As businesses across the state slowly open, the governor has just announced a similar approach to getting Virginia students back into classrooms.
The plan is progressive, with each stage addressing different learner age groups. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam had this to say about the months of school closures and the gradual return of students:
“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. 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.”
Highlights of each phase include:
- Phase One (current phase): distance learning for all students including virtual instruction, child care for working families
- Phase Two: in-person classroom instruction for students in grades K-3 and English language learners
- Phase Three: in-person classroom instruction for students in all grades
Constants across all phases include social distancing measures, reduced capacity on school buses and daily health screenings of both students and staff. The use of masks in children who are able to do so remains highly encouraged, especially in crowded spaces.
Local municipalities will be responsible for submitting plans for phased reopenings in each school within the parameters of the guidance provided by the Commonwealth. One key aspect of the reopening plans will be hybrid learning opportunities for high-risk learners and staff, including the continuation of remote learning and telework.
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For more information, including detailed descriptions of preventative measures, read the governor's Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools here.
What do you think about this phased return to the classroom? Sound off in the comments!