School district pulling plug on Digital Academy

Photo courtesy Leon County Schools

The Leon County School District has had a rough time adjusting to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Last summer the district created a virtual school that allows students to go to school virtually if they choose. This program is known as the Digital Academy.

Ir was put in place to enhance a students’ learning experience while taking classes in the comfort of their home. Every school in Leon County was given the option to have their own Digital Academy that is unique to that school. It includes course offerings, scheduling and instructors. Each student in Leon County had the option of attending their designated school via the Digital Academy.

Although the program seemed to be going well, the district has decided to no longer offer the program next fall. In a recent meeting, Superintendent Rocky Hanna said that the program has been a heavy lift for teachers.

 “I think it would be very unfair to our teachers to ask for a second year of doing that,” Hanna said.

This change of events came about after health experts claim that students can now safely return to in-person classes without much risk of contracting the coronavirus as long as certain protocols are still followed.

With this new plan set in place, some parents are still worried for the safety of their children, as they feel it is still unsafe to return. A parent of a second grade student, EuStacia Trawick Dixie, says that the Digital Academy was their family’s choice for school this year. “For us Digital Academy had been wonderful and we would have liked for it to stay,” Dixie said.

Many parents had a lot to say on Facebook following the superintendent’s decision. Some voiced support for a full return to in-person instruction.

The president of the Leon Classroom Teachers Association, Scott Mazur, said, “As teachers we are juggling in-person instruction and online lecturing with the Digital Academy, It’s basically doing two jobs at the same time.”

 Mazur said  that it’s just too hard to give your complete attention to either group of students.

The Leon County School Board has not taken any official action regarding the situation, but is expected to make a decision soon. Board members have also discussed a blocked scheduling survey for high schools to help with social distancing. Board member Rosanne Wood has recommended that students completing the survey indicate their preference on scheduling.