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Governor Wants Virginia Schools to Offer In-Person Learning by March 15

February 5, 2021 by Dan McCue

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday that he wants Virginia school systems to begin offering options for in-person learning by March 15.

“Children learn better in classrooms. And that’s where they need to be,” he said during a news conference, adding that he also expects in-person sessions for students to be extended into the summer.

Northam pointed to data from the Centers for Disease Control which he said shows that the coronavirus has not been shown to spread in schools as rapidly as it appears to do in other settings.

“That tells us it’s time to find a path forward to in-person learning. In the past 11 months, our children have been champions. They have made sacrifices, they’ve endured a lot of change and uncertainty,” the governor said. “And so have their families and teachers and school staff. But we know that this has taken a toll on our children and our families.”

Northam, a pediatrician before he was governor, said the extended pandemic has taken a toll on young people in the state, and that his medical colleagues have told him they are seeing increases in behavioral and other problems as a result.

“That’s just not a good direction for us to keep going,” Northam said.

The governor went on to say that he wants summer school options made available to students so they can catch up before the fall semester. However, he added that summer school programs, which would be funded through CARES Relief Act funds, won’t be mandatory.

“I want our schools to do this safely. And I want them to prioritize students who need this the most. The guidance lays out the steps for schools to take and the safety precautions that make it possible. But it’s time. It’s time for this to happen. It’s critical to prevent greater learning loss and to support our children’s health and well being,” Northam said.

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