Mandan Virtual Academy offers flexibility for students

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 5:12 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Mandan Public School students started their first full week of class Monday. However, not all students are back in the classroom.

Virtual learning options have been available for Mandan Public Schools students since the beginning of the pandemic. While most students are back in the classroom, instructors said virtual learning remains a good fit for many.

Zoey Wyatt is starting her sophomore year learning remotely.

“You work at your own pace, you can go as far ahead as you want,” said Wyatt.

Instructors and school officials said many students have chosen to stay virtual this year.

“I’m excited to offer virtual learning because it’s another choice. It’s not the right choice for everyone, but it’s a good choice for a lot. Same goes for face-to-face,” said Carly Retterbath, principal of the high school virtual academy.

Mandan’s virtual academy is almost at full capacity. The high school program is at its cap of 50 students, with six on the waitlist. Officials said there are about eight spaces, each available in the middle and elementary school programs.

K-8 Virtual Academy Principal Jamie Entzi said flexibility is a plus for students.

“Our students are able to work any time of the day. We leave it pretty flexible. Our teachers require a Google Meet every week, but other than that, they can work in the evenings and mornings,” said Entzi.

While the school district places an emphasis on in-person learning, virtual learners are still able to take electives at school and compete on sports teams.

Zoey is joining the golf team this year.

“Then I don’t have to worry about the social piece. I can do golf and have that social piece, and not have to worry about staying home all year,” said Zoey.

School officials said they plan to offer the virtual learning option for as long as it’s needed.

Virtual learning students have the choice to convert to in-person classes at the end of each term.

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