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Some Local School Districts Work To Mitigate Virtual Learning Gaps

Zach Herndon/WTIU News

Over the last month, half a dozen school districts in the WVPE listening area have returned – or plan to return – to full-time virtual learning for some students. Some of those districts are now working to mitigate any learning gaps that may emerge from students not being in the classroom.

Jerry Thacker, Superintendent of the Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation, said research indicates students in virtual programs are more likely to become disconnected than their peers in in-person classes.

He says since P-H-M middle and high schools returned to virtual learning on Monday, Nov. 23, teachers have commonly begun classes with connection exercises, to make sure that online students feel like they’re part of a classroom.

“Once they have that sense of belonging, they can obviously focus on the learning,” Thacker said.

The South Bend Community School Corporation plans to move all middle and high school students to virtual learning on Monday, Nov. 30. Chief Academic Officer Brandon White said the school corporation is already planning future ways for students to make up any lost progress.

“What will extended learning look like during the summers, how can we implement maybe additional tutoring opportunities and credit recovery options to mitigate any type of learning loss,” White said.

Both Thacker and White said they’re relying on parents’ help to make sure their students log in regularly and stay on track.

Contact Gemma at or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo

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