Parents hope to learn of second quarter school plan from Norfolk Public Schools

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Parents who have children in Norfolk Public Schools are waiting to hear what’s going to happen with virtual and in-person learning during the second quarter.

“I do feel like the Norfolk Public School system is slower to arrive at a decision, about what they’re going to do as far as get our kids back into school,” said parent Kyle Mattox.

Mattox says it’s been hard to see his fourth-grader struggle to stay engaged in virtual learning.
Right now, all Norfolk Public School students are virtual for the first nine weeks. Concerns about the second quarter, starting Nov. 4, are weighing on parents, too.

“Concerning, would be uncertainty. I understand the school board has had a seemingly impossible job, making a playbook for a situation we’ve never been in before, so I understand that, I support them in that, but it’s challenging for families,” said parent Cameron Belcher.

“We only have a couple of weeks left and that’s why it’s so scary for us. It takes time to implement these types of plans,” said Mattox.

10 On Your Side reached out to Norfolk Public Schools, which sent us this email about what they’ve been doing and what they’re working on moving forward.

Here’s the text of that email:

“First, some context … the School Board voted to have the first quarter of school to be all virtual. Some of the other divisions may have followed a different path in having some of their students return during that nine-week period. But our board was adamant about keeping the health and safety of students and staff foremost in their decision to remain virtual for the first nine weeks.

The second quarter begins on Nov. 4. That is the point at which the Board may decide to return some students to in-person learning. This decision will likely be made at their next meeting on Oct. 21.   

NPS has been very proactive in informing and engaging parents about the ongoing decision of the possible return of students to in-person learning. Here are some examples:

  • A special newsletter called the “Coronavirus Communications Update” was launched in the spring and has been published and distributed regularly to inform parents and staff about the latest news and information around decisions impacting students and their learning. In addition, they are archived on the NPS website here. The latest edition published on October 2 previewed in detail the administration’s work in presenting the plan to the School Board on October 7.
  • NPS presented the plan to the School Board at their public meeting on October 7 that comprehensively covered the administration’s proposed approach to return students to in-person learning. Parents and community members can find the plan here posted on BoardDocs under the October 7 work session agenda. Parents and community members can also watch the board meeting by clicking on the links in the agenda or by visiting the NPS YouTube channel where the meeting can be watched on demand.
  • At the Oct. 7 meeting, the Board requested the administration to gather more information in a variety of areas so they could make a more informed decision regarding the return of students to in-person learning. The additional information also includes a survey that will be going out to parents/guardians who have not enrolled their students in the Virtual Scholars Academy to determine parents’/guardians’ plans to return their students to school as well as their plans to use NPS school buses for transportation. In addition, NPS employees will be surveyed to determine their intention to return to school buildings. These survey results will be shared with the School Board at their October 21 meeting.”

“What I want to see, is the school board doing their job and the administration do their job and make that plan happen,” said Mattox.

10 On Your Side will continue to follow this story and bring you the latest information as it becomes available.


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