ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — It’s been almost a year almost since parents started panicking over how to educate their children when Gov. Ralph Northam closed down schools due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
WFXR News caught up with one parent who teamed up with an educator in Roanoke County to create a micro-school, Hunting Hills Academy.
What started as a couple of kids and a private tutor eventually turned into 11 students ranging from Kindergarten through second grade and two teachers.
Joy Wagner, the co-founder of Hunting Hills Academy, says this gives students a “school-like” structure while still practicing social distancing at Hunting Hills Country Club.
According to Wagner, when the school opened up, she noticed the students were on different learning levels. She says they spent the first semester working with students to get them caught up.
“It’s been magical! We’ve made lemonade out of lemons, we didn’t know what we were going to have to deal with,” said Wagner. “This group of 11 came from all different backgrounds and all different school districts. We came together and it’s been absolutely amazing.”
Hunting Hills Academy credits its success to the social responsibility contract parents had to sign prior to the school year.
Even though the school year has been a success, Wagner feels that more needs to be done for the students in the southwest Virginia area. In fact, she wishes she could expand the school for students in need.
“Do I feel a little bit guilty that this is the situation that I’m in? I do because there are parents out there that do need this,” Wagner said. “I don’t know what the answer is, but I think we could be doing more for our kids, for our families, and for our parents.”
Like most schools in the area, Hunting Hills Academy is taking extra precautions to keep the students safe, such as constant sanitizing, social distancing, and plenty of outdoor activities.