As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, some families are considering taking their kids out of the classroom and searching for schooling options from home.
“We had very big concerns about what was going to happen with our kids since they’re so little. We’ve been very cautious with them,” said Priscilla Waggoner.
Waggoner is a Bermuda Dunes mother with a four and five-year-old at home.
“We started hearing the reports of everybody getting sick and quarantining,” she said.
Waggoner’s kids were about to start school at James Monroe Elementary in Bermuda Dunes. She says she elected to enroll her kids in Mission Vista Academy instead — a tuition-free, public charter school that offers virtual learning from home.
“They said they’re being bombarded with so many parents who are interested in having distance learning,” she said.
Options like this are in high demand. California Virtual Academies, a tuition-free, online public school has also seen a spike in enrollment. They offer classes from Kindergarten through 12th grade.
All three of our local school districts are also offering some form of virtual learning, as is required by law for this school year.
At Palm Springs Unified, they have new virtual learning opportunities in addition to Desert Learning Academy, an independent study program that existed pre-pandemic.
“We continue to work to expand some of the programs and because of the demand for Desert Learning Academy, we are in the midst of hiring some additional teachers to support that,” said Mark Arnold, Executive Director Student Learning, PSUSD.
Over at Desert Sands Unified School District, more than 600 students have enrolled in their independent study program: Horizon School.
In a statement the district shared: “Independent study is available to all DSUSD students upon request. Our independent studies program for students K-12, Horizon School, has been expanded and additional staff hired to provide students with the best possible education. Enrollment at Horizon School is currently just over 600 students.”
Coachella Valley Unified School District says as of now, more than 300 have applied for their virtual learning program. And like the other districts, they are also in the process of hiring additional staff to keep up with demand.