Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-Henrico) crafted the legislation with Senator Siobhan Dunnavamt (R-Henrico)

by Brandon Jarvis

The House of Delegates passed a bill Wednesday that would require school districts in Virginia to offer 5-day in-person learning next school year. If the bill passes in the Senate and Governor Ralph Northam signs it, the mandate would begin in July, just in time for summer school.

  • The legislation directs school districts to give parents an option for their students to attend in-person learning “for at least the minimum number of required instructional hours.” 
  • It clarifies that “in-person instruction” means any form of instructional interaction between teachers and students that occurs in person and in real-time.
  • School districts will be required to follow the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) determination of school impact when considering closing down a building. Under the current guidance from VDH, school districts would not be able to shut down a school until there are either three separate outbreaks taking place or several cases in multiple classrooms or grade levels.  
  • It allows school districts to continue to offer virtual learning options, however, it does not explicitly instruct each locality to offer virtual learning. 

The bill passed 88-9 Wednesday in the House. It will now go back to the Senate for consideration due to the changes made while in House committees.

It is unclear if Governor Northam will sign the bill if it reaches his desk. 

View more on this bill and the journey it took to reach this point 

More from the House:

  • The House passed a bill from Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) that would eliminate provisions regarding the rebuttable presumptions against being granted bail. The House added amendments, so it will have to return to the Senate for reconsideration. 

Justice Forward VA @JusticeFwdVaThank you @CreighDeeds and congrats to @LegalAidJustice and all of our Pretrial Justice Coalition partners and allies over the years: @ACLUVA, @NACDL, @LWVVA, @JennMcClellanVA, Richmond & Williamsburg Courtwatch programs, @JCarrollFoy, @Sam_Rasoul, 2/3February 24th 20213 Retweets13 Likes

  • The House passed a bill from Monty Mason (D-Williamsburg) that will eliminate the requirement that a ‘promise to appear’ be completed after receiving a summons for a misdemeanor traffic offense. Police officers have been asking for this as a way to reduce unnecessary confrontations on the side of the road. This will also need reconsideration in the Senate due to House amendments. 
  • The House passed Senator Adam Ebbin’s (D-Alexandria) bill that would ban weapons in Capital Square. The legislation makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for a person to possess or transport any firearm or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile or projectile of any kind;  frame, receiver, muffler, silencer, missile, projectile, or ammunition designed for use with a dangerous weapon; or other dangerous weapons within Capitol Square or into any building owned or leased by the Commonwealth. A dangerous weapon includes a bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, machete, razor, slingshot, spring stick, fighting chain, throwing star, and oriental dart or any weapon of like kind. The bill provides exceptions for law-enforcement officers, retired state police officers, conservators of the peace, magistrates, court officers, judges, county or city treasurers, commissioners or deputy commissioners of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, authorized security personnel, bail bondsmen, bail enforcement agents, and active military personnel while in the conduct of such persons’ official duties. This will also need reconsideration in the Senate due to House amendments.

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By vascope