RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY/WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to announce his support for extending the school year through summer to ensure students are prepared for the next academic year.
“One of the things that I think is very important that we will be announcing tomorrow is that we want to extend our classrooms this summer to allow our children to catch up so that everybody will be ready in the fall,” Northam said. “We’re working with our teachers, our school boards, our superintendents.”
The announcement is expected Friday during the governor’s scheduled press conference at 11 a.m., which 10 On Your Side plans to carry live on-air and on WAVY.com.
Additional details are not available yet on which grades this will impact.
Northam previously mentioned the possibility of year-round classes during a press conference he held a month ago. 10 On Your Side’s Brett Hall reported that tourist locations like Virginia Beach had concerns about this idea.
The news comes nearly three weeks after the Virginia Department of Education (VDE) released new coronavirus guidelines encouraging Virginia’s school districts to safely hold in-person classes.
The 14-page document is a stark departure from previous advice, as it makes a case for some face-to-face learning to continue on, even when virus transmission rates in the community are high.
Northam says that in order to get students back in the classroom, Virginia’s schools need federal relief to be able to do so safely, using equipment and sanitation amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our children definitely learn better when they’re in the classroom,” he said during a live-streamed discussion with The Washington Post on Thursday. “The social interaction is important. We’ve seen higher rates of depression, certainly suicide, which is so unfortunate.”
“It has to be a top priority for all of us to get our children back in the classroom,” he said.