Online school plans for Rock Hill, Fort Mill, York County SC

Dorothy S. Bass

Parents and students who want to remain virtual for the upcoming school year will get that opportunity, as most area school districts have e-learning plans.

The state board of education approved 2021-22 virtual learning plans on Monday for 33 school districts. Included are all four York County districts and the Lancaster County School District, though listed plans for Lancaster County differ from what that district plans to offer. The state board will decide on plans for more districts when it meets again Aug. 10.

Approved districts plans had to meet requirements including all courses taught by a certified teacher, a quarter of instruction must be live online (synchronous instruction), frequent and ongoing monitoring to verify student participation, proctored assessments, bi-weekly contact with parents and annual program review.

“While all South Carolina schools are rightly prioritizing full, in-person instruction this upcoming school year, we know families in some communities were able to successfully navigate virtual learning and would like the option to continue,” state Education Board Chair Kristi Woodall said in a release Tuesday. “The districts whose programs were approved have demonstrated that they are able to meet the high expectations that we have set for virtual instruction and student participation.”

A rule from the state legislature caps traditional school districts to 5{14f62f8d01b0e9e4416e7be29f093eee2960b1e4c60488fca25d8fca5b82c641} of their total student population in virtual learning. For larger districts like Fort Mill and Rock Hill, that 5{14f62f8d01b0e9e4416e7be29f093eee2960b1e4c60488fca25d8fca5b82c641} still could equate to almost 1,000 students. When last school year began, many area schools saw 30{14f62f8d01b0e9e4416e7be29f093eee2960b1e4c60488fca25d8fca5b82c641} or more of their students opt for virtual enrollment. Some grades used full virtual learning for at least part of the school year.

There are additional virtual models outside the local school districts. There’s the free VirtualSC program. The state also has six free online virtual schools.

Area school districts vary some in what they plan to offer this fall. Here’s a look at what is approved by the state, for each:

Rock Hill, Fort Mill

The Rock Hill School District and Fort Mill School District will offer full-time virtual learning for grades K-12. Synchronous learning will happen at all grade levels, with some asynchronous independent learning time available for students.


The Clover School District will offer full-time virtual learning for grades 2-12. Grades 2-5 will be fully synchronous with a daily schedule for live lessons. Middle and high school will have a bell schedule similar to in-person school, with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning. The district plans to cap the program at 200 students, with 15 flex spots. A success coach will be employed to assist students.


The York School District will offer full-time virtual learning for grades K-8. EdOptions Academy and Edmentum virtual platforms will be used. Daily instruction will be synchronous, with a structured class schedule. There will be synchronous and asynchronous opportunities for grades 9-12.

Lancaster County

The Lancaster County School District is listed among the districts with approved lists, with virtual options for grades 4-12. But Michelle Craig, district spokesperson, said the district won’t offer its own virtual program this coming year.

“A virtual learning option will not be offered for the 2021-22 school year at the district but will be offered through the S.C. State Department of Education,” she said.

Related stories from Rock Hill Herald

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John Marks graduated from Furman University in 2004 and joined the Herald in 2005. He covers community growth, municipalities, transportation and education mainly in York County and Lancaster County. The Fort Mill native earned dozens of South Carolina Press Association awards and multiple McClatchy President’s Awards for news coverage in Fort Mill and Lake Wylie.
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