ROCKFORD, Mich. — As kids settle into the new school year, it's safe to say COVID-19 is playing a smaller role this year. The pandemic forced many schools to offer online learning options and while most have since evaporated, others are here to stay.
During the pandemic, Rockford Public Schools created "Rockford Virtual" as an alternative. They say the demand far exceeded their early expectations of 200 students.
"We ended up with 1,000 students for the 2020-21 school year," explained Rockford Principal Dr. Kelly Amshey. "Some didn't like the protocols we had to have in place, others were worried about transmission. So kind of two groups that we were meeting the needs for."
The district has decided to continue offering virtual learning and while demand has certainly waned, it still has about 100 students in seventh to 12th grades opting to attend at least some classes virtually.
Dr. Amshey says she thinks online learning is here to stay.
"We see students doing the same thing at the college level. They want certain classes in person and then there are other classes that they feel like 'I can master that class in a different mode,'" Amshey said. "And that provides them with flexibility for things like work schedule, for social engagements, things like that."
Dr. Amshey emphasizes that choosing virtual learning is a big decision for families and it works best for students with a strong work ethic.
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