By Lon Anderson
It looks like many of Hardy County’s students will be working from home this year, but few will actually be “home schooling.” Because of the coronavirus sweeping our nation, when the Hardy County School System opens for classes this year, many of its students will be part of its “virtual school,” taking some or all of their classes at home via their computers.
Based upon recent comments to the Examiner about the Board of Education stories discussing both home schooling, and the online virtual school program that the Hardy County School System is offering students, there is some confusion.
“Home schooling” is a specific term that refers to children who are not in the school system and are being taught at home, usually by their parents, according to Jodie Strawbridge, who coordinates the County’s home schooling program for the school system. In Hardy County currently, there are 70 families with a total of 113 students who are being “home schooled,” she explained.
On the other hand, we have about 650 students in the school system, so far, who have signed up to take virtual school classes online instead of in classrooms. The online classes are being taught by local teachers with the students participating via computers that the school system is providing to students who will largely be studying from their homes.
To make this system work, the Hardy County School Board has recently contracted with Apple Computers to provide students with individual computers. Younger students will be provided iPads and the older students will receive MacBook Pro laptops. All of the computers are being leased.