Plan outlined for reopening of Virginia’s K-12 public schools

Public schools have been closed to in-person learning since March 16

Gov. Northam announces plan for reopening Virginia's schools
Gov. Northam announces plan for reopening Virginia's schools

ROANOKE, Va. – While addressing Virginians on Monday, Gov. Ralph Northam discussed the plan of reopening Virginia’s public schools.

All Virginia schools will open for students in the upcoming school year, according to Northam.

Virginia schools are required to deliver new instruction in a combination of in-person and remote learning.

Schools will be opened in a phased approach.

Schools must submit plans to the Virginia Department of Education the before entering Phase Two or Phase Three.

The Virginia Department of Education has released its comprehensive 136-page guide, “Recover, Redesign, Restart.” which will aid schools in planning for a return to in-person instruction and activities.

Local school divisions will have discretion on how to operate within each phase and may choose to offer more limited in-person options than the phase permits, if local public health conditions necessitate.

Here’s a phase-by-phase breakdown of what’s allowed for in-person instruction:

Phase One

  • Special education and childcare for working families can be done in person
  • Instruction is predominately remote

Phase Two

  • Special education and childcare for working families can be done in person
  • Preschool through third grade students, English learners and summer camps in school buildings

Phase Three

  • All students may begin to receive in-person instruction as can be accommodated with strict social distancing measures in place

Beyond Phase Three, all students will be allowed in school buildings every day.

The governor’s office offered more guidance on each phase.

Social, physical distancing rules that schools must follow

  • Space seating/desks at least 6 feet apart when feasible
  • Daily health screenings of students and staff
  • Use of cloth face coverings are required for teachers when physical distancing cannot be observed
  • Encouraging the use of face coverings in students, as developmentally appropriate, in settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Providing remote learning exceptions and teleworking for students and staff who are at a higher risk of severe illness

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