Virtual vs. hybrid learning: What’s the difference?

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The deadline for most districts to opt-in to an all virtual program has come and gone, even though the largest district, Greenville, has yet to reveal whether students will have any in-class days when school starts.

7News checked in with parents on making this tough decision and how the virtual program will differ from the hybrid model.

Like many parents, mother of 4 Tracy Hughes in Spartanburg County waivered back and forth.

“When we thought it was everybody 5 days we were definitely doing virtual for both of them.”

But now that her children’s school district, Spartanburg 5, announced a hybrid start to school with in-person instruction two days a week and the other three days e-learning, her son, Dalton, and daughter Carltyn are choosing different options.

“My 11-year-old we decided to do the hybrid 2 days a week of course he’ll be online some days, but we figured with him, he’s a little younger, needs more of the I guess, socialization,” said Hughes.

But at 15-years-old, Carltyn is more concerned she can contract and spread the disease, so she’s going with the all virtual program.

“She wants to do well, even online, she just wants to stay safe,” said Hughes.

Beyond the obvious, no in person learning, the main difference is the consistency and set structure the all virtual provides. Check out this sample schedule where students must appear for a live session right at the start of the school day and have set break times and lives sessions throughout.

The largest school district in the state, Greenville County Schools, describes the difference between the virtual program and the hybrid e-learning this way.

“It’s not to say that one is better than the other, one is stronger than the other. They are both going to deliver basically the same thing, the difference being is that the in-person teachers, the teachers who are assigned to in person classes are also going to be responsible for dolling out virtual assignments to their class on days when they cannot be there,” said Tim Waller with Greenville County Schools.

So a live lecture on the days when hybrid students are not there may not always be possible.

Hughes also says Carltyn had no issue staying motived when classes moved online this past spring, which makes her an ideal candidate to continue that method.

And whether it’s required, when her son is in school, he will be wearing mask at all times.

“I’d rather be overly cautious than have to worry about something happening later, so,” said Hughes.

Upstate districts have asked any students who have opted to go “all virtual” to commit to that program for the whole school year. Any requests to transfer to the hybrid model will only be granted if there is space.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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