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AASD offers learning options

Parents to choose between cyber, in-person or virtual classes for children

The Altoona Area School District is offering three educational options for its 7,405 returning students, and is asking district families to let them know which option they choose for their children.

While high school students will be learning virtually through at least Sept. 25 due to construction delays on the new high school building because of COVID-19, all students will be given a choice in the way they attend school for the 2020-21 academic year.

Students can opt to return to the traditional in-person classroom, learn virtually where they will be instructed online by classroom teachers during the day, or attend the Altoona Cyber Academy.

A parent webinar explaining each option is available for view on the district’s YouTube channel.

District Community Relations Director Paula Foreman said a parent intention survey was emailed to families Wednesday. The survey asks parents to state which option they are choosing for their child.

Foreman said the district is asking families to return the surveys by July 29 so the district can have staffing and instructional plans in place.

“It is important that we know everyone’s intentions, so we know how many students we have doing each option,” she said.

“It will allow us to be efficient with our staffing and meet the needs of each student,” Foreman said of having the surveys back in time.

With the pandemic forcing changes in schools across the country, Foreman said the district is working with families so it can continue to provide students an education in the environment in which they feel safest.

“We want to make sure our families are comfortable,” she said. “And we need to continue to educate our students.”

Foreman said that any family who did not receive a survey by email can access it on the district’s website. If someone needs a hard copy sent to them, they should call the office of the school their child attends. Parents can also call their child’s school and let them know which option they are choosing.

Parents who have questions or concerns have been encouraged to call their child’s principal to discuss them.

“This is a partnership between families and the school district,” Foreman said. “We need them to be part of the process and want them to make the decisions that are best for them. We also need their help in letting us know what that decision is so we can plan to accommodate where we can.”

Mirror Staff Writer Rick Boston is at 946-7535.

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