Kentucky’s first fully online public school opens for first year

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – The new academic year is well underway for public schools across the Commonwealth; however, this year, more than 700 children in Kentucky will show up to school by simply turning on their computers.

The Kentucky Virtual Academy (KY VA) has just opened for its first year as the first fully online public school in the state.

The Kentucky Virtual Academy just logged on for its first day on August 9, but Principal Sallie Johnson says their enrollment is already taking off.

“We were hoping to hit 500 (students) by the end of the school year, and we are at 700 already,” said Johnson. “So we’ve been growing by leaps and bounds.”

Johnson says they currently have about 25 teachers, but they’re working to hire more teachers and meet that demand.

While the students may miss out on some traditional social interactions, the Academy has plans to compensate for that.

“Every single teacher offers a help session and office hours,” Johnson said. “We will be offering clubs so that students can participate in like-minded activities with other students.”

This tuition-free public school comes in the wake of the COVID pandemic, and while in-person learning has returned, Johnson says the Academy fills a void for families in need of flexibility.

“One of the greatest benefits of Kentucky Virtual is that this offer is that alternative for families in an uninterrupted setting,” Johnson said.

Johnson notes some parents have enrolled their children because of concerns with their pre-existing health conditions, and those concerns go away when they can get to class with the push of a button.

“We’re not gonna shut down school because of COVID. We’re gonna keep going because they’re safe in their homes,” said Johnson.

The Academy is being sponsored by the Cloverport School District in Breckinridge County, but Johnson says they are hiring teachers of their own within the state.

Enrollment for this academic year remains open for students statewide.

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