Parents in Accomack County get to choose between two return-to-school plans

Accomack County


ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Accomack County students will have the option of in-person instruction two days a week under a hybrid coronavirus reopening plan for fall 2020.

Parents will get to choose between two learning options to begin the school year: a hybrid model or a remote/virtual learning model.

After hearing several hours of comments at a Tuesday night meeting at Metompkin High School in Parksley, the Accomack School Board unanimously voted to adopt the hybrid model, which includes remote learning for the 3 days a week students are not physically in the classroom.

Students will also have the option to go with all virtual instruction, and teachers may be excluded from in-person instruction pending a medical waiver.

Most people who spoke Tuesday night were in favor of some form of virtual learning. The in-person schedule was limited to 2 days a week due to health department guidelines, with Accomack simply not having enough space in schools and buses for social distancing.

All virtual learning was seen as too difficult due to parents’ work schedules and the county’s lack of internet infrastructure.

The county has been doing relatively well in containing the virus, unlike nearby Hampton Roads, and has seen very few new COVID-19 cases since outbreaks at the county’s two chicken plants earlier in the pandemic.

Under the 2-day model, students will either go in-person on Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday.

Other requirements include:

  • All teachers and students must wear masks in the building
  • Temperature checks to enter building
  • Staggered start times — high school around 7:30 a.m. and elementary around 8:45 a.m.

The school district is also taking into account some students’ lack of Wifi access and hotspots will be available at each school, with a plan to bus students if necessary. School lunches will also be provided for the days students are not in school.

The district is also hiring extra janitorial staff for each school to help with cleaning.

More information on the reopening plan can be found here.

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