Georgetown Co. closing application period for virtual program

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 5:36 AM EDT
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GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Georgetown County School District will no longer be accepting applications for their new virtual option after this week.

The district says applications close at noon on Friday.

Georgetown County School District Executive for Innovations and Special Programs Genia Smith says when the school year first started, they were hopeful it would be a normal school year, but now with the rise in COVID cases, they are offering the virtual option.

Smith says it will be a 5-day-a-week option, with two classes per grade level with 25 students each.

The virtual program option is only available for students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade, but Smith says they are limiting it to these grade levels since students 12 and over can get a vaccine.

“We really wanted to see, how could we possibly support our families, at the same time making sure that our children were being educated,” Smith said.

Smith says according to state regulations, each district can offer up to 5% of their enrollment for virtual enrollment. This means the virtual program is capped at about 400 students within the school district.

About 600 applications for the program have already been submitted, so Smith says they are prioritizing students who expressed interest in virtual learning last year.

Smith says the district sent out an interest form gauging who would be interested in a virtual option if needed this year. Those who expressed interest then will have first priority in virtual learning. Smith says the second priority will be those with medical concerns, and then selection will be based on how early you applied for the program.

Smith says some teachers have also volunteered to go virtual, even before the program was announced. She says the district is asking more teachers to volunteer for the program now.

“Families need to understand that in order to continue with this program, academics and attendance is of the upmost importance,” Smith said. “We cannot allow our students to miss out in any learning or any teaching and learning that’s going on in our buildings.”

Along with live class throughout the day, Smith says there will also be lessons for special areas like Art, PE, and Music in the virtual program. She notes that there will also be intervention and guidance counseling times. The district says they’re focused on doing their social and emotional learning check-ins even throughout virtual learning.

Smith says they plan to let families know next week if they are accepted for the virtual program and plan for the virtual program to begin on Oct. 4.

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