Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

Arkansas virtual academy navigating first week of school

Education

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As students are navigating their way through a new school year they have to deal with bus routes, new teachers and classmates, and getting up early again. 

Students who are attending school virtually are dealing with some slight hiccups of their own.

Amy Johnson is the head of the Arkansas Virtual Academy and says enrollment is their biggest thing right now.  The Academy currently enrolls approximately 3,500 students and there are 1,100 applications being processed right now. 

Johnson said much of that influx has come recently as parents have been weighing their options.

“I think parents were just really trying to wait, to see what the numbers were, how schools were going to react to covid and so lots of folks still trying to make decisions, even in the first few weeks of school,” Johnson said.

Though it’s not usually a problem they focus a lot of their attention early on to how the Academy works and flows.

“Normally we’re just helping families navigate.  Whether it’s understanding the platform, how to access, what all the bells and whistles are,” Johnson explained.

The ARVA has a team of people to assist parents and students on how to work the platform and for any internet issues they may run into.  Johnson says they just want people to understand fully how being educated virtually works.

ARVA has not had any early internet or server issues despite their enrollment already matching what it was at the height of covid last school year.  The Academy is backed by a company called Stride K12 to assist them with resources and Johnson said it helps them immensely to not have to handle all of those things locally.

“The technology, the platforms, all of the enrollment, all of our server space, all of those internet pieces, we have just a huge internet structure that allows us to support that,” she said.

Aside from those issues, the only other thing students have been dealing with is getting into the flow of waking up earlier than what they’re probably accustomed to the past few weeks.

“Pretty typical experience for our students to start the year and so far it’s been pretty smooth,” Johnson said.

ARVA is accredited to enroll 5,500 students so they will be taking in students as long as they have a seat available for them.

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