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INDIANAPOLIS — Back in March, Phalen Leadership Academies, with 12 schools and teaching 5,000 children throughout Indiana, surveyed their families about returning to the classroom with fears over COVID-19.
“About a third of our parents said they weren’t comfortable sending their children back until there was some type of vaccine or some type of treatment," Earl Martin Phalen, the founder of George and Veronica Phalen Leadership Academies, said.
So, they created PLA Virtual. It's a new statewide, tuition-free, online school for families grades K-12.
“We have someone in the home who has a pre-existing condition," Phalen said. "We have a really tight home situation. So I think PLA virtual is great for that parent.”
“For us, the virtual learning is the safest option," Linda Rich said.
It’s what David and Linda Rich opted for — for their adopted children, Bryant and Bryana.
“We have seen from a distance several family members get COVID," Rich said. "They don’t want to be a danger to myself and my husband either."
Rich, 70-years-old with diabetes, and her husband, a cancer survivor, said they feel this was the safest bet, rather than risking being back in the classroom.
“Now, I think it’s not a good idea at this time, because so much is changing with this virus," Rich said. "The numbers are not going down as much as I would’ve thought by now. They’re going up.”