RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Students in the Richmond area can take classes online at a new all virtual Catholic high school.

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced that enrollment for the newly formed Saint Vincent de Paul Virtual Academy (SVVA) is now open. This is a full-time, online learning school for grades 8-12 with a faith-based curriculum.

“While in-person teaching is at the core of our Catholic faith and Catholic education, which engages the body, mind and spirit of each student, we must adapt to the times in which we live,” explained Bishop Knestout.

The diocese said the academy will operate under guidance from the administration and staff at Peninsula Catholic High School in Newport News.

Saint Vincent de Paul Virtual Academy (SVVA) includes:
• Choice between full-time and part-time students. Full-time students are seeking a diploma from SVVA. Part-time students are not, paying per course and complementing a homeschool learning structure as a component of a blended learning environment.
• SVVA is strictly academics. The program does not include athletics, extracurricular or social activities.
• Students attending full-time receive a diploma from SVVA.
• Individuals would still have to apply and meet eligibility requirements. Applications would be approved by the SVVA Enrollment Committee.

“The existence of a full-time virtual school has always been a goal for us. We’ve wanted to provide another option for families in our diocese who, because of where they live, aren’t close to a traditional brick and mortar Catholic school but desire the rigorous, faith-based curriculum that incorporates Catholic principles,” said Kelly Lazzara, superintendent for the Office of Catholic Schools.

The Diocese has been offering virtual learning days since 2016 and in 2020 they offered all students the option of face-to-face or virtual learning. As of February, Peninsula Catholic High School in Newport News has also established its own permanent online programming for students.

Peninsula Catholic principal Jenny Franklin says the all virtual high school program will allow students extra flexibility and can create stability for families who move often such as military families.

The program will cost $8,000 for 8th grade students and $10,000 for students in 9th through 12th grade. For part-time classes, families will pay $1,250 per course. There are additional fees for registration, technology, graduation, certain specialty classes and tests, uniform shirts and books.