Another school system in our area is opening this week.

All students return to Chickasaw City Schools Thursday, but the system has had a "soft opening."

The school system actually started by bringing in small groups of students first.

The first group came in last Wednesday.

The school system is partnering with Alabama Destinations Career Academy for its virtual school.

There are live classes with teachers in the morning, and instructional assessment, filling in learning gaps, and course work in the afternoon.

Principal Gina Warren talked about their how virtual school works.

She said, "Our children are required, just like any other child in the state of Alabama, to school six and a half hours a day, and that includes PE time, and things like that, you wouldn't think.  But they don't really have homework because they get the majority of their work done during the day.  That is the flexibility that many of our families, especially our working parents in this situation, are trying to accommodate."

Warren says some parents are not familiar with how virtual schools work and they have misconceptions.

She said, "One of the main misconceptions that I've felt overall is that you can sit a child in front of a computer and walk away and that is not going to happen, that true authentic learning is not going to happen in that situation. Within our program, that's part of what we do.  We have an entire team that comes in to support the parent during this time, and we call it family support."

Vanessa Symonette's daughter is in the fourth grade at the virtual school and we asked her if she had any advice for parents working with their children in a virtual school setting.

Symonette said, "Take breaks. It's okay to take breaks in between. You know, I mean, there have been, are times, that we get overwhelmed and I'm like, okay (talking to her daughter), we need a break.  You go snack, I'm going to just take a breather and, then, we'll come back and re-group, and it gives our brains time to breathe."

Symonette says you learn which classes your child is best with and which they need extra help with, but you can work with your children and watch them grow.

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