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Full-Time Virtual: Threat or Opportunity?

Full-Time Virtual: Threat or Opportunity?

Due to the current pandemic, many public school districts are providing students the option of attending school in a completely virtual setting.

At a recent virtual meeting among Oklahoma superintendents, one remarked that some of his students who had not performed well in traditional classroom settings were thriving in virtual classes. That discovery has led him to contemplate whether the new virtual program will remain after the pandemic ends.

Over the last few years, many school districts have lost students to Epic Charter Schools and other full-time virtual schools. Some districts have fought against this. This year, full-time virtual schools may account for more than 10% of Oklahoma's total student population. 

So is full-time virtual education a threat or an opportunity? Is there anything to be learned or adopted from the experience?

One benefit that traditional brick-and-mortar public schools can offer Oklahoma students that full-time virtual schools cannot is flexibility. Traditional brick-and-mortar schools can offer students a part-time or full-time virtual education AND provide traditional activities such as sports or band. Whether part-time/full-time virtual students want to participate in sports, music or chess club, a public school that offers a blend of both virtual and in-person activities can meet all students’ needs. For rural schools that may not be able to offer world language or AP classes due to limited enrollment or lack of qualified teachers, providing virtual classes can expand the schools’ offerings and meet their students' academic needs.

This pandemic has provided schools with an opportunity to experience the pros and cons of full-time virtual classes and students. Has it been worthwhile?

If you would like to share your experiences, please contact the OPSRC tech team at techteam@opsrc.net. We would enjoy learning more about your experiences.

Kurt Bernhardt

Director, Technology

Kurt serves as OPSRC's technology director.

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