At this week’s Wayne County Board of Education meeting, Dr. Marcia Manning, Wayne County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Student Services & Innovative Programs, presented a draft Virtual Learning Plan for the 2021-2022 school year. District administrators officially finalized the grades 4-12 plan after meeting with principals on Wednesday morning. As it is rolled out, families will be informed of the application process and several limitations which were not in place during this past school year.
“The main thing we need families to be aware of is that while Wayne County Public Schools will be offering a Virtual Learning option in the 2021-2022 school year, it will not be an ‘open enrollment’ process that is available to all students,” states Dr. Manning. “We recognize that in most instances students will be more successful and have a more enriching school experience when they attend school in-person. While virtual learning may be needed by a small number of students, the expectation is that all students who are able will return to face-to-face instruction in fall 2021, where they can be offered a comprehensive curriculum, ongoing support, and extracurricular activities.”
Essentially, in the event that a student in grades 4-12 has a compelling need to learn virtually, families will be able to contact their child’s principal to request an application for remote learning. Approval by the principal will be required prior to placement in a virtual classroom. In order to be approved, a student must have the ability to participate daily in live synchronous lessons, be able to successfully complete online or offline asynchronous assignments and activities, and have a demonstrated success in a virtual environment.
Students in grades 4-8 must have a “learning coach,” defined as a family member or other responsible adult who will provide “at home” technical and academic support during both synchronous and asynchronous instruction. Virtual students will be required to participate in summative assessments face-to-face (e.g. EOG, EOC, ACT). Students who are approved to participate virtually must commit to a minimum of one semester, and will have limited access to electives offered at the school. Additionally, virtual students are ineligible to participate in on-campus events, athletics, extra-curricular events, field trips, and other enhancement opportunities afforded face-to-face students. Students with short term medical needs, including K-3 students, will be eligible for home-bound instruction for the duration of the medical need.
“These guidelines are designed to help ensure any students accepted in the program can be successful,” adds Dr. Manning. “Virtual Learning Program applications are now available and families can obtain an application at their child’s assigned school. Applications are due by June 30. The school will notify families by July 31 if their child is accepted into the program.”
As part of the 2021-2022 Virtual Learning Program, the district is working to ensure face-to-face teachers will not be assigned virtual students and making every effort to ensure virtual teachers will not have double-duty with teaching face-to-face classes either.