CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As schools prepare for a return to in person learning, there are still some reluctant families who are seeking other options.

NEWS10’s Anya Tucker spoke with Mike Doughty, the Assistant Superintendent for the Northeastern Regional Information Center, which is a division of Capital Region BOCES. Doughty is tasked with heading up their Cooperative Virtual Learning Academy, an option for public school families seeking virtual learning.

“The way it works is if families are interested in a remote option for their student, they need to contact the district where they live. And then the district will have a process by which they determine if a student is eligible to participate. At that point, the district sends us the students and registers them for our Virtual Learning Academy.”

The program runs for the entire 2021-22 school year. It’s free for K through 12 students.

The online curriculum aligns with New York State learning standards and works with participating school districts who have certified teachers dedicated solely to online learning. Not a mix of in-person and virtual.

“And what I’m happy about is that this is completely virtual so that teacher can focus on planning for that specific environment,” added Doughty.

But there are some setbacks.

Not every school district is choosing to participate in the program, so you’ll need to check first if yours does. Families must also provide a medical reason to your district as to why their child requires virtual learning.

And teachers and fellow students may be miles away from districts all over the state, but Doughty said this may also be a good way to expand a student’s concept of community and make new friends.

He adds that it is not too late for parents to contact their local school district to find out if they may qualify.

Head to the Northeastern Regional Information Center to learn more.