Virtual program

Horry Schools officials recommend stopping virtual program


File photo of Horry County Schools Administrative Offices.

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Horry County Schools is considering eliminating its virtual school program amid a surge of students failing in class, including more than half of its high school students.

District leaders announced their recommendation to disband the program Monday at the school board’s curriculum and instruction committee meeting.

Their presentation showed that about 42% – or 686 students – of all program participants are failing at least one class in the 2021-2022 school year. This includes 59% of all high school students and 46% of all seniors.

District academic director Boone Myrick noted at the meeting that only 12-15 percent of brick-and-mortar high school students fail at least one class in a typical year, according to MyHorryNews.

HCS Virtual has been available for high school students since 2011, but was expanded to allow all K-12 students before the 2020-21 school year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Enrollment reached 18,449 students in the first available semester, according to the district’s presentation, but is currently down to just 2,127 students in the second semester of 2021-22.

Only around 11% of new registrants listed COVID-19 as the reason, while bullying, a desire to work from home and personal medical issues were other reasons listed.

The district noted in its recommendation to disband the program that there are seven free online charter school programs available in South Carolina.

The virtual curriculum specifically available for high school students, known as HCS Flex, would remain independent of any decisions on the full K-12 curriculum, according to district spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier. It also wouldn’t affect their designation as an online learning district, which allows for up to five days of distance learning instead of making up a school day due to inclement weather or weather. other emergencies.

No final decision was made at Monday’s meeting and will not be for at least a month, MyHorryNews reported.

This story was originally published January 25, 2022 9:42 a.m.

Investigative projects reporter David Weissman joined The Sun News in 2018 after three years working at the York Dispatch in Pennsylvania, and he won awards from the South Carolina Press Association and Keystone Media for his investigative reporting on topics such as health, business, politics and education. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 2014.