- The Washington Times - Friday, April 16, 2021

Montgomery County students will have a full-time virtual school option next academic year, according to media reports. 

The “virtual academy” will offer an all-online option to students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, MCPS announced Thursday during a school board committee meeting, the Bethesda Magazine reported. The option will be mostly reserved for families with lingering health concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and high school students who need more flexible schedules. 

Students accepted into the program will remain enrolled at their “home schools,” but will take all of their classes online. They will still be allowed to participate in in-person sports and extracurricular activities as well as receive meals. 

The county public school system is still figuring out eligibility requirements for the virtual program. 

“We know there’s a part of the community who may not want to return for health reasons, or may just be thriving in this virtual learning environment — able to focus more, and are performing better,” MCPS Engagement, Innovation and Operations Chief Derek Turner told WTOP. 

MCPS intends to release a survey next week to see how many students and families might be interested in the all-virtual option. Registration for the virtual academy is anticipated to open in May. 

School officials said there could be one overarching virtual academy for the entire district or several smaller regional models, depending on the level of interest, the Bethesda Magazine reported. The academy will have staff members solely dedicated to the online program rather than splitting their time and attention between in-person and virtual student instruction. 

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