NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Aside from bringing students back to school safely in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, educators are also focused on helping to make up for lost instructional time.
Norfolk Public Schools’ return to learn plan on Wednesday included an overview of some of the division’s mitigation strategies aimed at curbing outbreaks of COVID-19 once students return. But just as much, the district outlined tools put into place to combat “learning loss.”
“Undoubtedly, in the new school year we will be addressing new challenges — ones associated with learning loss and the negative impact of the pandemic on the social-emotional wellness of children,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sharon Byrdsong earlier this year.
The Virtual Scholars Academy is no longer accepting students, meaning outside of the nearly 420 students enrolled there, the rest will be attending school in-person.
Even with the rising delta variant, sending students back for in-person learning has been a bipartisan effort in the political arena.
Many tests and studies have determined students are now behind their grade level in vital subjects after more than a year of virtual learning.
In a briefing to the Norfolk School Board Wednesday afternoon, Bruce Brady, executive director of curriculum and instruction, explained how members of the administration will have monthly meetings with principals at schools where assessments show students falling behind.
“The principal can say, ‘I need English support here for grade two.’ Or ‘I need math support here for grade four,'” Brady said. “We will immediately schedule folks from those content offices to get out to the school and help support those teachers and those grade levels.”
The district has added positions for tutors and has also created tutor funds.
This school year, all students will have a mobile device, and all classroom teachers will have new laptops.
All students in Virginia schools must also wear a mask at school after the governor’s mandate.
Norfolk schools will update COVID-19 numbers daily online, including cases by school.
The district also plans to have vaccine clinics at schools for students and staff. The consent forms are available on the school district’s website.
Vaccines are available Tuesdays and Thursdays for anyone 12 and up at Military Circle Mall.
For more on local back-to-school plans, visit WAVY’s Back To School page.