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Lafayette County School District updates return to school plan

Lafayette County School District students who choose the virtual learning method for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year will have to provide medical reasoning for doing so.

During their regular monthly meeting on Monday, the LCSD school board approved changes to the district’s Return to School Plan. The biggest change involved the district’s virtual learning plan.

Similar to what Oxford School District superintendent Brian Harvey said last week, virtual students at LCSD are struggling with their assignments away from the classroom.

Any students who wish to go from face-to-face to virtual learning will have to provide a reason from a doctor or a doctor’s note for them to make that transition.

“Virtual students are not performing very well,” said LCSD superintendent Dr. Adam Pugh. “We know that they do better when they’re here. …Not making it difficult for them, be we know how a lot of our virtual students are struggling.”

Pugh did not know the exact percentage of virtual students who were struggling, but it was enough to bring it to his Board’s attention.

The lack of success by students choosing the virtual learning method was a concern all school districts had when virtual learning was going to still be an option due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

There is more than one factor for why students are not having the success at home that they have in the classroom during a normal school year.

“You don’t have that face-to-face (instruction). In my opinion, nothing can replace having a kid in a classroom,” Pugh said after the meeting. “Some of the kids are thriving (with virtual method). This is right up their alley. But for the most part, the majority of them are struggling a little bit. We want to get them back. I would love to have them all back.

All of a sudden you shift from what you’re doing face-to-face to try to learn from a computer, that’s difficult for some kids. Again, just the access, the internet access and the connectivity, that’s an issue. It’s all of it.”

As of Monday, there were 341 seventh through 12th grade students who were utilizing the virtual method. Of those students, 115 of them were coming back to school for the second nine-weeks term. There are 154 elementary-level students who are doing virtual learning as well as 59 secondary-level students.