TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – School is back in session for 6,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students in the Hoosier state. Indiana Connections Academy students simply logged on for their first day of class Thursday.
Indiana Connections Academy is a public, online school offering flexibility to families across the state.
Debby Drake is a 6th grade language arts teacher who has worked for the academy for a decade. She teaches from her living room in Sullivan County, Indiana and reaches students in every corner of the state.
Drake said, "It really hasn't changed what I do," when talking about the coronavirus pandemic. While other public school leaders struggle with plans for the fall, Drake says COVID-19 has not impacted her school. The only exception is more students are enrolling.
"They're coming in quickly and I think with what's going on, you know, that has really grown a lot."
Sophie Taylor is an 8th grader. She's been enrolled in the virtual school since she was a kindergartener.
"It's nice knowing that it's not going to go away. I don't have to worry about getting kicked out of school or anything like that just because of covid so it's nice knowing that it's like normal and nothing else is going to change."
Mom Stacy says the program offers consistency and community.
"It's a great option. The teachers are incredibly helpful. They're always willing to help. The parents, especially the ones who have already been here, get together and help a lot of the newer parents so that's also nice too because then you're not out there and alone."
This program was designed to be taught online so Drake says families do not have to sacrifice a quality education for flexibility.
"If they come thinking it's going to be easy, it's not. We have a very rigorous curriculum but for the ones who want to learn and want to be at home and feel safe, it's perfect."
Indiana Connections Academy is still enrolling students. It is free to families.