Muscle Shoals virtual students behind, half to return to in person in the Spring

Muscle Shoals Schools

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WAFF) - This has been a difficult year for students.

Many of them have spent time in and out of the classroom because of COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the school year, students in Muscle Shoals have had the option to learn in person or virtually.

20 percent of students chose to learn virtually.

“I think schools across the state are seeing that students who have chosen the virtual option, they’re struggling right now,” said Superintendent Chad Holden.

Holden said virtual students are still lagging behind compared to in person.

The school system uses a benchmark assessment called star to monitor students progress.

“We’ve done our third round of testing and our in person students are right where they need to be for the most part but our virtual students just aren’t seeing the progress that we would like to see,” said Holden.

The school district’s mental health service coordinator Laci Lake also said they have seen an increase in the number of students dealing with anxiety and other issues.

“I’ve also seen some students who are isolating a little bit. Maybe not hanging out with the people that they used to hang out with or doing the things that they used to do. They are kind of retreating from those behaviors and isolating a little bit and we’ve also seen loneliness increase as well,” said Laci Lake

Holden said that in-person connection, is often vital for academic and social success and half of the online students are returning to in person learning next semester.

“Many of our virtual students have made the choice that they want to return after the holidays which is music to our ears because we want them back in the classroom not just for educational reasons but for social and emotional reasons as well,” said Holden.

The district canceled final exams this year in an effort to to focus on the students and academic success.

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