Rock Hill Schools virtual students struggling, district outlines resources for those students

Rock Hill Schools virtual students struggling, district outlines resources for those students

ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - Parents of virtual learners are worried their students are slipping through the cracks.

Despite Rock Hill Schools bringing back some of its in-person learners five days a week, it is much harder for those wanting to make the virtual to in-person switch.

This week, so far in Rock Hill, three students and five staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Another 30 students are under quarantine - and 24 in isolation.

This comes as Pre-K through second-grade students are learning in-person 5 days a week.

In 13 days, students in third through 5th grade will return to the classroom, but with students enrolled in virtual classes only, they may not be able to return to the classroom with everyone else.

Even though Rock Hill Schools just brought some in-person learners back, virtual learners have to jump more hurdles trying to get back in the classroom.

“Every kid cannot learn this way," said Brandi Sanders, mom to two virtual learners.

Sanders spends her days moving back and forth between her two virtual learners, but it is not going as smoothly as expected.

“Me and most other moms are just doing the best we can do," Sanders said. "But it’s just not getting anywhere and I don’t want them to fail when I know they can do this.”

She chose the online option because of the coronavirus. She says at the time they were supposed to make a decision, not much was know about the disease. Now, she is willing to risk it for her students to go back in-person.

Sanders is especially concerned for Nicholas, her first-grader with A-D-H-D. She wants him to get back to the classroom so he can have a better chance of learning.

“I figure once he gets in school they can meet him where he is and hopefully help him to get on track," Sanders said.

The switch is not going to be easy though.

“There’s not a clean-cut prescribed process," said district spokesperson Mychal Frost.

Frost says the current process is a one-to-one switch.

That means an in-person student has to switch with a virtual one in the same grade and school. If there is not a person to switch with, the virtual student, or even the in-person student, has to stay put.

To add to that struggle, Frost says students getting two days in front of a teacher are not learning as quickly as those who attend five virtual days.

The students learning in the classroom are only getting two days of instruction.

The other three days are spent working on work sent home.

The virtual learners are able to work with the students every day. When considering a switch, the district has to figure out if the student is too far ahead or behind.

“It’s not an easy puzzle to assemble no matter which direction you’re trying to move," said Frost.

Frost said there is a solution through resources.

The district’s biggest one is tutoring specifically for virtual students.

All parents need to do is reach out. Frost says if your student is on the waitlist, there is no set time for when they are getting off.

He says it will be better to reach out for resources while you wait.

“We’re here to help. Systems are not set up for students to fail. We want success for each student," said Frost.

Sanders says it is an option she is strongly considering as her son sits on the waitlist.

“At the end of the day it’s stressful, but as a mom I have to do what I have to do," said Sanders.

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