RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) – Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said in a press conference on Friday that schools in the state need to be able to offer in-person learning options for students by March 15, 2021.
You can watch News Channel 11’s live stream of Governor Northam’s press briefing below:
“Today, I’m saying it needs to start by March the 15th,” Northam said. “By that date, I expect every school division to make in-person learning options available in accordance with the guidance.”
A release from the governor’s office states that all K-12 school divisions are expected to be ready by March 15 in accordance with the Northam Administration’s guidance. You can view that guidance by clicking here.
Northam also said Virginia schools should begin planning for summer school options.
“This won’t be mandatory, but it definitely needs to be an option,” Northam said about summer schools. “Our children need to catch up to be ready for learning in the fall.”
Safety during the pandemic needs to be the priority in bringing back in-person options, according to Northam. He encouraged identifying and focusing on the students most in need of being back in the classroom first.
According to Northam, data and guidance from the CDC, Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Biden administration suggest it is possible to return children safely to the classroom by that time.
“The experience of school divisions across the state show us it’s possible to have in-person learning safely,” Northam said.
Northam said in-person learning will not look the same for every school division, based on factors like classroom size, the number of vaccinated teachers and local guidance.
“We can do this, and we must do this,” Northam said.
Northam thanked teachers across the state for their flexibility and initiative in advancing virtual learning during the pandemic.