VB schools superintendent lays out initial details for fall school reopening

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) Local leaders are planning for a new school year, but what will that look like for students?

Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia’s schools will reopen in phases — just like the rest of the commonwealth.

Virginia’s schools have been closed since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Virginia is currently in phase two, which consists of remote learning. If the commonwealth enters phase three by the fall, schools may resume some in-person instruction. Social distancing will still be mandatory.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence said the school board is planning for reopening in the fall with some COVID-19 restrictions.

Virginia Beach, like most schools, are still assessing their preparedness.

Ultimately, plans will likely focus on a hybrid of in-person instruction and virtual learning.

“We know now that we will be in some combination of face-to-face and remote learning and, again, that that will require some kind of alternate schedule that will not be like what we are used to,” he said.

“I think clearly the most challenging thing we’re going to be facing is that the social distancing requirements will limit the number of students who can be in a building at any given time,” he said.

It’s going to limit the types of assemblies and activities that the school division can hold. Spence said these are going to be logistical challenges and scheduling challenges.

“You have a high school with 2,000 students. There is no practical way all of those students can be in the building,” he said.

Spence also said some of the next school year will revolve around capturing information on what students have missed and how to build that learning into the next school year so students don’t fall farther behind.

Spence says the school board will hold a retreat in a few weeks to continue planning for the next school year. They will discuss all options and continue working on a plan.

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