Suffolk Superintendent requests in-person classes for special needs students; board tables issue until October


SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Suffolk School Board has tabled consideration of expanding the number of days a week for in-person classes for students with special needs.

The board requested during a Thursday meeting that administrators gather more data from teachers, parents and teaching assistants about how learning in-person versus virtually is going.

When the board meets and discusses the matter again at its October meeting, it will have about a month of data to work with.

While some students with intensive special needs are currently going to school two days a week in-person, some educators say the consistency of four days a week in-person would be better.

In a recent letter to the school board, Superintendent Dr. John B. Gordon III expressed several concerns regarding children with special needs and disabilities.

Gordon requested children with severe special needs to have in-person classes four days a week. Then, the district may phase in children with disabilities depending on health data.

He wrote special education students need certain therapies to make it through the day.
Gordon does acknowledge the switch to virtual classes has been challenging for all students, however he explains the impacts for children with disabilities are far too great. This includes social, emotional, and mental health concerns for the kids.

He adds in the back- to- school survey regarding learning options for students, about half of the parents of students with disabilities (who responded) opted to have a hybrid learning option.That is because those children need a predictable schedule to avoid problems with communication and behavior.

Watch the full meeting on the school division’s YouTube page.

Stay with for updates.

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