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4 local districts win S.C. state approval for virtual instruction

Students and teachers are all adapting to virtual and online learning. That will be one option...
Students and teachers are all adapting to virtual and online learning. That will be one option this Fall for families who have internet access and can afford it.(Pexels)
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 3:11 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Board of Education has approved 33 school district virtual learning programs for the 2021-22 school year.

In our region, the programs include:

Aiken County: Aiken iNNOVATE program, a full-time virtual learning program serving sixth through 12th grades. Live sessions are conducted based on a structured master schedule for the program. VirtualSC Franchise Program is utilized for courses.

Barnwell County 45: Full-time virtual learning program serving kindergarten through 12th grade. Courses will be conducted synchronously with breaks for some asynchronous time to work on assignments.

Orangeburg County: Full-time virtual learning program serving prekindergarten through ninth grade. Direct synchronous instruction is provided through Microsoft Teams following the same schedule and expectations as in-person learning.

Saluda County: Full-time virtual learning program serving kindergarten through 12th grade. A standards-aligned curriculum is offered with synchronous learning opportunities. Kindergarten through eighth grade instruction is offered through Google Classroom and older students are taught through VirtualSC and Apex.

The approved programs met these criteria established by the Legislature and South Carolina Board of Education:

  • At least 25 percent of the instruction must be through synchronous instructional opportunities.
  • Each course must be taught by a teacher holding a valid South Carolina teaching certificate for the course(s) being taught virtually.
  • Provide for frequent, ongoing monitoring of an individual student’s program to verify each student is participating in the program.
  • Include proctored assessments for core subjects per semester that are graded or evaluated by the teacher.
  • Conduct required state assessments for all students following testing requirements.
  • Conduct at least bi-weekly parent-teacher contact in person, electronically, or by telephone.
  • Provide for a method to define and verify student attendance.
  • Provide for verification of ongoing student progress and performance in each course as documented by assessments and examples of coursework.
  • Participate annually in a program review conducted by the South Carolina Department of Education.

Additionally, the Legislature capped traditional school district virtual enrollment at 5 percent of a district’s total student population.

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