Survey reveals parents interested in virtual learning options in Lancaster County

LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. — The Lancaster County School District revealed the results of a virtual-learning survey during a board meeting Tuesday evening.

The survey asked parents about their interest in virtual learning this school year. Some parents have said COVID-19 related deaths, cases, and quarantines highlight the need for virtual options in the district.

There were about 1,500 survey entries that showed interest in virtual learning.

400 people have turned in their applications so far. The applications have to be turned in by Friday at noon.

However, the board indicated it is still receiving more and that number is expected to climb. More than half of the survey results came from families with children in elementary school.

In the past two months, officials have said two teachers at South Middle School and a 16-year-old student died due to complications from COVID-19.

Alayna McManus has experienced COVID-19′s impact on her district. The senior at Andrew Jackson High School lost a friend and fellow classmate to the virus in August.

“I heard that it was COVID and I was devastated because I talked to him a lot,” she said. “He was really sweet. It was sad.”

While McManus doesn’t want to go to virtual school, she said it could prevent another tragedy brought on by the virus.

“I hope nobody has to go through that,” she said. “I think if more deaths come schools should be shut down.”

School officials considered a virtual academy before the school year started, but at that time, only a handful of parents were interested. If the results of the new survey show there is an increased interest, school leaders said they would call on retired teachers to help run a virtual academy for interested parents.

In that case, there will be an application process, because the board said virtual is not for everyone.

Next, the district will need to hire people who can teach virtual classes. The board anticipates it will be much closer to deploying a virtual option at the next board meeting.

“Virtual would be a good option. My daughter has been interested,” parent Trina Curry said. “She did better when she was in it last year.”

At the previous school board meeting, the superintendent talked about how difficult virtual school was for students in kindergarten through third grade.

If surveys show there is an interest for those age groups, the district would be able to include those young kids in the virtual academy.

(WATCH: More than 1,000 quarantined after first week of school in Lancaster County)