Virtual school questions answered

Suzette Lowe
Virtual school classes are rigorous and require individual responsibility on the part of the students enrolled.

There have been many questions, and some confusion, regarding the virtual school option being offered by the Jackson County Board of Education for the upcoming school year.

Several key points have been posted on the board’s website under the virtual school tab. The application for virtual school can be found there as well.

Jackson County Superintendent of Schools Blaine Hess stresses that the virtual school classes are rigorous and require individual responsibility on the part of the students enrolled.

Virtual classes are not to be confused with the distance learning procedures followed when schools closed abruptly in March. The students will be assigned a teacher through the West Virginia Virtual School. That instructor will grade the student’s work, contact on a regular basis and provide support to keep the student progressing. The teacher assigned will not necessarily be a teacher from Jackson County.

The deadline to register for virtual school is Aug. 31, but parents are encouraged to enroll by Aug. 14. Classes will begin on Sept. 8, the same date as in-person school begins.

Other points:

• There is no cost to students but it is the responsibility of parents/guardians to provide internet service

• Reliable internet access is required

• Available for K-12 grade students enrolled in Jackson County Schools

• After classes start, a student has 14 calendar days to opt out and return to in-person school

• After the 14-day trial period has ended, the student is committed for the semester

• Virtual school students may take part in any sport or extracurricular activity, for which they would normally qualify, and are eligible for the school meal program

• Grades will be given for each virtual school class

• Students will be assigned a course load consistent with his/her grade level

• Virtual school, which is web-based, is open 24/7 but the student is expected to work daily for an average of 4-6 hours. All assignments, which will be available the first day of class, must be completed by the end of the semester

• Students from K-8th grade are supplied an iPad; students in grades 9-12 are supplied with a MacBook

• Virtual school students must take any standardized tests required for all students

• Students with disabilities must have an IEP or 504 meeting prior to enrollment in virtual school to determine appropriate supports and services needed. Collaborative monitoring by the West Virginia Department of Education virtual school instructor, the Jackson County schools virtual coordinator and the child’s special education case manager.

For information, call the board office at 304-372-7306 or visit the website at