With the Westmoreland County School Board voting to switch from a hybrid education model to remote learning for the first nine weeks of school, the program they sought to use for such an event has come front and center. Deputy Superintendent Cathy Rice went into detail on it at last month’s meeting when the board held its discussion on whether to physically reopen its classrooms, go for a hybrid, or remote plan.

The setup, which is known as Virtual Virginia, includes fully-developed online courses, quizzes, activities, games, and other teaching resources. It also includes professional learning opportunities for staff, including a course to help get the fundamentals of the Canvas learning program downpat.

“The beauty of using Virtual Virginia,” Rice explained, “is that teachers have access to everything in there, and it is completely adaptable. They can edit and modify any of the content they use. They will have complete autonomy and control to teach the way they want to teach.”

According to Rice, Virtual Virginia is known over in the Westmoreland County region for its complimentary programs, which W&L’s students have been using to take Advanced Placement lessons, world languages, and elective courses. Its outreach program, which Westmoreland County Public Schools will be using with the students, has over one hundred subject area courses available to teachers and students. 

Perhaps the best news is that it’s all been made available at no extra cost to all school divisions. It used to be that the school division had fifteen slots that were given away on a first come, first served basis, with additional students costing more and more. It’s thanks to the outreach program that Virtual Virginia can now be brought to the schools at no cost, with all of its content not hiding behind a paywall.