DENVER — As parents across Colorado struggle with the stress of their kids returning to school, more and more are turning to online schools.
“There really is no pause for us. It’s so great, I don’t have to stress about it,” mom Sarah Clarke Kleinhans told Denver7.
Kleinhans’ son is going into his junior year at the Colorado Virtual Academy (COVA), a free online public school. Her daughter just graduated high school at COVA.
“Just the same as a brick and mortar - as we call it - school, just online,” she described.
Given the concerns from parents about if schools are going to reopen, if they will stay open, if it will be safe, and what a remote curriculum will look like, coming from a “brick and mortar” district has all spurred increased interest in schools like COVA. Their principal says they have been twice as busy ahead of this school year.
“I have definitely seen an increase in calls regarding 'How could your program work for us?'” Colorado Virtual Academy Principal April Nelson said.
Nelson says that online schools have the infrastructure and curriculum already built specifically for an online platform, meaning they have a leg up on districts that have had to adapt to remote learning because of the pandemic.
“They have curriculum and systems set up for a building and a different kind of schooling. The great thing about us is our programs were made to be online, we’re not putting something together tying to navigate how to make this work for students,” she said.
She added that online learning is having a "moment to shine" thanks to their kind of uninterrupted and stable form of education amid a pandemic.
“I think that all online programs are likely fielding this kind of questions and increased enrollment and discussion around what their programs are like,” Nelson said.
That form of stability means a nearly stress-free back to school at the Kleinhans’ home.
“Business as usual. Get to your homework. Clean your room,” Sarah said.