Robeson County school board to consider virtual-instruction plan for 2021-22 school year on Tuesday

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LUMBERTON, N.C. (WBTW) – The Robeson County Board of Education will consider a virtual-instruction plan for the 2021-22 school year Tuesday night.

The plan, discussed Monday at a meeting of the district’s curriculum committee, would provide a virtual-instruction option for grades four through 12, but students in pre-kindergarten through third grade would be required to attend in-person classes.

Superintendent Freddie Williamson said the plan is in lieu of a standalone virtual school offered by the state of North Carolina. Robeson County chose not to apply for that program because of concerns about staffing, he said.

The plan being considered Tuesday night limits individual school enrollment to 10 percent of eligible students and requires students to have maintained an 80% or above in all subject areas during the 2020-21 school year and be in compliance with the district’s attendance policy to be eligible.

The plan, which the district’s principals helped develop, would also require students to have their own reliable internet connection. While internet access would not be provided by the district, Steven Sinclair, the district’s English Language Arts curriculum supervisor, said the district would provide students a device to access the internet.

Other parts of the plan include a requirement for fourth- and fifth-grade students to have an adult at home with them at all times during virtual instruction. In addition, students enrolled in the virtual program would be required to participate in the daily class routine in the same manner they would in a normal classroom environment, and they would also be required to take all state and local assessments.

Any student who does not maintain a grade of at least 80% in all sections for two consecutive grading periods would be required to return to in-person instruction, and failure attend virtual classes consistently could result in a student being ruled ineligible to continue in the program.

The school board will also discuss the district’s summer-school plans at Tuesday’s meeting, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. Members of the public will have access to the meeting on the district’s YouTube page.

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