Norfolk students head back to class amid COVID-19 pandemic

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY)- Students at Norfolk Public Schools headed back to class on Wednesday.

The district is providing in-person learning five days a week as well as its Virtual Scholars Academy. 10 On Your Side was there as students arrived at Maury High School and Ghent School.

Students and parents were both excited for the first day.

“I’m happy”, said Nicolas Drummond, who is starting kindergarten at Ghent.

Nicolas and his brother, Joshua, said they were looking forward to being around other kids and making friends.

“I stayed virtual all the time last year,” Joshua said.

Rachel Shames, who has a first-grader at Ghent, says her daughter was able to spend half of last year in the classroom.

“I’m feeling…well, it’s exciting,” she said. “I’m glad they’re back face-to-face.”

The district is working to make sure students can stay face to face in the classroom by requiring masking, sanitizing, and updating their HVAC system as well as adding air purifiers.

This year, they are also working to help students catch up from the learning loss some students might have sustained during the pandemic.

More tutor positions were added as well as a tutor fund.

“It was tough,” Shames said about having her daughter start off school at home. “It was really tough. She spent the first part of the year virtual like most kids did. It’s really hard especially for kids that haven’t been in a real classroom sitting in a big elementary school.”

The district also sent out a reminder to families on Tuesday to expect possible bus delays to and from school.

Like many others in Hampton Roads, they’re facing a bus driver shortage and are offering incentives for people to apply.

To learn more about Norfolk’s Back to School plan, click here.

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