Qualifying students in the Stone County School District can opt for virtual learning when classes start next month.

The option has some parents relieved.

Over the summer, Parent Laura Olier has asked for stricter COVID-19 guidelines at two separate Stone County School Board meetings.

Her youngest child struggles with asthma and she is cautious about what her children are exposed to at school.

Olier said her two children will be signing up for the virtual option.

Olier said she is still unsure of how the lessons will be taught and she still has some concerns.

She said she is unaware of the precautions in place for any testing completed at the school where her children have to be physically present.

She also worries her children might fall behind schedule if a teacher develops COVID-19 symptoms and is unable to teach virtual students.

“I think the district offering virtual learning to all is a great first step,” Olier said. “It makes me hopeful for further discussions on the health and well-being of students traditionally attending school.”

Students must have their own electronic device, reliable internet service and the ability to print and scan.

Students may still have to visit the school for diagnostic screenings and state testing, according to the district.

“This decision is based on numerous factors related to a spike in COVID-19 numbers across our state and collaboration with state and local leaders,” the district’s release read.

As of July 26, the Mississippi State Department of Health has reported 52,957 cases and 1,501 deaths.

Stone County has reported 129 cases and two deaths. But neighboring Harrison County and Jackson County are reporting 1,824 and 1,596 cases, respectively. To the north, Forrest County reports 1,428 cases.

Stone County’s virtual schedule will follow the traditional schedule and curriculum as much as possible.

Once a student is enrolled virtually, they must complete the entire semester online. But if a student struggles without classroom time, parents will need to contact their teacher and request a conference, according to the district update.

Parents have until Thursday, July 30 to register for the virtual option. Students are scheduled to return to class on August 6.

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