The State College Area School District will be offering three different forms of learning to its students for the coming fall semester. Families have until Tuesday to decide what form of education works for them amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students from Kindergarten through high school can choose either in-school learning or a from-home Virtual Academy. Students between Kindergarten and fifth grade also have a remote learning option, which is a more structured from-home alternative.
State College Area High School senior and Park Forest native Bryan Peasley says he’s choosing in-person learning because he does not want a repeat of his spring semester remote education.
“The worst part was not being able to kind of interact with my teachers in person, because I feel like that’s how you really learn the most and the best is kind of working through things with your teachers,” Peasley said.
Middle and high school students who choose in-school learning will attend school every other day based on last name. While many of Peasley’s close friends will not go to school the same days as him, he misses being on campus too much to stay away.
Peasley’s mother, Debbie, says she didn’t bother reading about the school district’s virtual academy option, knowing her son wants to be at the physical school for his senior year.
“I honestly didn’t even look at it because I knew that my high schooler is a senior, and I knew that he would do anything in his power to be back in the classroom,” Debbie Peasley said.
Following the school district’s Health and Safety plan, students, faculty, and staff must wear masks at all times in school buildings and on buses. Some parents like Angela Stich from Boalsburg say the mask policy is promising, but she won’t feel comfortable sending her son, Eliot, off to 7th grade at the Delta Program Middle School until there’s a vaccine.
“I was still pretty squeamish about sending him in person at all, just because it doesn’t seem like the virus is slowing down and with the Penn State students coming back," Stich said.
Instead of in-person learning, Stich says her son will choose the Virtual Academy option.