Department of Education Answers School Related Questions

March 25, 2020

Source:  WSLS TV website

According to a news report from the WSLS TV website the Virginia Department of Education has released the following answers to questions regarding the suspension of school for the rest of the academic year by Governor Northam.

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Education is answering your questions after Gov. Ralph Northam ordered that all schools close for the rest of the school year.

Here are a few questions that the department answered. For more answers, click here:

Take the Virginia Young Adults Survey, for Virginians age 18-25.

What happens to student learning now that schools are closed for the rest of the year?

Division leaders will be making decisions about how learning will continue and when/how students will make up the rest of the content from this year. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will issue guidance to help divisions execute plans to continue instruction, while ensuring students are served equitably, regardless of income level, access to technology, English learner status or special needs. This includes options for virtual learning, additional instruction through summer programming and integrating instruction into coursework next year.

Does the Governor’s order to close schools apply to preschools?

If the program is located in a school, it is included in the Governor’s order to close schools.

Does the Governor’s order apply to daycares?

No. Child care centers should make closure decisions in coordination with local health departments.

Can the VDOE provide any guidance with grading and grade point averages?

The authority to award grades and determine grade point averages rests with local school divisions. School divisions should consider the guidance related to distance and online learning and the considerations regarding equity and a thoughtful approach to instruction, and the impact of alternative measures of achievement and mastery. Whereas the VDOE recognizes that decisions on grades are a local decision, the VDOE does not recommend grading work completed during the closures since schools are closed. VDOE does recommend that school divisions establish a methodology to fairly calculate grades based on work previously completed and a methodology for including said grades in GPA calculations and on student transcripts.

How are SATs impacted?

The CollegeBoard is canceling the May 2, SAT, as well as makeup exams for the March 14 test. The College Board will provide future testing opportunities as soon as possible.

What is the impact on AP testing?

The CollegeBoard is providing free remote learning resources to students by AP teachers starting Wednesday, March 25. Face-to-face exams will no longer take place. Instead, students will take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home that will only include topics and skills that most AP students and teachers covered by early March. The full exam schedule, specific free-response question types that will be on each AP Exam, and additional testing details will be available by April 3.

What are the suggestions for hourly employees/payroll?

In the event of a division closure, divisions may permit such employees to continue working remotely if in compliance with all laws and regulations. Otherwise, authorizing additional paid leave types for non-exempt employees during the state of emergency should be considered. VDOE recommends that local education agencies (LEAs) make employment and compensation related decisions in close consultation with their attorneys.

School divisions have been attempting to purchase cleaning supplies such as disinfecting wipes. There is a great deal of price gouging. Is there any talk of helping curtail this predatory behavior?

The VDH has been getting similar reports from multiple sectors. The VDH is working on procuring supplies and identifying strong supply chains. Once they have this information, it will be communicated to other government agencies. In addition, Governor Northam’s State of Emergency declaration triggered a law meant to prevent price gouging in the 30 days following that announcement like this. This legislation prohibits suppliers from charging “unconscionable prices” for “necessary goods and services,” including water, ice, food, cleaning products, hand sanitizer, medicines and personal protective gear.

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