The Virtual School will be offered to families with students in grades 3-12 who wish to have their students continue to learn virtually.
“Students who have thrived with virtual learning will continue to find success with this new school, and we hope it will provide the flexibility many families seek as we move forward,” Superintendent Mike Waldrip said in a letter sent to FISD families April 21.
The school will launch pending final decisions from state lawmakers during this legislation session, the letter said. A news release from the district said several bills to allow the Virtual School are making their ways through the legislative process.
“Although we may not know final details of a new law related to online learning for several weeks, we believe it is in the best interest of our students and families to begin formal preparations for a Virtual School at this time,” FISD Chief Academic Officer Wes Cunningham said in the release. “In order to ensure the new school is ready to serve students in the fall, it is vitally important that the district has a firm understanding of the number of students who will attend the Virtual School for planning and hiring purposes.”
The program’s structure will be different from the virtual learning offered to students this school year and is subject to change based on guidance from the state, the news release said. Students admitted to the Virtual School must live within the FISD boundaries and must commit to the school for the entire school year, per the release. They will have full-time staff who will work exclusively with virtual students.
Students in the Virtual School will have the opportunity to participate in limited secondary electives, but participation in extracurricular activities such as athletics and fine arts will not be an option for these students, the release stated.
The school will be a permanent and full-time institution. Applications for the Virtual School will be available starting April 28 via FISD’s parent portal called The Gateway.
“Frisco ISD is excited to provide students with permanent access to online learning through the introduction of the Virtual School as the newest Frisco ISD School of Choice,” Waldrip said in the release. “While we have been studying this learning option for our community for some time, COVID-19 gave us the opportunity to push this priority to the forefront, and we hope it will provide families with desired flexibility now and into the future.”
In addition, FISD will make masks optional for all students and staff starting this fall.
“Like many of you, we are encouraged by declining case numbers of COVID-19 within our communities and the increased availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals,” Waldrip said in the letter.
FISD will continue to monitor COVID-19 trends and step in as needed to help keep the spread of the virus to a minimum, the letter stated.
To learn more about FISD’s Virtual School, visit www.friscoisd.org/departments/schools-of-choice/virtual-school/home