Every teacher in Virginia’s public schools is now able to host virtual classes on the Virginia Department of Education’s Virtual Virginia online learning system throughout the 2020–2021 school year. The expanded access to Virtual Virginia is available at no cost to school divisions through $3.45 million in support from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act.
“This expansion provides additional options for school divisions that are reopening with limitations on in-person instruction and for school divisions that may have to revert to distance learning during the year because of a COVID-19 outbreak,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane.
The expansion of Virtual Virginia also includes the creation of digital content for grades K–8. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the online learning program focused primarily on providing high school credit-bearing courses in core, elective, and world language subject areas.
“With the likelihood of most of our school divisions offering some version of virtual instruction for the upcoming school year, we wanted to leverage the capacity of our platform to provide content aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning in grades K–8,” Lane said. “This expansion is the first time Virtual Virginia has offered content below middle grades.”
Virtual Virginia content can be loaded onto devices for offline use by students in homes without internet access. VDOE is also using CARES Act funding to double — from 6,000 to 12,000 — the number of free student enrollments available to divisions in Virtual Virginia-instructed courses in 2020–2021.
The expansion also allows school divisions to integrate local student information systems with the Virtual Virginia learning management system to roster classes and transfer grades at no cost. In addition, Virtual Virginia provides a dedicated space within the platform for school divisions to curate, create, edit, and share course content.
More than 90 percent of Virginia’s 132 school divisions either use the Virtual Virginia platform or enroll students in Virtual Virginia-instructed courses. Virtual Virginia, the Virginia Department of Education, and the Virginia Society of Technology in Education are collaborating to offer training and support for teachers and staff of participating divisions.
For more information, visit the Virtual Virginia website.