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Local school districts see increase in families opting for distance learning

As the pandemic continues, more families in the valley are taking kids out of the classroom and choosing virtual learning options instead. 

“Our major concern was...we didn’t know what this virus was going to do in the flu months,” said Priscilla Waggoner. 

Waggoner is a Bermuda Dunes mother with a four and five-year-old at home. 

“Considering that we didn’t know what was going to happen...our choice was to go with distance learning,” she said. 

She says her kids would have been at James Monroe Elementary this year. But instead, she elected to enroll them in Mission Vista Academy, a tuition-free public charter school that offers virtual learning from home. 

“It was the best choice for us,” she said. 

And Waggoner is far from alone. All three of our local districts report a steady increase in families opting for virtual programs. 

PSUSD currently has more than 800 enrolled in their independent study and virtual Desert Learning Academy programs. DSUSD has more than 700 in their Virtual Academy and CVUSD has nearly 600 currently in independent study.

“We’re gonna make sure that any family that feels more comfortable with a virtual learning or independent study has that as an option,” said Mark Arnold, Executive Director of Student Learning, PSUSD. 

All three districts shared they’ve brought on additional staff members to keep up with demand for distance learning and other virtual programs. 

“It’s been a challenge. When we have candidates we’ve been interviewing them pretty much immediately,” said Arnold. 

Waggoner added she and other parents she knows are taking the decision month by month.

“I would have preferred them to go to an actual physical school. But we’ll see. Maybe at the beginning of the year,” she said, encouraging each parent to make the decision best for their family.

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Madison Weil

Madison Weil joined the KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 News Team in June 2018. Learn more about Madison here.

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