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WAYNE — A total of 76 students in Wayne County were asked to return to in-person instruction last week after failing to meet minimum grade point average and attendance requirements set up for those enrolled in virtual schooling for the 2021-22 school year.

Superintendent Todd Alexander said the students enrolled in virtual schooling, totaling 270 throughout the county, were required to have at least a 2.0 GPA and have attended at least 90% of their live sessions for the classes.

Students are being asked to return so they do not further hinder their own educational opportunity, Alexander said.

“The bottom line is, we lost a significant amount of instructional time last year,” he said. “The virtual education, if it’s not working for a student, we have to be sure that we get them into a setting where they are going to be able to receive instruction and be able to grow.”

Greg Miller, district administrator overseeing virtual schooling and director of high schools, said overall, the students enrolled in virtual instruction are performing well.

Even though 28% of the students were asked to return to in-person instruction, Miller said he expected the numbers to be higher.

Miller said students’ grades appeared to be one extreme or the other when they were checked at the first six-week grading period ending Sept. 27.

“So the students that are in virtual learning that are passing are successful. Generally speaking, if they have an ‘A’ in one core class, they have an ‘A’ or ‘B’ in all core classes, so the majority of them probably have a 3.5 GPA or higher, so it’s an environment that works for them,” he said. “And with students who were asked to return, I think it was just two extremes with hardly a middle.”

Once the pandemic is no longer a major public safety concern, Miller said Wayne County will likely still offer some form of virtual instruction for students. While specific decisions have not been made, Miller said the county will have to analyze how many students want to continue virtual schooling post-pandemic.

“Virtual learning is very difficult for students to navigate in a lot of situations, and there’s an extra layer of responsibility on the student and on the parents to make sure they log in and get their assignments,” he said. “It really takes a motivated student to really be successful in the virtual environment.”

Miller said some students also asked to return to in-person instruction despite having met the virtual requirements, but the number of students was minimal.

Virtual students’ grades and attendance will be monitored and checked at each six-week grading period.

Sarah Ingram is a reporter for HD Media, covering Wayne County. Follow her on Twitter @IngramWCn.

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