Updated: Jun 28
COVID-19 has changed the way we do everything, including teach our children. Most of Virginia's 132 school systems provided some sort of online instruction, with little state-wide cohesiveness in delivery, format and rather or not participation was mandatory. The abrupt disruption to the 2019-2020 school year has placed many systems in a space where they are scrambling to address equity issues and to develop an inclusive and effective plan for the upcoming school year.
On June 9th, Governor Northam shared his guidance for the phased reopening of PreK-12 Schools.
“Closing our schools was a necessary step to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of staff, students, and our communities,”said Governor Northam.
“Our schools have risen to the occasion and found ways to provide remote learning
opportunities, keep students engaged, continue serving meals for children who otherwise would have gone hungry, and support students and families through an immensely challenging time. Resuming in-person instruction is a high priority, but we must do so in a safe, responsible, and equitable manner that minimizes the risk of exposure to the virus and meets the needs of the Virginia students who have been disproportionately impacted by lost classroom time.”
“These plans are informed by a range of perspectives and will help ensure that we prioritize the social emotional well-being of all of our students, their families, and educators as we go back to school this summer and fall,”said Secretary Qarni.
“In-person learning is most essential for special education students, English language
learners, young children, and other vulnerable students who depend upon the structure, in-person connection, and resources our school communities provide.”
Below are details for in-person instruction by phase:
Phase One: special education programs and child care for working families
Phase Two: Phase One plus preschool through third grade students, English learners, and summer camps in school buildings
Phase Three: all students may receive in-person instruction as can be accommodated with strict social distancing measures in place, which may require alternative schedules that blend in-person and remote learning for students
Beyond Phase Three: divisions will resume “new-normal” operations under future guidance
Considerable amounts of input and insight was collected from education stakeholders to develop the phased guidelines. Now it's up to the school systems to make their decisions and have them approved at the state level. It's up to you to decide what's best for the health and livelihood of you and your loved ones.
To read the Governor's report in its entirety and to find relative links to specific details, please click here.
We want to hear from you! How comfortable do you feel as a parent, sending your child back to school based on what we know now? If you work in education, we want to hear from you as well. Please take a moment to complete our brief survey on the matter.