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Houston County Schools opens virtual learning applications for 2021-22 school year

Families have from May 6th-13th to submit an application for virtual learning this Fall.

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — Houston County students interested in virtual learning next year will need to fill out an application by next week.

More students are returning in-person each semester, but the district is still offering the virtual option. If your family prefers the online method, you'll have one week from May 6 to apply for that option.

Houston County Schools' virtual learning coordinator, Dave Gibbs, lays out the online learning options for the 2021-22 school year, starting with students in grades 3-5.

"It's very structured. They will meet everyday, and they have a schedule that they follow. They utilize Google Classroom, a program called iReady, and Zoom. It's very much what you would expect a classroom to look like, it's just via Zoom," said Gibbs.

Middle schoolers will do live Zoom classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with Tuesdays and Thursdays being work days to catch up on assignments individually.

"High school will have support teachers at their beck and call, if you will, but it'll be much less structured. They will largely be in the APEX platform working with teachers monitoring their work and working with teachers on the side," said Gibbs.

The district expects about 1,000 students to choose remote learning after families submitted a survey for their desired learning option. Gibbs says more and more students are returning in-person.

"We started at about 11,000 students in the fall and then when we allowed students to make a change there in the mid-year, that got us down to below 5,000, so we're about upper 4,000s right now," said Gibbs.

They don't have a limit on virtual spots now. He'll assess staffing needs once they see how many applications come in.

"We feel like we're going to continually improve this for students and parents, and our number one goal is for student success," he said.

The virtual learning option is open for students in grades 3-12. Gibbs says they will decide to approve or deny a student's application based on their previous body of work, attendance, and academic performance.

The application for the virtual option opens Thursday, May 6. The deadline to complete it is Thursday, May 13. The application will be on the district's website.

Students currently enrolled online and in-person who do not submit an application for the virtual option will automatically be enrolled for in-person learning this fall.

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