Belpre City Schools deadline looms for in-person, virtual learning

BELPRE — Parents of Belpre City Schools students will have until Dec. 8 to choose between in-person or virtual learning for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year in a statement released by Belpre City Schools Superintendent Jeff Greenley on Monday.

The decision is a follow-up of parents first choosing the two options before school started in August based on the uncertainty due to COVID-19 and having to stay with the decision until the end of December.

Greenley expects students to make a return to in-person learning based on many reasons, from virtual learning not going as well as they hoped or being more comfortable with coming back after seeing how the school reacts to COVID. Greenley also expects some to do the opposite and go virtual for the remainder of the school year, but he is not seeing a mass increase on either side.

“No, I don’t think so, but the results are still out though,” he said. “I bet some grade levels will have like three transfer to in-person and two transfer to virtual. In fifth grade, we may have the reverse. I do not expect that there is going to be a large amount of movement one way or the other, but I won’t know until the results come back next week. But we don’t anticipate that.”

Parents are required to fill out a form, provided on the release, and have until 11:59 pm. Tuesday, Dec. 8, to complete the form. The form requires an email address, the child’s name, grade, and then the option between in-person learning with safety protocols in place from January through May 2021 or at-home online learning with support with the same date.

If choosing virtual learning and the child is in grades 7-12, the parent will have to pick between using Blue Sky Academy and PEAK. Blue Sky is a structured standard aligned and interactive online curriculum. Each student is assigned a student mentor to be the main contact for the student and their family. The student will also have a teacher for each course that will monitor student progress.

PEAK is a self-paced online program. Students must have support at home and be self-driven learners to be successful. A teacher is not associated with the courses and all instruction is computer-based learning.

Attendance will be taken in both in-person and virtual learning environments. Virtual learners are required to participate in Zoom sessions with teachers and classmates as well as complete assignments for attendance.

For families with two or more children going to school, a different form must be filled for each of them.

Decisions are final until May 2021, students will not be able to switch between virtual or in-person learning once the semester begins.

The release also stated that while anticipating being able to accommodate all requests from families who would like to transition from virtual learning back to in-person learning, there may be some grade levels, mainly in the elementary schools, where the school can not safely accommodate additional students and maintain appropriate distancing, depending on the demand of students returning.

Belpre City Schools will reach out to any impacted families shortly after the commitment selection period ends to directly communicate with them about their options if applicable.

Belpre has also been affected by the nation-wide shortage of Chromebooks, having to wait several months to receive additional units. Depending on demand, Belpre may only be able to supply one Chromebook per family for virtual students.


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