Texas Virtual Academy Offers Permanent Virtual Learning Alternative

Permanent Virtual Learning Options Available for Texas Families
Student doing virtual school on laptop with headphones on. | Image by Chansom Pantip

Though many parents and students campaigned for students to return to in-person school, some parents and students felt virtual school was the superior option, and pushed for continued access to online education. As a result of the growing demand for online schools, permanent virtual learning institutions have been popping up all over the country. 

The Texas Virtual Academy at Hallsville has become a very popular option. For the 2022-2023 school year, the Texas Virtual Academy at Hallsville will provide a full-time, tuition-free, online schooling alternative for students. The virtual academy educates grades 3 to 12, and the only requirement to enroll is to provide evidence of previous enrollment in a public school, per the academy’s website

Many of these virtual learning schools will focus on getting students career-ready. Students enrolled in Texas Virtual Academy at Hallsville will reportedly receive a combination of virtual and in-person learning, with hands-on experience provided in addition to a base education online.

Some groups, such as Reopen Schools California, opposed virtual and combined learning, gaining over 21,000 members on their Facebook page in support of sending students back to physical schools. UNICEF estimates that students lost over 1.8 trillion hours of learning in the classroom. 

A study conducted by the CDC spanning from October to December asked 1,290 parents of 5 to 12 year old children in public and private schools who were receiving in-person instruction, virtual instruction, or a combination of the two, to report on their children’s experiences and well-being. The study found nearly 25% of exclusively-virtual learners’ parents reported their child had worsened mental or emotional health.

Though online learning proved to be a substantial challenge for many students, for others, in-person learning had been a challenge all along.

Colorado resident Samantha Lucero said it was a relief to see her daughter, who is on the autism spectrum, learning in an environment that minimized the stressors and stimulants of in-person school.

Some individuals on the autism spectrum experience sensory overload, or have what is called sensory processing disorder (SPD), meaning they are bothered by certain stimuli such as sounds, sights, smells, or textures. Children with autism may benefit from a quieter and more focused or supported learning environment.

Lucero said her daughter began excelling in online school.

“She started participating more with teachers and became more comfortable than when she was in a school setting,” Lucero told CNN. 

Permanent virtual learning may benefit a variety of students, such as those who prefer a concentrated setting, experience high anxiety, need to raise their grades, want to pick up new subjects, or wish to social distance. 

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