PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — As uncertainty grips many school systems as the coronavirus pandemic surges in Hampton Roads, virtual schools are an increasingly attractive alternative for some families.

Representatives from Virginia Virtual Academy say they’ve seen a big increase in inquiries since the pandemic shutdowns began. As the start of the upcoming school year gets closer, the increased interest is translating to a bump in enrollment.

“One of the biggest benefits is we’ve got over 10 years of experience being an online virtual public school,” said Kari Larsen, the blended opportunity manager for VVA. “Our teachers are certainly trained to be able to educate children online but also support our families in that virtual world, which is equally important.”

Virginia Virtual Academy is a tuition-free public school in Virginia for residents of the commonwealth. They offer classes for kindergarten to 12th grade.

A luxury of being virtual: Officials say the pandemic hasn’t affected their school year.

“The pandemic shutdown really answered a great question for a lot of families that they might have had in regards to a schooling option like ours: Can I do this with my children at home? What would that look like?”

With traditional schools forced into online learning systems, many parents are curious about what a fully virtual option could be like. And they have a lot of questions.

“Like, how does special education work in the virtual world? What would my school day look like? About how much of an investment from time would I be looking at with my children? It kind of comes down to the specific grade levels that your children would be enrolled in with us,” explained Larsen.

Virginia Virtual Academy is offering open house information sessions online. The next session is Aug. 4.

VVA is accepting enrollment for high school through the end of August. K-8 students can enroll though the end of September.

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