More than 600 virtual school students will learn Thursday night if they will have to find a new school.
The Alexander girls, Haley, 8, and Alexis, 5, are both planning to attend Tennessee Virtual Academy (TNVA), East Tennessee's only K-8 online school.
But Thursday night, their mother, Marissa Alexander, got a call about an emergency school board meeting. The call told her for the first time that her youngest daughter, Alexis, may not be able to attend.
Union County Schools has contracted with private company K-12 since 2010 to provide the option for online school anywhere in the state.
The state education commissioner, Kevin Huffman, cut off all new enrollment to TNVA earlier this month. He was concerned about test scores "significantly below expectations" for the third year in a row. He also advised the director of schools to not accept the 600 students already enrolled. Thursday night, the school board is listening to legal counsel and deciding what to do next.
"I had no idea that this was even in jeopardy," said TNVA parent, Marissa Alexander. "As far as I knew everything was complete, everything said complete online. We have the materials."
The girls have already organized their new books they received for the school year onto their new desks.
A doctor told Haley public school wasn't an option when she was diagnosed with a lung disease.
"She can't be in a classroom full of kids especially during flu season. When normal kids get the sniffles, she's hospitalized for a week with pneumonia," Alexander said.
Haley has found success in TNVA by working at home but still having a teacher to guide her. She uses a video chat system to interact with her teacher and other students.
"She even skipped a grade and entered the gifted program," Alexander said.
Alexander wanted Alexis to attend TNVA like her sister because she didn't want her to bring home germs from public school.
"I couldn't sleep last night because I didn't know what we were going to do. I can't really send her to school with her transferring the germs with her condition and I really like having the support of TNVA," she said.
Huffman said in a letter to Union County schools the reason they can't admit new students is lack of progress in first year test scores. They are going to allow second and third year students to continue beceause they've seen growth in their scores.
Alexander doesn't buy that argument.
"The first year is a transition year," she said. "I know from experience because I had to leave my job. You have to set up your home, your schedule. Discipline your child to move away from the TV and do school work."
Both she and Director of Union County Schools Jimmy Carter think more attention should be placed on the growth of second and third year students.
10News has a crew at the meeting and will provide the results of the meeting when available.