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How do teachers plan for the unknowns on returning to school?

We take your questions to a local superintendent

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – There are still a lot of questions about how students will return to school in the fall. We continue to take your questions to local and state education leaders.

Teachers are asking about how they prepare lessons for the different scenarios schools are talking about like staggered scheduling.

Do they need to have multiple versions of lesson plans for online learning and in-person learning or the other options?

We asked Roanoke County Superintendent Ken Nicely.

“It is a new way of thinking to say ‘these are my lessons but I might need to adapt them in different ways depending on the teaching environment,” said Nicely. “We’ll know a whole lot more about which of those scenarios is going to be the one that actually happens as the days get closer. By the time teachers really get into actually developing their lessons and that kind of thing they’ll know more about which ones they have to plan for.”

Roanoke County already has some online courses but Nicely says professional development about online teaching for all teachers is going to be important.

“We have this cadre of teachers who know how to do that very effectively because teaching online is a very different thing than teaching face to face,” said Nicely. “Most teachers haven’t had that sort of training. That’s one thing we’ve identified that no matter which of these scenarios takes place we need to go ahead and get some practice for our teachers on what are best ways to teach online.”

The superintendent says there are national standards to use as guidance.

Students are also going to have to get used to new technology.

Nicely says the school system has a lot of things that aren’t being used across the board especially in elementary school and getting students used to it all now or as quickly as they can in the fall will enable them to shift more quickly if they need to.

He says the Virginia department of education has task forces to give guidance as well, so not every one of the 132 school divisions has to reinvent the wheel.


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