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State superintendent discusses the future of virtual learning post pandemic

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 8:52 PM CST
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TROY, Ala. (WSFA) - When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, Troy City Schools parent Suki Tipp decided all four of her kids would go virtual.

“My older kids were able to just jump right in, because they were used to using emails and Google Forms,” Tipp said. “My younger kids, I had to work with them a little bit to be able to do it.”

Despite the learning curve, the mother believes virtual learning worked well for her family, but now her kids back to in-person learning.

“That has been our biggest transition, biggest difficulty, is transitioning back into the classroom,” Tipp added.

It is a transition some students will likely experience soon. Right now, more than a third of Alabama students are learning at home.

“A large number around 200,000 students, who are on remote learning only,” State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said.

Hundreds of students are remote and in quarantine, according to Mackey. It’s a shared experience, as he recently had COVID himself.

“This is my first day back in the office, and I can say it was not any fun at all, and so I can understand why, you know, we have to treat this as a serious issue as it is,” Mackey said.

Due to COVID-19, there has been a slight uptick in families opting to do full-time virtual public school.

“That number I think probably will continue to trend higher post pandemic,” Mackey added.

Students will likely transition into something that works best for their family, whether that’s virtual or in-person learning.

“The one that’s a sophomore right now, she just went back, and she wanted that one-on-one instruction with her math classes, is why she went back, but she really enjoyed doing virtual,” Tipp said.

The state superintendent adds Alabama has not seen an increase in parents choosing to homeschool their children permanently.

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