Parents concerned as issues continue, some pulling their children out of Gaston Virtual Academy

Problems continue with virtual classes in Gaston County

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - It is week two of school for the more than 8,700 students enrolled in the Gaston Virtual Academy.

Some parents told WBTV last week that their children still did not know who their teachers were. Many are reporting problems continuing this week.

“Nobody has sent me anything yet,” eighth grader Aidan Soto said after he logged onto his computer Wednesday afternoon.

Aidan and his older sister 10th grader Xianna Soto say they have only heard from one of their teachers and they are unable to even access many of their courses.

Their mother Camille says after parents complained about the lack of flexibility, the district sent out learning options, asynchronous or synchronous.

Her kids chose synchronous learning, but they are not getting the live teaching they hoped for.

“The kids get on there and no teacher is available,” Soto said. “Nothing.”

A Gaston Virtual Academy teacher who wants to stay anonymous tells WBTV the district was not prepared.

She says four days into school after connecting with her students, they changed her roster, giving her 30 different students. She says they have repeatedly changed who teachers report to and it has caused confusion for them as well.

“This is not going the way it’s supposed to, I can’t even get basic informational emails,” mother Kayla Adams said.

Adams enrolled her 7-year-old son Kayden in the academy in July. She says she only got one email from GVA a week before school started, and did not get the update emails that other parents got throughout the week. She also says her calls to the district went unanswered.

“If it’s messy now and you’re not prepared now and you’re saying it might be a week or two before we start learning then why would I want to put my kid in that environment?” Adams said.

Adams decided she did not want to.

“We made the decision to put him back in school despite COVID, we had to do what was best for his education and best for him,” Adams said.

Now she's encouraging other parents to be their children's advocates.

“Gaston County has guaranteed the education through virtual academy and virtual academy isn’t doing what it’s supposed to,” Adams said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the district told WBTV in part:

“It has been a significant undertaking to transition more than 8,700 students from their home school to the virtual academy in a very short amount of time. As I shared with you last week, we had families seeking the virtual learning option the week before school started, and we worked to accommodate the families. Although some students who had chosen virtual learning decided to return to their home school for two days of in-person learning and three days of remote learning, we continue to have families that want to transition to the virtual academy for full virtual learning. Trying to accommodate students/families results in changes that affect schedules, the numbers of teachers needed, making sure classes are balanced, etc. This is the reason why students and teachers have seen changes in their schedules.”

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