FLORENCE, Ala. — The COVID-19 pandemic caused schools nationwide to make the switch to virtual learning. After a successful spring semester following the transition, Florence City Schools announced that virtual school will become a permanent learning alternative for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
Superintendent Jimmy Shaw said the school board made the decision after giving a survey to parents and receiving positive feedback.
He said this program isn’t meant to replace traditional learning.
“We are still believers in that nothing replaces the impact of a high-quality teacher in front of a child,” Shaw said. “We believe that, but for some families this is a great option, a desired option, and we want to be able to give them that option.”
Florence City Schools already has virtual school available to 7th through 12th graders. Florence Middle School Assistant Principal Ashley Bowling said it’s great for students who may want to fit in more time for extracurriculars. Bowling has a 2nd-grader and from her experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said virtual learning for students in that age group offers benefits as well.
“I think that the parents can look forward to that communication piece being there and not feeling like you’re alone,” Bowling said. “I never felt like we were alone even though we were in our house with the learning because the teacher was always just right there.”
Both the K-6 and 7 through 12 virtual programs are tuition-free and strictly voluntary. Parents can’t enroll their children just yet, but they are asked to fill out an interest survey on the Florence City Schools website. There, parents can also find the program guidelines.