KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Three virtual schools were greenlit for Knox County Schools after the Tennessee Department of Education approved 29 new ones for the 2021-22 school year. There will be one each for elementary, middle and high school students in Knox County.

The new school year’s virtual options will be somewhat scaled back. Unlike the last school year, the upcoming school year will see the three separate online schools that students had to transfer out of their last school in order to take part. Capacity is also more limited.

The school district had postponed its enrollment window for virtual learning in April while officials awaited the state’s decision on its plan for virtual learning. Online learning had become a vital component for students and staff last school year amid reopening schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of students had enrolled in online learning thanks to the school district issuing Chromebooks and virtual instruction.

A year ago, the district began rolling out its registration to issue Chromebooks to students ahead of the 2020-21 school year, when both in-person and virtual learning options were offered.

Now, with virtual learning schools given the green light, students attending KCS online who had enrolled and registered back in May will attend classes that way. Kindergartners were not eligible to apply. More information on the state’s approval of the 29 new virtual schools can be found here. More information about KCS and the upcoming school year can be found via KCS Connect here.