Virtual school has started in Missouri and organizers of the program have gotten a special surprise.
The state education department expects as many as two-thousand students will enroll in a program that lets students take elementary or high school courses by computer without ever seeing their teachers in person. More than 50 teachers who will never see their students already are giving and checking assignments, although classes will continue to start for the next several weeks as more students sign up.
Program Director Curt Fuchs says about one-third of the students are full-time, mostly home-schooled, and mostly in elementary classes. That’s not particularly surprising to Fuchs. But something else is. He says the most heartwarming part of the program is the number of homebound students who have signed up. One, he says, is a student recently diagnosed with bone cancer. Fuchs says the student can’t go to school because his chemotherapy program has knocked out his immune system. But because the student is in the virtual school program, he’ll have six certified teachers who can give him his classes in his home.
He says that in the past, schools would send a teacher to a homebound student for five hours a week. But with this system, regular teachers will be available every day to conduct regular classes not only in core subjects but in advanced subjects as well.
About 65 homebound high school students have enrolled in the virtual school program.