VB school officials say students will be back in classroom full-time next year


VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) — Virginia Beach City Public Schools students will be back in the classroom full-time for the 2021-2022 school year.

School officials made the announcement while presenting information about the division’s back-to-school plan at the board meeting Tuesday night.

The question remains: will students return to a normal, pre-COVID environment? Or will there still be virus-related rules in place for the fall?

Beach school leaders discussed plans for social distance policies, online learning options and more.

In a presentation, division officials said they’re committed to five days of in-person learning for the 2021 to 2022 school year along with fully virtual and fully in-person options.

School officials are planning for scenarios with or without social distancing. The division is waiting for more guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Virginia Department of Education.

Students will still be in class five days a week regardless of any distancing measures.

Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence said 98% of families surveyed want their students back in the classroom.

The division says it will still offer a fully virtual option for families in the new school year.

“Around 1,400 students will be in a virtual program in Virginia Beach,” Spence said.

Officials are planning while they await word.

“We polled our schools to get some information to figure out how can we make some of the spaces in school better and potentially looking at modular classrooms,” said Chief Operations Officer Jack Freeman.

Before the school year wrapped up, all option 1 students returned to in-person learning four days a week. 

Gov. Ralph Northam recently eased COVID-19 restrictions, but masks are still required in schools.

Northam’s executive order expires at the end of June, but it’s not clear if VDOE will make masks a requirement or a recommendation.

Board member Laura Hughes read a resolution about the issue that would make masks optional for students, staff and guests.

“This is just us not requiring beyond what the state requires,” she said. “I think we should err on the side of letting parents decide for their families whether or not their children need to wear masks.”

Board members and officials expect masks to be addressed in the updated guidance.

VBCPS also announced they’ve partnered with the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health to offer vaccine clinics at four schools starting next month.

The vaccine will be made available to students and their families.

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