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Local districts react to Gov. Northam’s announcement of K-12 school closings

‘We cannot choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we respond’

School bus
School bus (WSLS)

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced Monday that all K-12 schools in Virginia are to remain closed for the remainder of the school year.

Below are some initial responses from local school districts. 10 News is still waiting to hear back from some districts.

Bedford County:

“Earlier today Governor Northam extended the school closure in all Virginia schools through the end of the 2019-20 school year in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. I realize how upsetting this news is to our students, their families, and our entire community, as we all attempt to process exactly what this may mean for public education and life in general in Bedford County for the foreseeable future. In the days ahead we expect to receive guidance from our state department of education about how this closure will impact us during the next several months, and we will make sure to share that information with you as it becomes available. This state guidance should include how we should interpret the academic standing of our current students, especially for those who are expecting to graduate in May 2020. Please continue to look for updates on our BCPS website as we share new information and follow all health and safety guidelines published by government officials.”

Doug Schuch, Superintendent, Bedford County Public Schools

Lynchburg:

“Today Governor Northam announced that all Virginia schools will be closed for the rest of the academic year. We know you have many questions about how this will affect you. In the coming days we will address some of your most urgent questions, including how this impacts continuity of education, graduation, and grades. As the governor said in his statement today, things change daily. We are awaiting further guidance from the Virginia Department of Education. Our administrative team meets every day throughout the week to work on our long-term plan. We will communicate this to you as soon as we are able.”

Excerpt from a letter to families on behalf of Lynchburg City Schools

Montgomery County:

“We are lucky to already have a working plan in place for remote learning. We will continue to educate students, we will continue to serve meals, and we will continue to adjust and improve as we learn more. We know that our families have a lot of questions right now. We will work throughout the week to answer as many questions as we can. We will continue to communicate with our families often to keep them informed throughout this process. I am committed to recognizing the accomplishments of the Class of 2020. We will have a graduation for our seniors. We don’t know what it will look like or when it will be, but we will recognize the hard work of these students.”

Mark Miear, Superintendent, Montgomery County Public Schools

Radford:

“As announced by Governor Northam today, Radford City Public Schools, along with all Virginia Schools, will remain closed for the remainder of this school year. We understand that this decision will present challenges for our students and their families, and we remain committed to leveraging the district’s resources to support families through these challenging times. We will continue coming together to support each other as one district, one family. I want to thank all of our staff and the Bobcat Backpack program who have worked tirelessly so our schools could provide meals and food to our students and families. We will continue to provide this service for as long as we can. We recognize that there remain many issues to resolve such as graduation requirements, student verified credits, grades, continuity of learning, employee compensation, and more. The Virginia Department of Education and the district are working through these issues now, and we are committed to updating families and staff as soon as possible. I urge each of your to follow CDC recommendations and practice social distancing. The challenges we will face in the days ahead are unprecedented, but not insurmountable.”

Robert Graham, Superintendent, Radford City Schools

Roanoke city:

“We appreciate our staff, parents, and students for their patience during these historic times. Roanoke City Public Schools intends to provide the best possible instruction and ensure that our students have access to meals. We expect additional information from the Virginia Department of Education Tuesday and will continue to communicate with our community.”

Roanoke City Public Schools

Salem:

“We cannot choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we respond. The primary focus of our response is to provide hope, engagement, a sense of routine, a measure of normalcy, and most importantly connectedness for the students we serve. In addition to meals and continuity of education, we were also planning and preparing for this possibility for over two weeks, so we are ready to respond with patience, flexibility, and a commitment to care for the students and families we serve as well as for one another.”

Alan Seibert, Superintendent, Salem City Public Schools

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