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RSS virtual K-8 looking for interested parents

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY – Rowan-Salisbury Schools is creating a virtual K-8 school beginning next school year and is now looking for interested parents.

The K-8 is intended to reach families who want an all-virtual option going in to next year. It is unclear how classes will begin next year after Gov. Roy Cooper postponed passing down an initial plan last week, and returning to all distance learning is a real possibility as the state experiences record highs of new COVID-19 infections.

If classes begin virtually that does not mean the state could not plan on eventually reopening schools during the year. A virtual option would allow students who do well with distance learning or who are concerned about COVID-19 infection to stay home for the year and remain in the district.

Parents who are interested in the school can now fill out an electronic form which asks for basic information about the student and what questions the parent has before formally applying to the school.

Interested parents can find the form here: tinyurl.com/rssvirtual

The district shared a flier on Thursday advertising the form was available and noting students will have access to district technology and support. Enrollment runs from July 6 to 17.

RSS has pointed to Horizons Unlimited as a hub for the school and named its director, Amy Pruitt, principal of the virtual school last week.

RSS Superintendent Lynn Moody told the district’s Board of Education the district should offer a virtual K-8 or risk losing students to surrounding districts which will be offering a similar program in the coming year or homeschooling. The board approved moving forward with creating the school two weeks ago, and appointed Pruitt as principal last week.

The district is only offering a K-8 options because it already has virtual offerings for high school students. East Rowan High School offers a virtual academy, which is open to the district. It began last year with a pilot program.

The district spent most of last semester using e-learning to teach students after schools were ordered to close in March.

The district is exploring plans to continue to feed students enrolled virtually. The possibility of allowing pickup or delivery of shelf stable meals to virtual students was fielded two weeks ago when the school was approved.

The state is still considering two plans which would reopen schools with social distancing or reduced capacity, or a third which would simply return schools to virtual classes, District administration has said Cooper could move between plans depending on the situation, meaning schools could be closed at the start of the year on Aug. 17 but be opened later.

Cooper extended phase two of reopening through July 17.

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