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Uncertainty leads families interest in homeschooling for next academic year

Come this fall, students and families in Fort Mill will have the option to enroll in the district's virtual academy.

FORT MILL, S.C. — Public educators are still struggling with how to safety reopen schools, while parents are feeling a new level of stress as they try to figure out what the next school year will look like.

In North Carolina, there are several options being considered.

Plan A: Daily face to face instruction with social distancing in place.

Plan B: A hybrid with fewer students in schools each day.

Plan C: all remote.

Charlotte- Mecklenburg School board said they are still considering all three options.

The uncertainty has to lead to a lot of interest in homeschooling, home school requests overloading the state's government website.

And in South Carolina, state recommendations will leave most of the decisions about what the next school year looks like up to each individual district.

Some districts now creating virtual academies.

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When the school year starts, students would normally come to campus and line up. But a lot of schools are turning to virtual.

Students will log on from home, as parents juggle this new world of learning.

As coronavirus started to spread, schools sent students home to finish the year remotely.

"It was fun because it was only about a few hours, but it was also pretty hard because if you don't understand you can't ask your teacher," said Violet Ober, a student.

But now that the country is starting to open back up, should students go back to the classroom?

"As a parent, you want to protect them and I want to know that they're going to be safe," said Brook Ober.

Come this fall, students and families in Fort Mill will have the option to enroll in the district's virtual academy.

"We have people who have high risks factors in their students or family member and they're not comfortable with returning to school," said Joe Burke, the Chief Communications Officer for Fort Mill School District.

It will provide instruction via live streaming and digital coursework.

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Rock hill schools also offering a similar virtual program.

In a survey, 16 percent of parents said they will not send their kids back to the classroom, 34 percent want virtual learning, and the rest, just don't know yet.

"At this point, were going to do in person but again, with the rising cases, I don't know. Ask me in another month," said Ober

Brook Ober has three kids.

She said the rush to control COVID-19 gave her a brand new job. So she's not fully sold on virtual learning.

"You had to pretty much sit by them the entire time to do it, so that was tough," said Ober.

Burke said unlike the remote learning, which was implemented during the emergency shutdown, students will be given a strict schedule as if they were in school.

"This is going to be a completely different look and feel, this is going to be more of a traditional virtual program."

Rowan Salisbury Schools approved to move forward with a K-8 Virtual School as well. Also, it's important to note, school plans for fall have not been officially finalized.

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