Select students in Hampton City Schools return to the classroom Monday


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Some Hampton City School students will head back to the classroom starting on Monday.

The school district has been learning only virtually.

Pre-K, kindergarten, and select pre-k through 12 students with disabilities who are served in self-contained environments will get the chance to participate in modified in-person learning.

Last week, the school board discussed the plan to phase students back into school.

This month, Governor Ralph Northam recommended that districts across the commonwealth have some type of in-person learning options for students by March 15.

Families whose students will be returning to in-person learning for the first time will be given additional information about mandatory daily health assessments, the HCS COVID-19 Student/Parent/Guardian Expectations Agreement, bus routes, and other pertinent details before students return.

“The ultimate goal is making sure we’re keeping our kids safe, our community safe, our teachers safe,” said school board member, Dr. Richard Mason. 

Pre-K students, who have opted to go back, will have in-person learning two days out of the week and one virtual day. Kindergarten students, and eventually the rest of the elementary students who have opted for in-person learning, will also attend class on-campus two days out the week. They will also have two asynchronous learning days as well as one virtual zoom day.

The school board discussed health and safety measures that will be taken as well as the culture for making sure students and staff follow CDC guidelines and recommendations.

In the meeting, they said they weren’t concerned students would not wear their masks because they’ve seen their young students keep them on.

However, they did have a message for parents about their students’ safety.

“To the parents out there, follow CDC guidelines with wearing a mask and social distancing. Stop taking them to different places because you’re exposing them. As you expose them to this virus, you’re also exposing other kids and teachers in the building,” Mason said.

In two weeks, the division will bring back first through third, sixth, and ninth graders as well as select English language learners.

Those who opted for in-person learning for fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, and tenth through 12th will return on March 15. 

Members of the board said they approved of the plan because it gives them the flexibility to either bring more students back onto campus or send students home depending on coronavirus cases in the city.

They say that doing this safely is not just a school issue, but a community-wide one.

“We want to get these kids back in school to get quality instruction but we need everyone in the community. This is not just a Hampton City Schools challenge, but a community challenge so we need everyone to work with us to keep our kids and school personnel safe as we move forward with our return to learn plan,” Mason said. 

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