By Jeff Harrison
Nearly 4,000 students in Mid-Del Schools will complete their education from home this school year.
Mid-Del had just under 4,000 students sign up for the Mid-Del Virtual Academy, the district’s entirely online learning plan, for the 2020-21 school year. This year, the district offered both traditional in-person and virtual options due to the coronavirus.
Enrollment for the virtual program opened July 13 and was scheduled through Aug. 7. Nearly 1,500 students applied for virtual learning in the first week. District officials had to close enrollment last week when it reached capacity.
Superintendent Rick Cobb said enrollment in the virtual program exceeded expectations.
“This being our first time to have this program, we expected that we had more than accounted for the amount of interest we would have,” Cobb said. “There was a strong surge late last week that made us close it down.”
Students in the virtual learning program will receive their instruction remotely from certified educators. Families were required to provide a device and internet access and commit to the virtual learning for at least one semester. Students in virtual learning are still able to participate in OSSAA sanctioned extra-curricular activities at their school site.
The district announced last month that it will provide traditional in-person and virtual learning options for the school year. The district later modified plans for traditional instruction by shifting to an A/B schedule due to rising numbers of coronavirus in Oklahoma County. Half of the students will report to school sites on certain days while the others will receive remote instruction. The plan is designed to reduce the amount of students in the buildings at any one time to allow for more social distancing.
The school district contracted with a third-party platform, Edgenuity, to offer the online instruction. The Arizona-based company provides all instruction through a comprehensive online platform. School officials said the courses are customizable and meet Oklahoma academic standards. Teachers will facilitate learning for students.
The district initially agreed to pay up to $300,000 for the online learning program. They had to triple that amount to $900,000 last month due to higher than expected participation.
Cobb said the district set a cap on enrollment due the cost of the student licenses for the online program.
School is scheduled to begin Aug. 24.