Parents in Aiken County have an option through the public school system for full-time virtual learning for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
The district's program, called Aiken Innovate, provides full-time virtual learning at home for students, and residents who plan to enroll in virtual-only learning this coming year must enroll by July 20.
Students will receive direct instruction from local teachers who are “100% dedicated to online teaching and learning,” according to the Aiken County Public School District website.
Aiken Innovate is a franchise of VirtualSC, a state-sponsored virtual learning program.
“Students will engage in scheduled virtual meetings, collaborative discussions, and assignments involving interactive resources that are completed at home,” according to the website.
The program will allow students to be fully enrolled in their school with all opportunities available to them such as extracurricular activities, clubs, plays and graduation.
For those with internet access issues or no computer technology, the school district has placed an expedited order for student laptops, it says, but the demand is greater than the supply nationwide.
“Students without access to a home computer/laptop will be issued laptops first,” according to the district's website.
The district’s website states that enrollment in the program will require a commitment of the student’s parent/guardian to ensure that the student is successful, especially at the elementary and middle school levels.
Those who wish to take part in Aiken Innovate must commit to at least one semester.
The deadline to enroll is July 20. Questions can be emailed before July 20 to email@example.com.
Enrollment forms can be found on the district’s website, acpsd.net.
There are no additional fees to participate in Aiken Innovate, just the annual student registration fee.
The school district is also reminding parents and guardians to register children for the upcoming school year as soon as possible. Registration can be completed online at acpsd.net.
To register, a parent or guardian will still need to provide two documents that provide proof of residency. Prior to beginning registration, collect proof of residency documents. These documents can be scanned and uploaded during the registration process. Any PDF, Word, JPG or picture file may be uploaded.
Acceptable documents supporting proof of residency include: mortgage contract or statement, S.C. driver's license or ID card, property tax bill or receipt, utility bill (electric, water or gas), cable/satellite, internet or telephone bill, homeowner's/renter's insurance policy or notarized letter from landlord.
School reopening plans
The Aiken County Public School District is currently considering a proposed plan for returning students back to school.
The proposed plan includes a phased approach of controlling how many students are in schools during a certain time and sending home laptops for students to go completely virtual.
The Aiken County Board of Education recently learned more details about the plans created by the county's Back to School Task Force during a special called meeting July 7; however, the plan presented by the task force on Tuesday is merely a draft.
The School Board will consider the plan during its regular meeting Tuesday, July 14, and will also receive a closed session legal briefing on reopening, according to an agenda posted online.
The 6 p.m. meeting will be open to the public, and people who plan to attend in person should arrive at the district office early as capacity will be limited to ensure social distancing. The meeting will also be streamed live on the district’s website.