RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- One of the Catholic dioceses in Virginia is launching a full-time, online learning school.

On Thursday, the Diocese of Richmond announced open enrollment for the new Saint Vincent de Paul Virtual Academy.

Classes for students in eighth through 12th grades will begin in the fall.

According to a release, this academy will operate under the guidance of administrators and staff members from Peninsula Catholic High School in Newport News and be managed by the Office of Catholic Schools.

“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 pandemic provided an opportunity to really test the digital systems already in practice, with the current faculty at Peninsula Catholic allowing us the advantage to streamline and see what was possible and manageable.”

The release says PCHS started offering digital learning several times during academic years in 2016, and this year, students could choose face-to-face or virtual learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic

In February, the school said it would permanently add its own online program for high school students who want to graduate from there, but the SVVA will be a separate virtual school that runs in sync with the PCHS’ virtual education program.

Students will be able to choose between full-time and part-time, with full-time students aiming to get a diploma while part-time ones will not. 

The virtual academy will include no athletics, extracurricular or social activities.

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