By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

St. Joseph school officials say about 2,000 students have enrolled
in the Virtual Academy to learn online from home this year.

Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services, Marlie Williams,
says it was hard to estimate how many of the nearly 11,000 students would opt
for online rather than in-class instruction.

“I don’t think we knew exactly what to anticipate,” Williams
tells St. Joseph Post. “In so many ways, it has not been a normal year and we
weren’t sure.”

About 60% of the students enrolling in online instruction are
elementary students.

Parents have through Friday to decide whether to enroll their
children in the Virtual Academy or traditional classroom instruction.

The St. Joseph School District has announced it is pushing
back the start date to August 31st with May 27th
scheduled as the last day of school.

Williams says a lot of work is being put into preparing for
the new start date.

“We are doing our very best to be as prepared as we possibly
can for the first day of school,” Williams says. “I think that the reality is that
there are going to be a few things that we continue to work through and change
and evolve between this time and the first day of school and even probably
after the first day of school.”

Williams anticipates other children will be enrolled in the
Virtual Academy before the end of Friday.

“Based on what I’m seeing right now, there are certainly
enrollments still coming through for Virtual Academy,” according to Williams. “That
tells me people are still making their decisions and I’ve taken some phone
calls, some emails, and answered questions about the options that parents have.”