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Virtual-Only School Succeeding for Some Aiken Parents

The first day of school in Aiken County was Aug. 31 and many families chose to have their children participate in virtual school from home rather than going back in person.

While it’s been different from any other school year because of the coronavirus pandemic, mothers Shadell Parks and Monique Reed said that it has been going really well for their children.

Their kids are enrolled in Aiken Innovate, the Aiken County Public School District’s virtual school program. Aiken Innovate is a full-time virtual program, so the enrolled students do not step foot on campus. Students participate in scheduled synchronous virtual meetings and collaborative discussions while completing assignments involving interactive resources.

Parks’ daughter, Noelle Williams, is in first grade at North Aiken Elementary School and said she’s been excited to get to do “home school.”

“I like it because it’s easier for us,” Parks said. “I have a dad that’s getting over cancer, and putting her back in school and possibly her catching (coronavirus) or coming in contact with someone and possibly bringing it home was our biggest issue because we didn’t want to get everyone in the house sick.”

Parks said it was a bit of a learning experience at first, learning how to navigate going into classes or meetings. There’s been no issues with the technology, and Parks said Williams’ teacher, Curtis Dawkins, has done a great job. 

Williams has a schedule on Monday through Thursday. She goes online in the mornings around 8 a.m. and does the morning portion, which includes a morning meeting and reading and language arts, until 10 a.m. She has lunch and recess from 10 a.m. to noon. She then does the afternoon portion, which includes math and social studies, from noon to 2 p.m. She does not have class on Fridays.

Williams said she has missed her friends, but it’s been nice to be able to see them on the computer during class meetings.

Monique Reed has had much of the same experiences with her three children. Destiny is in fifth grade at East Aiken School of the Arts, Trey is in seventh grade at Schofield Middle School and Adam is in ninth grade at Aiken High School.

Reed said she has felt pleased overall with how the school system has done everything.

“I’m glad they gave us an option to do the virtual,” Reed said.

Destiny has a set schedule as an elementary school student, like Williams. For Trey and Adam, they get to pick times for their classes, which allows them to build their own schedules.

“They have to participate in a live (session) for each subject once a week, and then they have to have their things submitted on time,” Reed said.

“I can honestly say it’s all gone good,” Reed said. “I haven’t had any issues so far; and the little issues I did have, they were resolved right away.”

Click here to read the full Aiken Standard article. 

Landon Stamper/Aiken Standard