Virtual High School vs. COVID-19 Distance Learning

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Many parents might feel dissuaded by virtual schooling because they had a negative experience with distanced learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. While this hesitation is understandable, there is a major difference between signing up for an accredited virtual high school and taking classes with an in-person school that’s scrambling to adapt to online learning in a short amount of time. 

What Is a Virtual High School?

An accredited virtual high school offers online courses for students for the purpose of improving their education and achieving course credits. It is just as legitimate as an in-person public or private school. The school’s course list follows the official provincial school curriculum, and it has passed inspections conducted by the Ministry of Education.

The Benefits of a Virtual High School

Optimized Online Learning

One of the biggest issues with the COVID-19 transition to distance learning is that teachers tried to quickly translate their in-person classes to online classes. This often led teachers to host large teleconference calls where they simply read out their original class plans to their students. These classes were crowded, boring and difficult to engage in.

On the other hand, a virtual high school offers a long list of courses that are specifically designed for online learning. The courses incorporate a variety of interactive learning strategies, including videos, images, graphs and audio recordings. They are similar to the online courses offered by university and college programs. 

Class Enrollment

Students don’t have to sign up for a full course-load through virtual high school. They can enroll in a single class. For instance, if a student needs to get a single math credit for their final year, they can sign up for grade 12 advanced functions through a virtual high school. If they complete the course and pass, they will receive a credit that goes directly toward their diploma. This was not an option available through the pandemic’s long-distance learning module.

Flexible Schedule

Virtual high school offers a much more flexible schedule than distanced learning provided by in-person schools. Online courses are not scheduled for a specific date or hour. They are accessible 24/7. So, students have the option to tackle their lessons whenever they are available, including during evenings, weekends and holidays.

Students have plenty of time to complete their courses. They have between 4 weeks to 12 months to finish a single course, and they can ask for an extension if they need more time. 

Having a flexible schedule could be especially beneficial for teenagers that struggle with their mental health. If students need a mental health day to rest and reduce their workload, they can do so. If students need to take time during their day to go to a therapy appointment or visit a support group, they have the freedom to do that. Attending school doesn’t have to be another stressor in their life.

Non-Credit Courses 

Another special benefit that virtual high schools offer is non-credit courses. These are courses that will not lead to credits that go toward a high school diploma. These general interest courses can help students succeed in secondary and post-secondary school environments. Some non-credit courses include OVS5O University Writing Preparation and OVS3O Fostering Digital Literacy. And the best part? They are free! 

These are just some of the features that make attending virtual high school different from the distanced learning classes set up during the pandemic. 

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