VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Valdosta City School (VCS) parents will be able to choose what kind of instruction they want for their children for the upcoming school year.
Parents will be able to choose from one of two options.
“Ironically, I have talked to three parents just this morning, about this very question and the advice I am giving parents you know, you have to know your child. You know how your child learns, you know what is best for your child,” said Dr. William Todd Cason, superintendent for Valdosta City Schools.
The first option is back to class like normal. Students don’t have to wear a mask but are highly encouraged to. Staff have to wear masks. They are following CDC guidelines and cleaning protocols.
The second option is virtual learning. Cason said virtual learning will be used within traditional learning in case the state or schools shut down again.
For those that go virtual, everything will be done online. Students and teachers will talk through emails, phone calls, Zoom meetings, Facetime or Google Meets. Students will be given Chromebooks and the school district is looking for ways to provide internet access.
Cason said parent support is key to virtual learning.
“But I think it’s more important for virtual students to have a larger degree of support from home. Parents will have to become teacher-coaches, somewhat serve as a second teacher,” said Cason.
With several students online, virtual teachers might not be able to respond fast enough. Students will need to seek help from those at home.
But what about testing?
Cason said for some tests, virtual students will be asked to return to campus. They are looking at different ways for fair testing and tracking student progress.
“Anytime you transition to a totally different model that was unexpected there is going to be an impact. Now, what we have to do is pivot, and transition on how to make the best of the situation that we been dealt and so it has forced us to enforce school district across the world to think about 21st century learning and how to best incorporate that into school and that’s what we are doing now,” said Cason.
Cason wants parents to talk with their kids about the options. If parents change their minds, the school will help them transition. Virtual learning comes with a commitment. There are different options, depending on a student’s grade. It can range from nine weeks to a semester or year.
“I have to remind myself that everything is so uncertain. It’s an ever-changing pandemic. Today looks one way and tomorrow looks totally different. So I’ve encouraged parents to be flexible, to be patient with us because the plan can change,” said Cason.
Valdosta City schools parents will have until July 16 to decide a learning plan for their children.