WAVY.COM reports that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced during his Tuesday afternoon briefing that schools will reopen this year, slowly and in a phased approach.
All Virginia schools will be able to reopen with in-person instruction in some capacity this fall, Northam said, “but the experience will look different.” The reopening guidelines will be in phases that give school divisions flexibility, and are recommendations, not mandates, as follows:
- 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
Most school divisions will start in Phase 2, which features mostly remote learning, with in-person classes for Pre-K through 3rd grade.
Divisions will have to submit plans before they advance to the next phase.
If Virginia as a whole reaches Phase 3 by the fall, schools will be able to hold in-person classes, but are expected to have 6 feet of space between desks, have daily health screenings and require face coverings. There also must be options for virtual learning for students with health issues.
“The main message out of this, is that they will be back in school this fall,” Northam says.
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has also developed guidance for schools. The “Recover, Redesign, Restart” plan will be made available on the VDOE website Wednesday.