Global Impact STEM Academy switches to remote learning for fall reopening

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The Global Impact STEM Academy has switched to remote learning for the fall when schools reopen, according to the academy’s director.

“We made the decision to go virtual for the first month of school and kind of reassess after we’ve had the opportunity to observe what takes place throughout our community,” Founding Director Josh Jennings said Wednesday night at the academy’s drive-thru open house.

Jennings said this decision is also personal as he has a student who attends GISA.

“Everyone that I know wants to get students back to school all day every day, including me. As the leader of this organization, this decision is very personal due to the face that my own child attends GISA and wants nothing more than to get back to school, engage with her teachers and interact with her peers,” he said. “However, I also believe that this decision provides the absolute best possible opportunity for a high quality teaching and learning experience while keeping our students, staff and community at-large safe.”

Jennings added that the academy is fortunate to have the “infrastructure and resources to support an extremely robust and rich virtual learning experience” for students.

When the plan was initially shared, GISA was offering three plans - A, B and C - but was going to start off with plan B, blended learning.

“Although we feel as though our utilization of technology would allow for a solid blended model of instruction, having just a few students in the building while most are connecting at home currently creates a lot of challenges in delivering on a great experience for all,” Jennings said. “Focusing solely on a virtual platform allows us to invest all efforts and resources in making the experience the best it can be for all students."

Starting virtually, Jennings said, will allow the school time to continue to assess the affects that a return to school will have on the community, students and staff as it relates to the spread of COVID-19.

“Global Impact has students from six different counties and 16 different school districts. This presents additional challenges and concerns related to the potential spread and ability to contact trace and isolate in the case of exposure to a potential COVID-19 positive case,” he said.

There will be half days sessions for student orientation on either Wednesday, Aug. 26 or Thursday, Aug. 27, and students who chose the all virtual option will have a remote session on Friday, Aug. 28.

All students will use virtual learning starting Monday, Aug. 31 through Friday, Oct. 2, Jennings said. The school will then reassess after that.

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