Parents in the Vinton County Local School District who feel uncomfortable with sending their children back to the school buildings when the 2020-21 school year begins, have a choice on a district-sponsored online option called Virtual Vikings.

During the Vinton County Local Board of Education meeting held Monday, July 27, Curriculum/Title One Director Terri Snider explained the VC Learning Academy gives students the option to stay in the district while learning at home.

Snider explained the lessons come through the Ohio Online Learning Academy and the district has an agreement with the Education Service District of Northeast Ohio and the students will have an out-of-district instructor.  The providers are Edgenuity and Lincoln Learning while the attendance and progress of the students will be tracked and reported biweekly and students are required to spend one hour per day per class. The district will also be providing all students with a Chromebook.

Snider hopes students come to the buildings to get the full school experience because social interaction is a key part of education. She also realizes the concerns some parents have about the COVID-19 crisis and other issues they may have and the Virtual Viking Path helps to keep them connected with the district and keeps the learning process going.

The director also pointed out if there is a school closure due to the pandemic, the district will swing into action with a total online package. Last year, Vinton County, just like all the districts, was caught off guard when schools unexpectedly closed in mid-march due to the COVID-19 concerns and remained closed through the end of the school year.

If the closure is ordered again during the 2020-21 school year, that situation comes under a Plan C which the local ad-hoc school committee approved. The teachers would be using Google, Classroom, Google Meeting, and Zoom to keep the learning process going. Other learning platforms available included I-Ready, Study Island, Reflex, Reading Counts, Exact Path, Gizmos, Virtual Job Shadowing, and Plato. The district would provide a Chromebook to the students and there would be Internet hotspots set up around the county.

Snider also stated she appreciates the interaction she has had with parents and staff as they strive to make the school year as good as it can be.

In other news from the July 27 meeting, the Board approved:

* The Schools Resource Officer in cooperation with the Vinton County Sheriff’s Office.

* An agreement with Susan Anderson to provide Speech and Language Pathology.

* A contract with Guarantee Trust Insurance Company to provide student insurance.