LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A virtual education system that was designed to be temporary could outlast the pandemic as more families stay with online classes.
Every local school district in the Louisville area and Southern Indiana now has students back in the classroom. However, each district gave families the option of whether to send their students back to school. Now, many have chosen to stay home full time.
As of April, 15% of Oldham County students are continuing with virtual classes full-time as are 17% of Hardin County students, 24% of students in Greater Clark County Schools, and about 32% of students in Jefferson County Public Schools.
It’s not just about the COVID health concern, either. To lower the risk of exposure, many districts created a hybrid schedule, where students only return for a portion of the week.
Some parents believe the inconsistency is impacting their child’s academics.
“We are on a hybrid model,” JCPS teacher Brittney Gee said. “So, even the kids that did return to school are only getting two days in-person and then the other three days are online, anyway. So, a lot of parents are going, ‘Well, if they’re just going to go in for two days and they’re still learning on the computer, why don’t we just keep it consistent and them on that computer learning every day?’”
Gee teaches the virtual academy for every first grader that has chosen to stay home within her JCPS school. Although Gee was introduced to new students last month, she said the process has been overall easy since most students are now familiar with online classes.
She believes there is more adjustment for the students returning to the classroom.
“Just with all of the restrictions, it’s not school like we used to know school,” Gee said. “If I were in my classroom, I would want to pass out and let kids get their hands on, we’re not even there yet. Then the two days a week thing is a little different for people. So, with the need for social distancing and kids wearing masks for such long periods of time, I think they may be having a harder time than what I’m doing because they’ve been in the flow.”
Critics claim online classes full-time have taken a substantial toll on many children’s academic progress and emotional health.
As a teacher, Gee said it’s different for every student. Some can perform well with online classes, while others need the structure of a classroom.
At this time, it has not been decided if local school districts will continue virtual learning in the fall.