Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

After online school boom, Minnesota districts phase out virtual options

Online learning is working for some kids, but is unsustainable in some districts


January 18, 2023

Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

Lola Anderson works on a computer programming robot at her home in New Brighton. Anderson is among the students continuing online school post-pandemic, but the New Brighton student has to go to a Bloomington-based New Code Academy because her home district no longer offers online school. Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023 New Brighton, Minn.

Online school has been working well for second-grader Lola Anderson. But like a growing number of younger students, she logs on each day to a classroom in another district.

An online education boom followed the COVID-19 pandemic, as the number of schools offering virtual education in Minnesota nearly doubled from 37 in the fall of 2020 to 71 this year. But consolidation has started as the pandemic wanes - especially for online elementary and middle schools - limiting the options for families who want their children to continue learning online, and pushing more to look to other districts.

"We had to decide whether to send our kid back to in-person - which she's never done," or find a new online school, said Lola's mother, Denika Anderson. The Andersons live in New Brighton, but Lola attends Bloomington's New Code Academy. "Online works really well for her, so we're sticking with it."


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