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Bay Virtual School sees major increase in applications

Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 10:37 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

With the new school year right around the corner, many families are deciding between on-campus or online learning for their students.

Officials with Bay Virtual School say they’ve seen a major uptick in enrollment for this year.

“I’d say we’ve probably had about a 700 percent increase in our typical enrollment,” said Bay Virtual School Principal Shelly Rouse. “At first, it was kind of a slow trickle but now it’s a giant rush of people trying to get in before the July 15th deadline.”

Officials say the deadline is in place so they can prepare and have staff in place based on the number of students for the semester.

Another at-home option is homeschooling.

While officials say those enrollment numbers are around the same as years before, they want to remind parents virtual school and homeschooling are different.

“As a home school student, your parents are your principal; your teacher, your curriculum advisor; the person who provides the curriculum, they’re everything,” said Rouse. “As a virtual school student, we have teachers, we provide the curriculum, we take care of all of that.”

However, for those starting the year in virtual school, they’re asking for at least a one-semester commitment before going back to campus.

“When a student goes from virtual school back to a physical school, there’s something lost in translation unless it’s at the end of the semester because the pacing is different,” said Rouse.

But if a student starts the semester on campus they can switch to virtual at any time.

“The reason for that is I can manipulate the virtual courses to sort of meet where they left off in their traditional classroom,” added Rouse.

For those wanting to return to campus this year, the Bay District School Board is voting on its reopening plan Tuesday afternoon at the school board meeting.

For more on how to apply to Bay Virtual School click here.

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