Shae Simpson and her fiancé, Chauncey Simmons, have a makeshift classroom planned out for their two elementary school-aged children.
When schools went to digital learning last March, the couple purchased another computer to make sure the children could complete assignments.
Monday was the deadline for parents and students in Douglas County to decide which learning option they were choosing for the upcoming school year because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Simpson and Simmons have decided on the school-based digital learning option for their daughter, Camoria Yancey, and son, Seth Cason. Yancey is a fourth-grader and Cason will be entering the third grade. They both attend North Douglas Elementary School.
“I wanted to see how things would go in the beginning with all that is going on,” Simpson said. “I wanted to see if there were any issues.”
Because Simpson and Simmons have home-based jobs, the choice was a lot easier for them.
The school system is offering three learning options for the 2020-21 year, which is slated to begin Aug. 10.
The first option is traditional learning with in-classroom instruction.
Parents also have the school-based digital learning (hybrid model), which allows students to learn from home for the first nine weeks through their regular schools. According to the system’s website, the program will be evaluated with input from parents at the end of each nine-week period and modified as needed. After the first nine weeks, digital learning may be combined with in-person instruction.
The third option, the new Flex Academy, is a digital-based option that will operate as a standalone program with its own staff actively monitoring students’ learning at their own pace.
Simpson said both transitioned well in March when schools were ordered to shut down because of the pandemic.
“I had to be a lot more involved with Seth because of the learning style that he was used to,” Simpson said. “We’re setting up the classroom so it will feel more like they are at school.”
Entering her senior school year at Chapel Hill High, Derica Price wanted the traditional learning option.
“It’s my senior year, and I didn’t want to miss anything,” Price said. “I’m a senior, why not?”
Price’s mother, Mimi Price, said there isn’t much concern in spite of the ongoing public health crisis. The younger Price is a three-sport athlete, who has been conditioning with the softball team since mid-June.
“She is out there for sports, so it is just an extension of that,” Mimi said. “I think she learns better in a face-to-face situation. I know the school will make sure that she keeps her mask on. I really didn’t like the digital learning concept.”
Angela Kimble isn’t ready for her daughter, Kylie, a fifth-grader at Brighten Academy, to resume in-school learning.
“I’m scared to death about the entire situation,” Kimble said. “I’m getting calls everyday from people that have come down with it. I just want to keep my house safe.”
The safety includes caring for mother at her house.
Kimble has enrolled, Kylie, in the digital learning program.
“We didn’t have any issues when we did it in March,” said Kimble, who has a home-based business. “Kylie had assignments everyday and she had to get it in. She did well. I just want to keep everybody safe.”