.
The Morgan County Virtual Academy enrollment application notes that “Virtual courses are rigorous and reading and writing intensive. This option will be best suited to students who are working on grade level, are independent workers, and have supports in place in the home.”
Online learning time will vary depending on a student’s age.
Elementary students will have spend 1-2 hours each day doing online learning. Middle school and high school students can expect 2.5 to 3.5 hours of online learning daily.
All Morgan County students will be expected to engage in five days of learning each week.
The virtual academy requires broadband internet access. The school system can help parents locate internet hot spots where internet service is available. Parents can note in their application if their child has their own device or if they need a school device (a Chromebook or iPad) to complete their virtual schoolwork. Cell phones are not considered a school device.
Meals, sports, events
Students enrolled in the Morgan County Virtual Academy are eligible for the Child Nutrition Program. Meal service will be provided by pick-up to these students, as summer meals have been.
Virtual academy students will be eligible to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities and events. They must have a 2.0 grade average to participate in WVSSAC sanctioned activities.
Still county students
Students enrolled in the virtual academy are considered Morgan County students. They will receive a high school diploma on completion of their graduation requirements.
If students have an IEP or 504 plan, they may be able to be schooled online but some special educational services and accommodations may not be applicable or available for online learning. A special education team will meet with parents and students to determine their best educational environment.
Parents’ and guardians’ roles in virtual learning for Morgan County students are “providing reliable daily internet access and … helping their children maintain a daily schedule with their classwork.”
For more information about the Morgan County Virtual Academy, call Elementary Education Director Kandy Pentoney for grades k-5 or Secondary Education Director Beth Golden for grades 6-12 at 304-258-2430.