Status update for some of Virginia’s public schools

By Jackson Revere

Prince William County’s school board voted unanimously in favor of a virtual-only option for the first quarter of this school year. This vote was contingent on planning for a hybrid schedule in the second quarter. This was a compromise from an earlier vote that failed that would have been a hybrid plan sending kids to school two times a week in September.

However, the most vulnerable students in Prince William – those who need special education instruction or are in the beginning stages of learning English – will still be able to attend school in person.

The school system said they received direct input from parents and teachers serving on our planning committees including 6,000 school-based staff, and 17,000 parents/guardians.

Roanoke’s students will be receiving in school instruction starting at the end of August. The school board approved a hybrid schedule with preschool through second-grade students attending school five days a week. Students who are in 3rd through 12th-grades will attend school in person two days a week with additional online learning supplements.

Parents can still choose to have their student receive 100% online instruction and Roanoke Public Schools has said that 15% of parents have made that request so far.

Roanoke leaders say that this plan is designed to expand as “numbers and conditions change and will be assessed frequently.”

Related: 5 things to know about Roanoke’s school reopening plan

Virginia Beach’s school are still weighing their options moving forward. “I think, understandably, our teachers are anxious,” Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence said. In his briefing on Tuesday.

Northam took a direct aim at the Virginia Beach area during his briefing on Tuesday citing a large increase in positive COVID-19 patients as a result of people ignoring social distancing guidelines.

He laid out grim numbers, saying that the Tidewater region’s positive case numbers were at 60 per day in June, he said that number is 346 per day now. “We all need to be clear-eyed about what our health situation is,” said Northam.

These numbers will likely have an effect on the decision-making process of the school board.

Richmond Public Schools will be completely virtual for at least the first half of the 2020-2021 school year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The school board decided so on Tuesday night with an 8-1 vote.

4th district representative Jonathan Young was the lone holdout and said there was no way he was going to vote for a plan with no in-school instruction.

The board was provided with five options – eventually decided on option E.

Plan A

  • A fully virtual option, also including a hybrid option with 2 days of in-person instruction and 3 days of virtual instruction each week and an option for 5 days of in-person instruction each week for students with greater academic needs (e.g., certain students with IEPs and certain English Learners)

Plan B

  • A fully virtual option or a fully in-person option

Plan C

  • A fully in-person option for elementary students, a fully virtual option for elementary students, or only a fully virtual option for middle school and secondary students

Plan D

  • A fully in-person option for certain high-need students or only a fully virtual option for everyone else

Plan E

  • Only a complete virtual option for the first semester

As of right now, the students could still possibly be back in school on February 8th to start the second semester. Only time and virus trends will tell.

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By vascope

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