DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The deadline for enrolling in or withdrawing students from virtual school in Dorchester District 2 is quickly approaching. Parents of elementary school students who wish to make a change will need make their decision by Dec. 5, but they will have to make that decision without a full picture of what schooling will look like in January.
If parents are happy with their current enrollment no action needs to be taken.
Currently, students not enrolled in the virtual academy will continue with the partial in-person hybrid model through the end of the year which concludes on Dec. 18. However, district leadership has not yet reached a decision on whether school will restart five days a week in person or under the hybrid model for the start of next year.
In a statement to parents the district said, “As the district continues to finalize plans to transition to a face-to-face full-time instruction model as health conditions allow, these proposals will be presented at the December 14th school board meeting.”
Without solidified plans, some parents feel left in the dark about enrolling or withdrawing from the virtual option.
Dr. Greg Harrison is in charge of the virtual school. He says the deadlines were set this way so they can get all of the resources in place.
“After the deadline we can’t guarantee, just like we can’t guarantee now even if they beat the deadline, that [that they’ll get in],” Harrison said. “There’s still the catch that you have to have a teacher and you have to have space in our schools to accommodate them.”
Harrison says after the deadline passes, they will continue to work with parents who want in or out of the virtual academy. He says there were more than 8,000 students enrolled currently.
As of Monday night, around 400 students had submitted requests to leave the virtual academy and another 145 applied to enroll.
“That’s why we are trying to get ahead of it and get those numbers in and really get our families to commit so we can make the best decisions and move people around,” Harrison said. “Moving teachers and the scheduling is hard.”
In the meantime, the district says they are installing plexiglass shields in the elementary schools and have plans to do the same for the middle and high schools over the next month.
High school parents will have more time and information when it comes to deciding about enrollment in the virtual school. The enrollment deadline for those levels is Jan. 8 which is then the semester technically ends. School will resume after the holiday break Jan. 4.