By Kendall Patterson
After hearing from the Chester County Schools parents, the Chester County Board of Education decided to start school Aug. 10 and offer a virtual option.
School was going to start back on time on Aug. 4 since the board’s survey of options of delaying school had a 65.4 percent of people that wanted to start school back on time out of 1,235 participants.
However, since it will take time to set up the virtual learning, and since they wanted the virtual student calendar to be in sync with the in-person school calendar, they decided to push it back.
To make up those days, the school calendar will go two days into Thanksgiving break and three days at the end of the year.
After putting out a survey for the virtual option, 604 participants showed interest in doing school virtually.
In order to meet those families’ desires as best as possible, the school board decided to offer the virtual school to those families.
Anyone who participates in it or goes to school will have to stick with whichever option they choose for a semester. Other requirements for those who go the virtual route are that the student will have to have a parent/ guardian that will be able to supervise them, the household would have to have reliable internet access and the students will be accountable for any devices given to them. Virtual students will be given the option to be allowed to use a Chromebook for that semester, but they will be held accountable for them if something was to happen to them. Additionally, the virtual students will need to be logged in online to the platform at a minimum of 20 hours per week.
Those doing the virtual option should also take note that the educators teaching them this year will not be from Chester County schools; they will be licensed professionals hired from the virtual learning platform company. Kilzer said it will take time to get the CC educators prepared to teach in that manner.
At the Chester County Commission meeting, Director of Schools, Troy Kilzer II, stated that the virtual option would cost the school district an estimate of 1.3 million for the year. He said that the cost they will be paying for students K-8 will be $1,100 and for high schoolers it would be $1,325.
All school board members voted in favor of both decisions.
The next CCBOE meeting will be Aug. 20.
“I hope and pray that everyone realizes that school is going to be a safe place to return…I know that once our school days get started people will be able to see the testimony of what I’m preaching right now, and I hope that our staff and teachers learn from me how much I appreciate all the hard work and diligence that have gone into getting this school year ready,” Kilzer said.