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VLA frustrations

Posted on: September 24, 2020

A message from Todd Yohey, Superintendent

Dear VLA Parents and Students:

It has certainly been a frustrating week for all of us with the poor performance of the VLA system. We understand that anytime, anywhere access needs to be an important component of online learning and when that isn’t working, it weakens the trust in the system. It is important for you to know that the VLA issues experienced this week have impacted school districts across the state that are using the VLA platform. Unfortunately, the technology behind the VLA system is not a part of our IT system and our tech department does not have access to it. The VLA system is offered to Ohio schools by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. VLA has been around for a long time and has been used by Lebanon Schools and other districts in Ohio to provide online learning to students. This is the first time that we have experienced such a breakdown in the service. The Jefferson County ESC is currently installing additional servers to handle the increased bandwidth. We will share that they have reported their highest use period is between 9:00 - 10:00 am.

We are also aware that there have been comments posted on social media attributing false statements to some of our administrators. We hope that this was a misunderstanding of things said during a conversation or something that was misheard. We want you to know that we are very actively concerned about the education of our students in VLA. We are committed to our students in VLA and working hard to resolve the issues that have presented themselves. VLA is not the same as in-person learning. It is not designed for whole class instruction. It is designed as a self-paced learning system to provide students with content and activities around the Ohio Learning Standards. We have assigned teachers to communicate with our students enrolled in VLA, grade their assignments, answer their questions, and provide some weekly contact. Some are including small activities, as well, but that is not a requirement. If your child is not receiving regular contact from their assigned teacher or intervention specialist, please contact us and let us know. 

Parents had a very difficult decision to make back in July between the zero-risk option of VLA versus the riskier option of face-to-face. We have been contacted by several parents this week who have shared that they feel like they made a mistake in their choice. You should not feel that way. You made the best decision for your family with the information that you had at the time. Just like we did. Most of you made that decision two months ago. A lot has happened since you made that decision. You have experienced VLA and the challenges that come with it. You have seen that there have been far less cases in school than what were expected. You have seen a mandated mask policy implemented statewide and you have seen local cases level off. You did not have that information at the time and you should not beat yourself up over it now. 

We will continue working hard for our VLA students and families. The teachers and administrators assigned to VLA are there on a full-time basis and ready to provide your student the assistance needed. Please work with us in making this a learning experience for all. Thank you.  



Todd Yohey